Did you start your business because you wanted to make a positive impact on the world? Have you ever formally defined that as part of your branding process? You may think your logo is your brand, but a logo is only one piece of that puzzle. Your brand is about the mission and values you communicate to your audience, the promises you deliver on and the perception of your business that your customers have created based on their experience with you.
Over the next few months, I'll be taking you through the elements needed to build your brand as defined in the book Brandraising by Sarah Durham. (While this book was written for non-profits, the branding foundation that she outlines can also apply to the for-profit world and is one of the clearest ways I've seen brand building defined.)
Where to Start:
At what I like to define as the Core Level of branding, we have to start with the Vision & Mission Statements. No, they are not the same thing. By defining these two core elements, you will be able to move forward more strategically when deciding on the visual and communicative pieces of your brand and thereby create a stronger connection with your target audience.
Defining Your Vision Statement
Think about why you started your business or organization. What problem were you trying to solve when you started? Maybe you've always had that big vision in mind, but you never went through the formal process of defining what that statement is. Durham defines Vision as "...something so large that achieving it is beyond what any single organization could do alone; it will take the combined efforts of many over time."
For example, my vision statement for Design Intervention is; To live on a clean planet where animals are no longer abused or used for profit as food, entertainment, experimentation or clothing. Obviously, Design Intervention can't solve this problem alone. Your vision should be so large that it's not something you could do alone either. Your Vision Statement is your idea of what the future will look like. How will your business contribute to this Vision is where the Mission Statement comes in.
Defining Your Mission Statement
Durham best explains this by referring to your Vision as a pie. If your Vision Statement is that big "pie" idea then, your Mission Statement is the slice of work you have carved out for your business to contribute to that big idea. This is the document you may choose to share in your marketing pieces—or at least a version of it—which is what I do on my About page. This is what drives all of the communication efforts in your marketing.
For example, my "slice of the pie" or Mission Statement is as follows: The Mission of Design Intervention is to create Visual Branding and Graphic Design solutions for conscious businesses that offer products and services focused on plant-based eating, sustainable practices, and natural health & wellness. Design has the power to influence change and Design Intervention empowers these businesses and organizations by visually communicating the professionalism, quality, and purpose of their businesses to their customers. By working alongside our clients towards the same ethical goal for animals and the planet, we can create a more compassionate world together.
So, while my big vision is to save the planet and all the animals, my mission in trying to achieve that is focused on the services my business provides to empower the businesses that will put us one step closer to what I envision for the future.
- Think about that big idea of your Vision. My blog post about finding your "why" may help. FYI: Your vision doesn't have to be about saving the planet. For example, if you own a bakery, your vision may be to live in a world where there is easy access to wholesome, fresh-baked foods and less reliance on processed snacks and meals.
- Next, think about why your business exists. What problem did you set out to solve when you started your business and what will your business do to contribute to that Vision? Example: If you are that bakery owner, maybe your mission is to create easily accessible food that is healthy and delicious and available not only in your bakery but in places where commuters need to grab a quick meal on the go.
- Lastly, write it down and think about how you can take that Mission Statement and use it drive your marketing communications moving forward. Tip: Use your Mission Statement, or a version of it, on your website or in printed communication.
Going through this process will give you a marketing roadmap that will give clarity to the other pieces of your brand. If you know who you truly are as a business, then communicating that to your target audience will be much more effective...and then you can start saving the world!
Ready to take your branding to the next level? Let's chat.