Every Organization has Me, Most Ignore Me, Who Am I?
Organizations, especially the big ones, are chock-full of materials that go woefully underutilized. They mean well, but profits dictate actions, relegating many resources to clear the deck for “revenue related” work. Also, marketing departments can be so inured by metrics that marketing campaigns become promotion grindfests; ignoring key things like solving customer problems, content marketing, and brand.
One casualty of this scenario is the brand mission statement, which sadly ends up collecting dust on the metaphorical shelf more often than not.
Mission Statements, Schmishion Statements.
Don’t blow me off yet. I’m not throwing a pity party for mission statements. However, I am throwing a pity party for marketers that don’t incorporate mission statements into every piece of messaging in their marketing campaigns.
No two mission statements are the same. Some are long; some are short; some are technical, while others are prose. A well-crafted mission statement summarizes the intentions of a brand–the relationship it strives to create with customers, emotional contexts, the problems it wants to solve, market position, competitive differentiators, and more.
All of which are content marketing gold.
When organizations stop thinking about a mission statement as a checkbox and marketers start leveraging it as a window into the customer experience, content gets better. By better I mean that instead of relying on promotions and peddling products, content marketing takes root. And when content is better, engagement is better. When engagement is up, I’d wager that conversion rates trend upward as well.
And just like that, the once-frivolous mission statement becomes a keystone to marketing communications, lead generation, and even revenue.
Don’t Believe Me?
So, how can a mission statement truly inform and impact customer-facing marketing materials? Where’s the connection?
Hubspot’s blog, “12 Truly Inspiring Company and Mission Statement Examples” has some interesting examples to work off of. For example, Patagonia (the outdoor clothing and gear company, not South America) boasts a mission statement that gets the juices flowing:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Those are some lofty goals and altruistic intentions. Also, keep in mind that Patagonia clothing costs a pretty penny. To win share, the brand needs to create emotional connections for its products, because it will lose on price (or, the “race to the bottom” as I call it).
For starters, let’s use my favorite word from its mission statement: “inspire.” This creates imagery of happiness, achievement, progress, altruism, and other positive connotations. It doesn’t say, “Save 15% with this coupon!” But, if the customer creates an association between Patagonia gear and any of the imagery above, the potential for a tight customer bond is within reach.
Digging deeper, here’s quick brainstorming on how this bond could come to fruition through the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness: Gear highlighted in visual storytelling on Instagram Stories, YouTube videos, Twitter pics, etc.
- Education: Value of quality clothing; stories on philanthropic, sustainability, and other altruistic pursuits led by Patagonia (or even other third-party organizations…great for content curation)
- Consideration: Patagonia’s “green, sustainable” manufacturing process; more visual storytelling
- Purchase: Email campaign on a new line of gear
- Reinforce: Rinse and repeat above content, consider offering existing customers exclusive content or promotions for loyalty
Using Patagonia’s mission statement and basic content marketing principles, we have a decent (albeit high-level) content calendar and marketing funnel that:
- Avoids pushing product (until the appropriate moment)
- Finds inroads to a targeted customer base (people who want to have positive experiences and an outdoor lifestyle)
- Creates an experience loop that reinforces the values and experiences customers care about
- Does right by the brand.
In my book , that’s not bad for using a single word from a dusty old mission statement.
If you’re doing a little spring cleaning, dust off your organization’s mission statement and ask yourself if your content creates emotional contexts and makes good on the connections your brand promises. Chances are you may uncover awesome content marketing opportunities.
Is your organization stuck in product-pushing mode? Have any corporate resources like a mission statement helped? Let me know, and thanks for reading!
(By the way, I have no behind-the-scenes visibility into what Patagonia actually does with marketing content, nor do I have a stake with the company. Promise.)