Mission statement copywriting is the creation of an encompassing action-based statement that distils the essence of a business or brand into one short, simple paragraph. Easy enough, you might think. But finding an imaginative way of defining a business or brand and encapsulating its purpose in a way that is easy to understand can be challenging. It takes time and thought. In the smallest number of words, you must construct a paragraph that has the greatest impact. Good mission statement copywriting should get under the skin of a business or brand. It should bring together elements of a business’ vision, values and ethos, and provide a flavour of who you are, what you do, why you do it, how you do it, where you do it, who you do it for and how they benefit.
The key to good mission statement copywriting is simplicity, brevity and potency. It’s impossible to say everything you might want to, so ask yourself what you want to be associated with and remembered for. Space is at a premium so choose your words carefully. Better-known brands can use shorter and less literal mission statements. For instance, in its mission statement (Inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time), the only indication of what Starbucks does is in the word cup. Smaller or less-known companies might have to include more information. This doesn’t mean that the mission statement can’t be short and snappy or that it can’t be adapted as the company or brand becomes better known in its market.
There are four key components to a mission statement (content, tone, context and keywords). The content should be compelling and have meaning; the tone should reinforce the content in the most accessible and appropriate way possible; the context should reflect how you do business; and a mission statement must include keywords that resonate with your audience. A strong mission statement should work on several levels. It should inspire and motivate those within your business and resonate with those who your deal with such as customers or clients, shareholders, partners and suppliers. Lastly, mission statements are not set in stone. As your business or brand evolves and your audience changes, your mission statement should do the same.
To create a powerful mission statement, here are some things you should consider.
- When planning a mission statement, get the opinion of everyone within your business.
- Keep your mission statement short and concise (less than 100 words).
- The language and flow of a mission statement must be easy to understand.
- Avoid cliches, platitudes and throwaway phrases such as ‘to be the best’.
- Don’t be too grandiose, self-congratulatory, philosophical or vague. Keep it light.
- Be human. Your business or brand has a personality, so use it.
- Think big. Ask yourself ‘what would change if everyone used our product or service’?
- Choose five keywords or buzzwords that will resonate with your audience.
- Think in the long-term by alluding to your business vision and goals.
Vision Statements & Values
A mission statement shouldn’t be confused with a vision statement or a set of core values. A vision statement should explain where your business is heading and what it aspires to achieve in the short and longer term. Your goals are the tangible outcomes that result from fulfilling your mission, your overall objectives, and what you want to achieve. Your values are what unite and drive your business or brand, represent the principles you stand for and believe in as you look to carry out your mission, progress towards your vision and achieve your ultimate goals. They are the internal navigation system that guides and leads the business or brand and permeates how you operate. They are the energy that fuels the achievement of your mission, vision and goals.
As an experienced copywriter, I’ve written, reviewed and edited dozens of mission statements, vision statements and core values. If your mission statement, vision statement or values are is too long, too short, confused or missing altogether, please get in touch.