how to write a brand mission
(That doesn’t sound like a soggy lump of corporate word salad)
If you want to build a genuine and profitable brand, there’s gotta be a reason for that brand. You have to know your end game. In other words: you need a mission. Why? Because your business is here to solve a problem, and in order to problem-solve effectively you must be able to determine when that’s been accomplished. So if you’re ready to learn how to write a brand mission that’s fresh, straightforward, and doesn’t sound like a soggy lump of corporate word salad, let’s get into it!
A lot of entrepreneurs get their brand mission confused with their brand purpose.
Both are critical components of an overall brand strategy, but they’re different concepts. Your brand purpose is why your business exists beyond making money, but your mission is the objective you’re working toward. I love this definition of the word “mission:” an important goal that is accompanied by strong conviction.
Your brand mission is the specific, measurable goal for your business. It’s the milestone that would allow you to close your business because the problem it solves would be, well, solved! So as you think about your brand mission, keep in mind it has to actually be achievable. Maybe not tomorrow or next year or 368 years from now, but eventually. Otherwise, how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
I’m harping on words like specific and measurable and achievable because you want to avoid being arbitrary.
When you’re arbitrary with your mission, that’s when the corporate bullshit happens. Here’s what I mean by corporate bullshit, courtesy of actual mission statements listed on actual websites:
Bank of America: We make financial lives better for our clients and our communities through the power of every connection.
Nestlé: Nestlé is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company. Our mission of “Good Food, Good Life” is to provide consumers with the best tasting, most nutritious choices in a wide range of food and beverage categories and eating occasions, from morning to night.
Gap: We grow purpose-led, billion-dollar brands that shape peoples’ way of life. (Who’s gonna tell them about possessive plurals??)
American Airlines: is in business to provide safe, dependable and friendly air transportation to our customers, along with numerous related services. We’re dedicated to make every flight you take with us something special.
Sure, those mission statements are okay on the surface level. They sound deliberate and altruistic and nice. But once you look a bit deeper, it’s easy to see there’s really nothing of substance there. No specificity. No practicality. No soul. I would love to ask each of those corporations how they’ll know when they’ve achieved their mission. I’d also love to learn their definitions of “better,” “connection,” “wide range,” “purpose-led,” “numerous related services,” and “something special.”
I encourage you to avoid the corporate formula because as a visionary entrepreneur, you are the opposite of surface-level.
You have a true desire to impact the world with your business. You provide actual value in exchange for money. You operate and make decisions with integrity. Don’t let the magic of that get swallowed up by word salad.
Ready to get to work? Here’s how to write your brand mission! First, ask yourself these questions:
• What are you working toward in your business? Profit aside, what problem are you solving?
• What’s special about the way you’re solving that problem?
• Why does solving that problem matter? Why is it important? Why should people care? Why is it worth your time?
• Why is it worth other people’s time to have that problem solved?
• How would your industry look different if this problem was solved? Why is that a positive thing?
• How would society look different if this problem was solved? Why is that a positive thing?
• How can you be even more specific?
I’ll also give you a brand mission statement template below to help you get started – but please please please remember every brand is different and therefore every mission will be worded differently. The template will help you organize and structure your ideas, but the final draft should sound natural, genuine, and actually like you.
The [your business] mission is to [what you’re working toward] for [your ideal clients] by [how you do it] so that [reason why it matters].