Why you need a mission statement before you start communicating
One of the most profound statements made on the subject of positioning comes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. When Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which path to take, he responds, “if you don’t care where you’re going, it doesn’t make a difference which path you take.”
So it is with too many companies marketing communication programs. Without direction or focus, a business or organisation often acts like a multi-headed creature – speaking from many mouths, saying nothing and going nowhere.
Five Essential Mission Statement Questions
From a management perspective, positioning is the heartbeat of an effective communications plan. Well-crafted mission statements will define a company’s direction. It answers five essential questions:
- What business are we in?
- What do our customers value?
- What are we in business for?
- What makes us special?
- What geographical area do we operate in?
These simple sounding questions are among the most difficult the company will ever have to answer. Successful companies continuously raise these questions and answer them. Asking these basic questions is a sign of strength, not uncertainty. It is surprising how few companies exist where management is in total agreement on these basics or where the answers can even be found.
Often organisations start with a clear mission held within the mind of its founder. Then, over time, the mission fades as the company acquires new products, markets and employees. As a company grows the mission statement becomes more and more valuable.
A Touchstone For Every Aspect Of Organisational Behaviour
A clear mission statement acts as an “invisible hand” that guides people in the organisation so that they can work independently and yet collectively towards overall organisational goals. It is a touchstone for every aspect of organisational behaviour. In expressing values that everyone in the organisation understands and shares it ensures that everyone in the organisation is:
- Striving for the same goals
- Working in accordance with the same principles
- Adhering to the same standards
- Fostering organisational morale
- Securing the organisation’s reputation
- Determining the character of the organisation
Set Your Communications Program On The Right Path
By creating a clear, defensible, differentiated mission statement and supporting key messages to guide you and others along the way you will be setting your communications program on the right path. In most organisations this takes introspection, selling and consensus-building. An organisation can only succeed in living up to its values if its people understand these values and are willing and able to make an effort to help the organisation live up to its values.
Remember the purpose is creating clarity, consistency and continuity in the way the organisation speaks to the market. This makes all forms of communication less complex and easier to manage. Getting there takes patience, discipline, negotiation and above all an “outside-in” perspective. Because of that, an external marketing specialist can be of value in managing the project.
For more information about how developing a mission statement could help your business, speak with one of our specialists on 01787 388038 or email email@example.com for more information.