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what mission are you on?

Are you actually on a mission, or are you just saying you are?
-Bernadette Jiwa

We all know what a mission statement is. A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a companyorganization or person, its reason for existing. Somewhere between your granddad starting the business to ‘solve a problem’ and now — your mission statement may have become a little long and, um, “involved.” (full of marketing speak that says nothing different than your competitors) If your mission (purpose) is unclear and only exists on a page on your website, why you matter to customers may be lost in translation, as well.

Are you actually on a mission or just saying that you are?

Let’s take a look at some current mission statements, in the building materials industry and see if you can guess what their purpose is:

‘Driving innovation with products and manufacturing capabilities that effectively respond to the evolving needs of the architectural and building community.’

‘To be leaders delivering value and global solutions through continuous innovation and exceptional service.’

 ‘Dedicated to being recognized as the leading distributor of specialty building materials in the Western United States.’

‘Provide the finest, most reliable products in our industry and support them with equally exceptional service to our customers.’

These kinds of statements are prevalent and not only in the building materials industry. Peruse Linkedin for more than sixty seconds and you’ll be knee deep in statements like these that are overcomplicated and don’t really reveal the ‘why.’

After all, your mission is simply your promise—your statement of intention.

Author, Bernadette Jiwa, shares an eye-opening list of examples of powerful clear mission statements in her book, Marketing, a Love Story (The Story of Telling Press) As you can see from the excerpt, a single sentence is often enough to say what you need to say:

Spread ideas.

To capture and share the world’s moments.

Instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them.

Evolving the way the world moves.

Inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

Inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.

My personal favorite (and not because I’m addicted) is the mission of Starbucks. Notice they don’t even mention coffee…or quality beans, or exceptional customer service or being a world leader. Hmmm!

Why does your business exist? Why does it matter?

Before you run out and re-craft your mission statement, take some time and answer the following questions. Why would someone buy what you’re selling? Why should they buy it from you? My guess is that it’s not because you’re mission statement is long and wordy. Or that your products are made from the highest quality (fill in the blank here). People buy what you’re selling because it means something to them. You help them solve a problem. You make a difference in their lives. Buying from you makes them feel good, cool, stronger, happier, smarter, etc.

What your mission statement says about you.

When was the last time you talked about your mission with your sales team? Employees? Customers? Do your employees have your mission memorized? Do they embrace it as their own? Maybe it’s time to re-visit your ‘why.’ Get back in touch with your purpose and how you make a difference. Your company is unique and one-of-a-kind. Does your mission statement read that way?

Remember, when the value is clear the decision is easy. 

To stay relevant in a commoditized world now is a good time to revisit what mission you’re really on and how that is affecting your marketshare — let’s talk.

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