There are three things in life I refuse to compromise on: ketchup (Heinz is the only true ketchup!), hair cut and color (Galleria Salon & Spa with my friend, Pam), and shoes. Brand names matter – they’re effectively a promise. We become familiar with “our” brands, identify with them (think iPhones), trust them, and feel confident when purchasing from them. We have expectations and we trust our brands to meet our expectations. Every. Single. Time.
Two weeks ago I bought a neutral toned pair of shoes in preparation for a conference where I expect I’ll be walking around or standing a lot. Rewards card and discounts in hand, I purchased happily. Buying attractive and comfortable shoes for a conference can be a nightmare challenge.
I wore my new shoes a few days after I bought them and oh, my did I have some happy feet at the end of the day! I don’t typically pay much attention to designer shoe names unless the shoes are exquisite (read that as beautiful and comfortable).
The day after I wore my new shoes, I rushed back to the store hoping to find a black pair. I was in luck and quickly scooped up the newest addition to my “travel for work” wardrobe. If you’ve ever felt victorious and maybe a bit smug because you found exactly what you wanted for exactly the price you wanted to pay, you know how I felt driving home: very smug and quite satisfied. When I got home, I took them out of the box. That was the first time I really noticed the maker’s mission statement beautifully inscribed inside the shoe lid:
“I’m passionate about creating a product that infuses great style and comfort with unparalleled value.”
In his mission statement, Vince Camuto spoke to me. He made me the same promise he made himself: to be passionate about great style and comfort. And then he delivered. Twice.
Mission statements do matter. They’re typically not as lofty as vision statements (which should describe what the world would look like if you were to accomplish your mission). Mission statements are workhorses, explaining exactly what you do. And they are a promise. Your mission statement makes a promise to your customers, your staff, your board, your investors … everyone who comes in contact with your organization or your work.
Vince Camuto’s mission statement explodes with his ‘why’ (see Simon Sinek for more on that), his what, and his how.
- Why: Passion for style and comfort
- What: a product
- How: great style and comfort with unparalleled value
That’s a great formula for a mission statement. It’s simple and clear (yes, he could have said, “shoes” instead of product but that would have been a misnomer because, as I happily discovered, he also designs clothes. And yes, they are stylish and comfortable and superbly crafted).
The point is, sometimes you can skimp on things. Mission statements are tools for you to communicate why you do what you do, who you do it for (sometimes), and how you do what you do. Spend time crafting a mission statement this because it affects how people see you. It communicates your promise with customers about who you are, with your employees about the type of culture you have, and with your board about what you won’t compromise on.
Craft your mission statement as if you were making a promise, and then go do what you promise.