For your agency to thrive, it requires a well defined sense of purpose that clearly communicates to customers, investors and prospective employees why they should engage with you. All of this can be found in one neat package called a mission statement. Some of the most influential businesses in the world are instantly recognizable by their mission statements. Can you guess which famous brands claim ownership of these?
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
“To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
If Starbucks and Facebook instantly entered your mind when you read these, then you are correct. Each of these takes the brand’s objectives, goals and values and condenses them down into one succinct statement. A mission statement is more than just a description of the services a brand offers, it’s a single expression of everything they are. Great mission statements are powerful, to the point, capture your brand positioning and set you apart from others in your industry.
The key to a powerful mission statement is balance. It should grab attention and compel the reader to want to know more, but it shouldn’t be over the top or read like a sales pitch – because that’s not what it is. In needs to short and succinct, but not so simple that misses the target entirely. You can jazz it up, but the primary message must be relatable. Furthermore, it needs to answer a few very basic questions about your brand.
Anyone that reads your agency’s mission statement should immediately know what audience your business is targeted to, what it is that you do, and how you excel and outshine the competition.
Before the internet became the meeting ground that it is, mission statements were generally longer and contained more elements. Today, there’s more of a need to be short and sweet with it. For starters, the average internet user doesn’t have much of attention span, so any mission statement posted on your website needs to be short enough to not lose their attention.
Secondly, more brands are choosing to leverage their mission statements for SEO purposes by stuffing them into meta descriptions, in which case every word counts. So, how can real life agencies construct powerful, effective mission statements that meet the needs of the digital landscape? We reached out to our top local agency partners to learn about their approach to mission statements and why theirs works.
Defining Your Target Audience
Your agency has a goal, and that is to solve problems and offer solutions to your customer’s needs. Before you can accomplish this, you first need to define who your target market is so that they can identify you as a resource when they need help. At the risk of sounding cliché, you shouldn’t consider the whole world to be your stage when crafting a mission statement. An effective mission statement really narrows in on the target.
For example, defining a geographical audience in your mission statement lends a feeling that your agency will understand the challenges and hurdles that local businesses face.
“RNO1 is a brand experience & digital design agency shaping meaningful ideas into memorable solutions. We’re West Coast Brandmakers.”
Another way of targeting your audience is by identifying their uniqueness. What is it about their situation or need that makes them a good fit for your services?
“Connecting people with insurance problems to people with insurance solutions.”
“Our primary mission is to help small to medium-sized companies scale their business, build their credibility, and make their presence felt online.”
“We provide SMEs the digital marketing expertise usually only found at large companies.”
Stating Your Purpose
Your purpose is really the nuts and bolts of your agency’s mission statement. It doesn’t matter how flashy or compelling your statement is, if it doesn’t convey what you do and the value you offer, then it doesn’t do the job. There’s a bit of a story telling craft to stating your purpose in a mission statement.
Mission statements don’t need to be too wordy. In fact, it’s better when they’re not. You want the reader to be able to reach in there, grab the intent and run with it. For businesses that want a mission statement that they can easily leverage for SEO purposes, a single line or two can work if the purpose of the agency is well defined.
“Grow our client’s business with marketing strategies that reduce the customer acquisition cost.”
“Our vision is to help local businesses across the US grow their company by improving their online visibility & image.”
Let’s be honest, nobody is interested in your stats or quarterly reports when they’re reading your mission statement. While certain points in your brand’s journey might call for a mission revision, the goal is to craft a static statement that stands the test of time. This includes telling your audience why your agency rises above using emotional charged wording that can carry you into the future.
“Local SEO Search, Inc. specializes in full service search engine optimization for business owners across Canada. Our mission is to partner with clients and provide the best Internet and digital marketing experience through the use of search engine optimization. We form a lifelong business relationship that builds through sustainable gains.”
“We take great pride in our relationships with people. We operate with the understanding that it’s all about being good to others in everything we do. We show this by delivering the best service possible to our partners. We hear what people say and take action based on what they need. Being good to people is a foundational part of our business and we will not compromise it for anything.”
Best Strategies for Defining Your Mission Statement
Now that we’ve established what makes a compelling and powerful mission statement and why having one is crucial to your agency’s success, the next step is putting it all together and making the magic happen. There isn’t necessarily a magic formula for crafting your mission statement. It’s really all about considering what’s important for your brand.
A mission statement isn’t a marketing blurb to attract clients. The intent might be to inform clients, but it should also serve as a guide and provide direction for your in-house operations. Many businesses find that the best mission statements are born from cooperative brainstorming with fellow team members.
“Our mission statement was created via a cooperative model where we worked on it as a company. It was ratified by all employees to ensure that each employee has buy-in. We believe that a collective approach is better than a top-down approach. Our mission statement is based on the triple bottom line theory (people, planet, and profit). It is important to win on all fronts: making our clients more successful, being exceptional to our employees and fulfilling our social and community obligations. Shorting any of these is a mistake.”
One of the key elements in defining your mission statement is discovering the unique value you provide. It’s easy to say that you’re the best at something, but that accomplishes nothing in communicating brand value to the audience. What about your purpose and mission makes you the best? Dig deep and discover where you differentiate from other agencies and leverage that as the core of your mission statement.
“We considered the quality of work we wanted to hold ourselves to, all while maintaining strong company integrity in that work. It’s very easy in the digital sphere to get people to pay for watered down marketing and make a living out of it, but we wanted to be better. We wanted to create campaigns that genuinely HELPED people and made a difference in their lives.”
Mission Statements That Guide and Direct
A mission statement wears many hats. It’s a promise to your customers, but another equally important function is how it guides your company culture. Every member of your team should be able to read your agency’s mission statement and immediately understand the core goals and priorities of the operation. When things get hectic, and team members start to feel misguided, your mission statement should be a tool to guide daily operations and help everyone maintain their focus.
“We focus on delivering results for our clients plain and simple. Our culture is geared toward making an impact for our clients on every level.”
“Since our mission statement is all about increasing the value of brands, it directly correlates to the quality of work. If the work done is “just good enough”, it won’t pass our quality check. It motivates everyone to put thought into the work process and do it right.”
Displaying Your Mission Statement
Finally, once all the components of your mission statement have come together, the only thing left to do is display it. A common mistake that many agencies make is failing to think strategically about how to display and communicate their mission to the public.
Your mission statement makes you accountable, so visibility and transparency are key to earning trust and building a reputation. Savvy agencies strategically place their mission statements strategically on their websites. This instills trust and serves as a reminder of how their mission needs to guide and direct their external actions. Here’s how some of our local agency partners display theirs.
“Our website. Beneath our positioning statement. Why? Our goal is for our clients to know they matter first. So rather than speaking about ourselves in the statement we speak to the impact we have on the client and their business.”
“Our mission statement is located in the “about us” section of our website as well as throughout our social media channels. As a company that is continuously growing in geographical service area, we are constantly introducing ourselves to new people. As new prospective clients visit our website for the first time, their visits to the “about us” page account for nearly 40% of our page traffic. So, we wanted to make sure it would remain visible for those looking to learn more about who we are.”
You don’t need to be a spinner of magic to take your agency’s story and condense it down into just a few words. You just need to have a real sense of who you are and why you’re committed to what you do. Your mission statement is your chance to set yourself apart, distinguish your service and create authority for your agency. When you’re one in a sea of many, it’s a well-crafted mission statement that will guide you towards being the best in your industry, today and into the future.