Mission statements have come a long way. Remember back to your first exposure to business plans and the concept of entrepreneurship – “what does your company stand for?” The mission statement was this cold, mechanical message about delivering “value” and “the best products for ____ in the world.”
Over time, these statements often became another channel for marketing, leveraging “the mission statement” to attract consumers. Unfortunately the quality of their artificial content conveyed that intent.
Today, consumers have more access to data than ever, and we can now qualitatively evaluate the validity of these mission statements. Ultimately, organizations are losing credibility by claiming to deliver an experience that they simply aren’t backing up. We as consumers have the power to hold these organizations accountable for the experience they claim to deliver, and when they don’t….well, we feel cheated and in turn defect to the competition, or even worse become detractors.
Social media has exponentially multiplied the impact of that sentiment. When a company promises to deliver something and fails, that failure can, in seconds, be exposed to over 2.2 BILLION people worldwide with internet access.
Alternatively, when a company has a well defined mission statement that they clearly back up, it can drive customer loyalty and turn passive promoters into walking referrals. Take Philz Coffee, my favorite spot to grab a 6AM coffee & blog sessh in Palo Ato:
Hey, they are playing Billy Idol right now while we’re having a great early morning conversation about the best single on Green Day’s “Nimrod” (Clearly Haushinka, by the way) Doesn’t get much more random, and that’s exactly how I like it. My day is off to a great start, thanks to the great culture of positivity here.
When you think about it – a mission statement should not be some long sentence filled with 12 letter words and complicated cliches. The purpose of a mission statement is for an organization to identify what they want to be, communicate that desire to employees so they uphold the intended values of the company, and communicate that to consumers so they know what to expect from their experience. “Expectations” – the most dangerous word in any B2C OR B2B transaction – for the provider, choose your words carefully; for the buyer, you have every right to demand authenticity and alignment to the expectations that were set up front.
Take a look at some of your favorite brands’ mission statements – are they upholding their end of the bargain, or have they lost their way?