A brand mission statement is the first step in activating a brand strategy. This sets out the actionable goal of your business is — whether this is to make people laugh, inspire charge or simply sell more products. A brand mission statement is a good way to rally internal and external audiences around a single cause and should be an extension of your brand purpose. All successful brands need to have a plan of what they are trying to achieve, how they will do this and what success actually looks like once this goal has been met. A vision statement, similar to a mission statement, outlines how the world will look when a brand successfully achieves its mission. This links heavily to the brand story and often draws on emotion to build a picture of what a brand is trying to achieve. In addition to these elements, ‘brand values’ explore the character traits that a brand can lean on to help them achieve its goals. Successful brand values statements are drawn from the day to day culture of a brand, leveraging existing behavioural traits to unite and drive forward. These can also give guidance on how employees should behave when they are representing the company both inside and outside of work. These values should be reflected across all areas of a brand, helping to achieve consistency and recognition.
Each has a specific job in helping activate a brand strategy through measurable actions. From an organisational perspective, these tools can then be plotted against KPIs and other metrics to help embed change within the culture of an organisation.
Recent examples of brand value development work include Halley Stevensons, Back Onside and The Feather Company. Previous examples of this type of work include ARM, Mace Group, The National Trust for Scotland and Myeloma UK.
There are many ways to expand upon your brand story. Mission and vision statements are important tools to help activate a strategy, while brand values can be used to guide all engagements.
A mission statement sets out the main objective of a business. This may never actually be achieved, however, it sets a clear direction of travel through which a brand can operate.
It is often the case that in order to move forward, you first need to look back. In our experience, the most efficient way to develop a ‘brand mission’ is to first look at the business as a whole, weighing up the ‘who, what, why’ of each element before deciding upon which parts are the most important. These insights can be surfaced and validated through a strategic audit process, or alternatively a short, focused programme of market research. These processes will quickly uncover internal and external perceptions of the business, building a broad picture of what people recognise in the business.
When developing a mission statement, it is important to remember that brand strategy is multifaceted and complex. It must successfully encompass the brand’s internal culture, its external perception to customers and potential new employees, as well as aligning with brand values.
In order for a mission statement to be successful it needs three core elements:
A vision statement, similar to a mission statement, outlines how the world will look when a brand successfully achieves its mission. This links heavily to the brand story and often draws on emotion to build a picture of what a brand is trying to achieve.
When developing a brand vision statement, it is important to remember that this is often immeasurable. Businesses regularly make the mistake of trying to quantify a vision statement, measuring it against KPIs or other metrics. A vision statement is essentially the ‘ideal outcome’; it may never be achieved, but it is the dream that you aim towards and subsequently sell to the world.
A strong vision statement can help trigger brilliant advertising, motivated staff and engaged consumers. For example, Tesla channels its vision of the future into new product development, digital design, advertising and much more. Their vision statement is to ‘create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles,’ while its mission is ‘to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.’
This then builds a picture of a world where every vehicle is battery-operated, removing our dependence on fossil fuels and creating a cleaner environment.
Another key example is John Lewis — their vision for the future is adapted every Christmas into a compelling television advert that captures the hearts and minds of its audience. Without a clearly defined vision statement, activities such as this would be very difficult to accomplish.
In our experience, the best way to develop a brand vision statement is to ask yourself the question, ‘if we do everything we set out to do, what would the world look like?’. A good frame of reference is to look 20-30 years ahead, assuming good growth and development.
Brand values are a set of unique character traits or behaviours that a brand embodies and uses day-to-day. These values should be reflected across all areas of a brand, helping to drive consistency and recognition.
This is typically a capture of a brand’s personality, its character traits and how it behaves on a day to day basis. These unique sets of attributes or experiences should be aligned with the brand and help shape its actions in all aspects of what it does.
Values should be consistent across all brand touchpoints — from strategic to print, digital and content. They have incredible power for shaping brand perception. For example, brand values can help shape the tone of voice in a brand’s marketing material and on social media platforms; they are often used as an indicator of what people should feel when interacting with a brand.
Typical brand traits might include:
If your business would benefit from a new approach to strategic development, please get in touch and we will be happy to advise on the best route forward. We recommend that a strategic audit is undertaken before starting new strategic work to ensure it uses a solid evidence base.