Market Well: Creating Your Brand Mission Statement

Our new column, Market Well, explores the key marketing strategies that are essential for the growth of a wellness business.

Every month, Vicky Ellison, who is also the Senior Marketing Manager for Equinox in the UK and Canada, will examine how brands can create and maintain a marketing campaign that connects with both their intended audience and potential investors. She’ll be providing valuable insight into the methods, services, and tools needed for both new and established businesses to drive exposure and boost brand value.

Drawing on over ten years of marketing experience, Vicky will delve into the challenges and the opportunities associated with specific marketing techniques, analyse the current wellness market, and offer practical advice.

Starting from the ground up, this month she is focusing on the importance of creating a clear brand mission statement…

The world of wellness marketing has been moving along at a rapid pace. Every week new platforms and tactics are appearing, from personalised advertising and 360 cameras to Instagram stories; there are always new routes to explore.

Rewind a couple of years and few would have predicted that NARS would be unveiling product launches exclusively on Snapchat, or that Johnson & Johnson would have an award winning workout app on the Apple Watch. The examples are endless.

Wellness brands are feeling the pressure to be constantly active, in a bid to stay one step ahead. But more than ever it seems as though businesses are jumping too quickly into tactics, creating content for social platforms, embarking on influencer campaigns or launching brand extensions to stay newsworthy, without any clear objectives.

While the pressures are understandable and momentum is vital, there is value in spending some time outlining your business purpose first, starting with your brand mission statement.

A clear mission statement sets your direction so that stakeholders, both internally and externally, understand why your company exists. It keeps you focused and provides the foundation of a framework within which to make business decisions. And, by outlining your mission, the strategic choices you make become more congruent with your purpose, and your consumers are more likely to buy into your journey.

It is surprisingly difficult to find the mission statements behind many wellness brands. On the contrary, tech and FMCG brands wear their mission statements with pride.

Take Google’s mission to ‘organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ or Amazon’s “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.’

As you read these they might sound familiar? They are front and center to what these brands do every day, and suggest there’s a reason why the most successful companies in the world have mission statements we recognise.

If you don’t have a mission statement, it isn’t too late to create one. Here are five things to consider when writing yours.

There are no prizes for a small word count

It is good practice in self-control to be succinct in what you’re saying, but don’t be overly concerned about word count at the expense of giving consumers a meaningful understanding of your purpose.

Your mission statement is not a tweet. Brands often feel pressure to have a catchy phrase like Virgin Atlantic’s ‘To embrace the human spirit and let it fly’, but don’t go down that route unless you can convey your brand value effectively with such few words.

Even Apple revised their mission statement from Steve Jobs’ original To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind”, to a lengthy, descriptive statement incorporating their products across computing to music.

You could consider having a short and a longer version if you need to give your initial statement more context. Johnson and Johnson’s statement Caring for the world, one person at a time’ is backed up with extensive detail, going so far as to have a separate statement for their customer service mission and a marble slab engraved with their detailed credo at J&J HQ.

Keep your brand values front and centre

Your mission statement should be an integral part of your brand – it isn’t a box to tick.

Make sure your brand core and reason for existence are truly conveyed in the statement you create, this will help build an emotional connection with your team and consumers, appealing to them through a shared purpose.

A couple of wellness brands do provide good examples here. Wholefoods’ mission ‘Whole foods, whole people, whole planet’, explained in more detail on their website, comes through strongly in everything they do from in-store signage to their philanthropic commitments.

Technogym’s mission ‘To help people live a better life through wellness’ is something they invest in heavily, as demonstrated by the construction of their vast headquarters, the Technogym Wellness Centre. These examples are strong because the statement values are depicted in the brand’s behaviour and is carried through every consumer touch point.

Balance an optimistic outlook with validity

Your mission statement should be inspiring but it must be realistic and credible.

Make sure you say something meaningful about what your company is here to do, but avoid marketing buzzwords to ensure that every word you include has a reason to be there. The key is in the balance.

Take this example from US T-Shirt brand Life is Good. Their statement ‘Spreading the Power of Optimism’ incorporates everything from the way in which the enterprise was founded by two brothers with a failing company to how they used their T-Shirt business to create and fund the Life is Good Kids Foundation. Their statement accurately conveys their reason for being, in a way that stimulates and excites.

Be concise but not too specific

Mission statements can take time to bed-in and become adopted by your team. Keep it focused but broad enough that you don’t have to revisit it every time you launch a new product.

Build a statement with enough longevity to become relevant and important. Microsoft’s original mission statement was “A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.”

This was updated to “To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.” An up-to-date improvement, that’s broad enough to allow them to move into new areas of business whilst maintaining their original purpose.

Do a stakeholder check

Test your statement; amongst your team firstly and if appropriate, on a focus group of customers, then sense check your work.

Involving key stakeholders can become a first step to getting their buy-in from the outset.

If you have your mission statement in a good place, consider adding a vision statement. Your mission statement is now. Your vision statement is the future. Use them together to lead your team with inspiring purpose in a shared direction.

Or, in the case of Lululemon, whose mission statement reads ‘Creating components for people to live longer, healthier, fun lives,’ think outside of the box and ditch a vision statement in favour of a message more in-line with your brand image.

Creating a visual brand ‘manifesto’ including feel-good quotes and direct calls-to-action proved to be a viral hit for the athletic apparel company, who use the print on their reusable tote bags to spread their message far and wide.

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