Mission Impressible

Mission is what your organization does.Last post, we were talking about brand. To summarize, a brand is the sum total of the public’s perception of an organization, somewhat influenced, but not totally, by the intentions and actions of the organization. That second part is where I want to start focusing.

An organization, or even an individual (see: Lady Gaga), builds their brand. The materials from which the brand is built are Mission, Vision, and Values.

Mission is what your organization does. We’ve all seen organizations’ mission statements and the best are ones in which the organization succinctly states what it does and hints at the intention behind that “doing.” Ideally, there is an emphasis on the word succinctly. As a wise old man who lived next door to me during my Virginia childhood once said, “Hell, sun even shines on a dog’s ass every now and again.” To state it another way, more words do not equal saying more (though that meaning may not be easily found in that saying but I’ve always wanted to get that saying into the modern vernacular . . . along with bringing back “You be illin’.”)

Here are some examples of Mission Statements. Now, I can just hear the eye-rolling as you read the mission statements on that page. ADM? Of massive agribusiness fame? Really? Well, the answer is, yes. The Mission is the what of the organization. It isn’t the Why or the How or the Goals. Look at CVS, the pharmacy: We will be the easiest pharmacy retailer for customers to use. That’s pretty tight. It is the What of their organization.

So, what is your mission? Let’s go back up to Lady Gaga. Maybe her mission should be:

I create engaging music and performance to entertain, inspire, and provoke.

Personally, she’s not my kind of music. That, happily, is utterly irrelevant. The key is to simply and clearly state what you do. Do you have a mission? Personally or organizationally? Done right, it forms the foundation that leads to what your brand will represent.

Next time: Values.

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