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What Mission Statement is Really About



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The Mission Statement Book
Jeffrey Abrahams
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Most modern companies have a mission statement, but only a few of them will be able to use them to their advantage. While the mission statement is often believed to be a fancy saying a company can throw around, it is an important base pillar of the marketing and internal decision-making of the organization.

What is the mission statement?

The mission statement focuses on a long-term vision in the present that the company wants to achieve or what the organization wants to become. The mission statement answers questions that can help create the company’s marketing plan and prioritize its resources as well as the strategic goals it wants to achieve. It focuses on customer segmentation and identifying their core competencies. From a broader perspective, the mission defines all players in the company’s ecosystem, the stakeholders. (Gorton 2022)

The mission although represents the company to the outside world, is also a driving force on the inside. It should be consistent with the organization’s planning and operations and vice versa. It also needs to be SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timed) or SMARTER (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, timed, evaluated, and reviewed), so that it can be accurately measured. (Gorton 2022)

How does the mission statement differ from the vision statement?

While vision and mission are very close to each other in meaning, and sometimes are interchangeable, we can conclude some distinctions between them.

Both mission and vision statements include the company’s values and its purpose, they are looking toward the future. However, the mission statement remains more of a plan focusing on the present and the vision statement will represent the necessary actions regarding that plan, looking toward the future. In addition, the vision statement should be uplifting and centered around the employees, whilst the mission will not only target the internal but also the external stakeholders and creates a façade. (Talerico 2022)

Why is the mission statement important?

Before the company can promote its mission statement to its potential customers, shareholders, and partners, they have to implement it on the inside. The mission statement represents the brand, the culture, the company’s views, and ethics, and depicts its future. If the company’s operations are transparent, and predictable to its employees, while following the mission, it is most likely for the employees to be more committed to the company rather than only looking at their paychecks. (Craig 2018) According to Imperative’s research, over half of the purpose-oriented employees plan on staying at that company for 5 years or more. (Hurst 2016)

Once the company has a mission statement, it can use it in many different aspects of its operations, especially when it comes to marketing and strategic goal setting. The mission is the basis of the BSC (Balanced Scorecard) and the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and the other way around.

“Employees who love their jobs are more productive, loyal and cost the company less over the long term.”

How to create the mission statement?

The mission statement should be clear, but not limiting, future and goal-oriented, and to the point. Although it is an important part of the company’s identity, it’s important to remember that it can be changed if deemed necessary. (Abrahams 1995, 35)

Before creating the mission statement, the business must be familiar with their target group, and the specific segment they want to reach. This will not only determine whom the company is talking to but also the language it’s going to use. It’s best to write down the keywords it wants to use and prioritize those. (Abrahams 1995, 63-66) There are many ways to write the mission statement, one of the easiest is to use an already existing template for it. (Templates: https://www.smartsheet.com/mission-vision-statement-templates)

Examples of mission statements

“Perhaps one of the very first mission statements is recorded in Genesis, with the command, “Be fruitful, and multiply…”

Some companies like to tell EXACTLY what they are doing, such as Amazon:

“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”

The mission statement tells that Amazon is most focused on excellent customer service and low prices, which is exactly what it does.

While others leave parts of the statement to the imagination, such as TED:

“Spread ideas, foster community, and create impact”

Although the statement tells what the company does, it doesn’t mention the channels, the stakeholders, or other details.

Every company will create the mission statement in its own way and form depending on its focus group, internal and external needs, and the way they want to brand and represent itself. As mentioned earlier, the mission statement is primarily an outlook and façade to the outside, secondarily creating a certain environment for the workers of the organization, which will determine the style and language of the statement.

In conclusion, the mission statement is part of the marketing and communication practices of the business. It should be well thought out and used to create a better work environment and become more efficient and productive.

Resources

Abrahams, J. 1995. The Mission Statement Book – 301 Mission Statements From America’s Top Companies. Read on 17.3.2023.

Craig, W. 2018. The Importance of Having a Mission-Driven Company. Forbes. Uploaded on 18.5.2018. Retrieved on 14.3.2023. https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamcraig/2018/05/15/the-importance-of-having-a-mission-driven-company/?sh=5c41429a3a9c

Gorton, D. 2022. Mission Statement Explained: How it Works and Examples. Investopedia. Updated on 27.6.2022. Retrieved on 13.3.2023. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/missionstatement.asp

Hurst, A. 2016. Purpose Trumps Cash + Other New Research Findings. Imperative. Uploaded on 19.7.2016. Retrieved on 14.3.2023. https://www.imperative.com/post/purpose-trumps-cash-other-new-research-findings

Talerico, A. 2022. Vision Statement. Corporate Finance Institute. Updated on 5.3.2023. Retrieved on 20.3.2023. https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/management/vision-statement/

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