“A Branding Opportunity”
We all have connections with great advertising slogans:
- Coca-Cola: “It’s the real thing.”
- Nike: “Just do it!”
- Allstate Insurance: “You’re in good hands.”
- Avis: “We try harder.”
- John Deere: “Nothing runs like a Deere.”
- Kentucky Fried Chicken: “Finger lickin’ good.”
- Lays Potato Chips: “Betcha can’t eat just one.”
- De Beers Consolidated: “A diamond is forever.”
- Burger King: “Have it your way.”
In contrast, how many company mission statements are you familiar with or would ring true for you if you heard them? If you work for a company who has a mission statement, maybe you remember reading it once or twice somewhere in the past. If you have a good memory, maybe you also retained some of the context of the document.
According to Wikipedia: “A mission statement is a short statement of an organization’s purpose, identifying the scope of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation. It may include a short statement of such fundamental matters as the organization’s values or philosophies, a business’s main competitive advantages, or a desired future state—the “vision“. A mission is…. an expression, made by its leaders, of their desires and intent for the organization. The purpose of a mission statement is to focus and direct the organization itself. It communicates primarily to the people who make up the organization—its members or employees—giving them a shared understanding of the organization’s intended direction. Organizations normally do not change their mission statements over time, since they define their continuous, ongoing purpose and focus”. (Underlined and bolded are my emphasis areas.)
The desired future state – “vision”, could be considered the core of many mission statements. The vision, expressed as a part of the mission statement, should provide leadership with “what” to be focusing and directing the company toward. A well-developed mission/vision statement normally melds the vision with supporting ideas, such as goals, values, objectives, and intent – in setting this focus and direction. It allows leadership to provide to their employees “a shared understanding of the organization’s intended direction”.
However, many mission statements, once finished: are filed away in a drawer; found only in an annual report to investors; or printed in a handout given to hospital patients by Admissions.
There is a failure of leadership in many circumstances to develop useful, personified mission statements and then use those living documents to help forge company direction into the future.
One item missing in most mission statement implementation processes is a short, concise, easily remembered derivative, which contains the essence, or core concept – a synopsis. Maybe this synopsis should be a well thought out condensed version of the vision? Maybe it should be a motto to assist in conveying vision concepts? Or, how about a catchy “ad slogan” aimed at your employees?
Historically, advertising slogans/mottos, with only a few exceptions: come on line; are used for a few years; and then are replaced by some new idea. People change; ideas change; marketing fads come and go; but this state of constant flux may represent an expense from the standpoint of confusing customers – by changing ad slogans and the subsequent loss of “branding” value which had been accomplished by those ad slogans.
Mission statements, on the other hand, by definition, normally do not change over time. Since they are not being used effectively, they may also represent a waste of time and money in developing them in the first place.
As the leader of your business, why not develop one timeless ad slogan, which would also serve as the “core” for a short mission/vision synopsis, to set the focus and direction for your company? You would end up with the best of both worlds by telling people, both internally and externally, with the same basic concept/statement, who you are and what you do.
The following well-known ad slogans could be enumerated upon by company leadership for use as the “core” of the mission/vision synopsis, in a fashion similar to the fictional examples presented after each real ad slogan:
- Ford Motor Company: “Quality is job 1.”
- We must build higher Quality cars and trucks than our competitors, so our customers will buy Ford cars and trucks, rather than our competitors.
- Miller Brewing Company: “It’s Miller time!”
- At the Miller Brewing Company, we must brew our beer every day for our customers, with the same gusto we show on Friday, when “It’s Miller time”, and we head off for a cold one with friends or co-workers.
- Timex: “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
- At Timex, we build watches for hard-working, everyday people, just like us, who work: in factories, in construction, on farms, or in offices. They deserve a beautiful time-piece, able to take a licking and keep on ticking, at a reasonable price.
- Campbell’s Soup: “M’m! M’m! Good!”
- Our vision at Campbell’s Soap must be: every time one of our customers finishes a bowl of our soap they think to themselves, “M’m! M’m! Good!”
- S.C. Johnson: “A Family Company.”
- At S.C. Johnson, we must strive to produce products for our customers’ Families with the same dedication to quality and value we would seek to provide to our own Families.
- Texaco: “Trust your car to the man who wears the star.”
- To earn and maintain our customers’ TRUST, at Texaco, we must develop and provide superior products and service to them.
- BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
- At BMW, our mission is to build “The Ultimate Driving Machine” for our customers.
As consumers, we already have connections with these ad slogans. Therefore, it is easy to make the jump in understanding the concept of using them as a core for the synopsis mission/vision statement.
Here is an example of one more ad slogan. It is not real, but through time has the potential to produce similar end results to the BMW example. It is presented here to help you conceptualize how a “brand new” ad slogan might be perceived, as if you had, seen it and heard it, in commercials repeatedly over the past five years, or fifty years, or more.
- 3M: Innovational Adhesives for all Applications.
- At 3M, our mission is to develop Innovative Adhesives (and related products) for all Applications to meet our customers’ future
The 3M Corporation is a huge international company and one of the world’s leading developers of adhesives for countless uses, as well as many other products. The company has built their success upon a visionary culture and orientation which demands constant innovation and new product development.
As the leader, your visionary challenge is to define a timeless, winning ad concept, such as the one presented for BMW, or the example for 3M, and develop it, over time, into being equally as well-known, from a branding standpoint, as: “When it rains, it pours!” – Morton Salt, 1911 or “All the news that’s fit to print.” – New York Times, 1896. With your branding slogan also intimately intertwined with your mission/vision statement, you will have gained a singularly based messaging tool for communicating both internally and externally at the same time. Just imagine how powerful this tool could be in providing you with the “core” direction and focus to build, execute, market, and brand your successful and sustainable business concept.
One final note: while the preceding discussion and examples pertain primarily to larger, national scale corporations, the same basic concepts apply to: start-ups, smaller local companies, and region companies as well. However, there are specific reasons to make some potential adjustments in them. National companies like Ford, Miller Brewing, and Coca-Cola: have large advertising budgets; advertise on a national scope in numerous venues year-around; and even pay for ads during the Super Bowl. In addition, they normally have not only a CEO, but levels of officers and managers beneath the CEO, who are expected to help keep the mission and vision in the company’s spot light.
Start-ups, smaller family sized, and regional level companies do not have the same scale of advertising budgets, nor large management organizations in place. Thus, their ad slogans, even over time, will have far less exposure to the general population within the geographical reach of the company. The owner/leader will normally have only a limited number of managers to assist in focusing and directing company operations. As a result, a smaller organization’s combined ad slogan and mission synopsis concept may require more information or details, to help communicate their intended dual message effectively, within this smaller scale of exposure.
Here are two examples of how this might look:
- Bill Johnson Ford: Doing Our Very Best to Make You a Customer for Life, by providing You with the Best Possible Value on your Next Vehicle Purchase, and the Best Possible Care for your vehicle.
- At Bill Johnson Ford, our company mission shall be for every customer to leave our dealership believing:
- They received the best value possible in the purchase, or care, of their vehicle.
- Their experience was seamless, over time, between sales, financing, service, parts, and after-market customization options.
- They want to become a Customer for Life, based upon value received AND how well they were treated by every employee at our dealership.
- Southeastern Motor Transport Company: We want to be YOUR “GO TO” COMPANY in the trucking industry. Call us TODAY for your shipping needs throughout the Southeast US. Our Promise to you: the best rates, fastest ETA, highest on-time delivery success rate, and the safest operations.
- At Southeastern Motor Transport Company, our mission is to earn our customers’ trust, by Proving every day we are the “GO TO” COMPANY, in providing: the best rates, fastest ETA, on-time delivery, and by operating safely. We shall accomplish this through: building long-term relationships with our customers; seeking innovations in dispatching and operations; treating both our customers and employees as family; maintaining our fleet to prevent breakdowns; engraining safety into how we work; and providing the best service to our customers as our highest
In the chance a smaller company ends up successfully expanding to the national level, with a well thought out core concept incorporated into their ad slogan, an easy transition can be made, as exhibited by: Seeking to make “You a Customer for Life!” And, “YOUR “GO TO” COMPANY.”