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There are precious few opportunities for marketing professionals to craft a new mission statement: either the company is a startup, looking for direction, or it’s an established company looking to rebrand. Like logos and mascots, mission statements are meant to last for years, even decades. Spend some time on them today to avoid the need for rebranding down the road.

Here at Onstage, we work with thousands of advertisers across the US. We’ve seen outstanding mission statements, and we’ve seen some real losers too. With this blog, we’ll explain the two uses of your mission statement and show you some examples we admire.

The Two Uses of Your Mission Statement

Other marketing blogs tend to go on about the uses of a mission statement. There are not five, nor fifteen purposes of a mission statement. There are only two:

  • To explain your values to the public.
  • To identify your goals to staff.

That’s it! Everything else falls under those two headings. Sure, your mission statement ultimately plays a role in defining your corporate culture, and with proper branding, it will become a sort of mnemonic device, like your logo. But it’s essential to be clear and concise. Consumers will associate a great deal of information with your mission statement if you brand it well.

Your mission statement is not a company handbook, nor a tag line. So avoid the noise and keep those two ideas in mind.

Keep it Simple: The Best Mission Statements are 3 – 5 Words

The best mission statement we’ve ever seen was Dollar Rent-a-Car’s “Value Every Time.” Car rental is a very competitive industry, and susceptible to local market variances. In other words, what works for a franchise in Boston may be very different than what works in Austin. It’s not like McDonald’s, where the same Big Mac and Fries will sell in every market.

Dollar’s mission statement was outstanding, as it gave every location the freedom to make their own choices, but with a clear goal to remain competitive. The phrase was short, tidy, and meaningful to customers and staff.

Dollar was purchased by Hertz in 2012 and has since rebranded. But those three little words did a lot for the brand:

  • Customers understood they’d be getting a good value. This didn’t always mean the cheapest cars or the fanciest, but the best vehicles for their money, at every location.
  • Employees and franchisees understood their goals. They could make unique choices at various locations, such as offering luxury rentals in the Las Vegas market, always operating under the umbrella of providing a good value, every time.
  • Value Every Time also neatly abbreviates to VET, the name of their corporate mascot, a lovable bulldog.

Mission Statement Mistakes

Let’s imagine we’re crafting a mission statement for ACME Plumbing. The worst mission statements are:

  • too long– ACME Plumbing – “Covers all your plumbing needs in the Dallas Fort Worth area.”
  • too vague– ACME Plumbing – “We’re Customer Service Oriented.”
  • or conversely, too specific– Acme Plumbing – “Specializes in plumbing for home remodels in Dallas Fort Worth.”

The best mission statement will be something clear and memorable. Our imaginary ACME should probably stick to something simple, like “The Best Dallas Plumbers.”

In closing, mission statements are special. We only get to create them a few times in any organization’s lifetime. We hope you’ve enjoyed our article.

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