What Makes a Mission Statement?
Mission statements are immensely valuable tools for any organization. These short, sweet, and to-the-point phrases not only have the potential to serve as a sales and marketing tool, but more importantly, provide a philosophical compass to be used when making just about any decision.
As a copywriter at Sangfroid!, I’m honored to have worked with many passionate founders in crafting their company’s mission statement. Through identifying and understanding their business’s offerings and motivations, we arrive at a solid statement that their entire team can rally behind.
Now, while that may sound easy on paper, this process requires some intense introspection. In our workshops, we ask our clients to really think about the “why” part of their business beyond the “what” (their service).
“Why are you doing what you’re doing when you could be doing anything else?”
This question is the ultimate key to understanding the motivations behind your organization’s very existence. And while the question itself may be a simple one, I’ll be the first to tell you it’s not the simplest to answer as It’s this very one that I wrestled with when tasked with writing our agency’s new mission statement.
Looking Back, to Move Forward.
I’ve had a front-row seat to the agency’s evolution as its third employee.
At that time in Sangfroid!‘s history, you could say we were at our scrappiest. With the whole company composed of only the founder, media buyer, and a copywriting intern, we functioned as the entire marketing team for a handful of ed-tech and SaaS startups in their most critical stage of growth and validation.
Huddled around a co-working table, soon followed by a rentable office the size of a cubicle, the three of us clocked in an unholy amount of hours, pushing ourselves (often to the brink of exhaustion), just to turn in quality work that made us proud. Between the weekly newsletters, email automation sequences, social campaigns, reportings, and CAC optimizations, it was a grind, to say the least.
But even though the work was hard and the hours long, there was something exciting about it all; just three relatively young UT graduates competing against firms ten times our size, all because we brought a special kind of determination and ownership to our work. Before we knew it, three employees became four, then five, six, and so on.
We like to think it was this spunk (and our data-centered optimization strategies) that brought us to where we are now: a venture-backed agency with 15+ employees, working with nationally recognized firms and international institutions.
I bring up this humble origin story as it was exactly what was going through my mind as I struggled to realize a mission statement that was true to our roots while leaving room for who we were becoming.
It All Comes Back to Why.
If you ask our founder, Jameson Pitts, why he started Sangfroid!, he’ll say something along the lines of,
“I did it because it would be hard.”
After mulling over his answer and reflecting on our history, it dawned on me that this was the crux of why we all show up to work each day. We don’t do what we do for a simple paycheck or a certain status that comes with a title; we show up every day for a challenge.
It takes a special kind of person to avoid the path of least resistance and throw themselves against the uphill battles, just for the sake of the climb. These are the kind of people who believe that nothing easy is worth doing. The type of people who are always ready for a challenge. Those who are consistently cool, calm, and collected, especially when the going gets tough.
This is who we are. It’s this spirit has gotten us this far and is what continues to propel us forward today. We’re not afraid to be proven wrong before we’re right. We won’t be discouraged by any roadblock or hurdle that obstructs our path to success. We don’t care how hard it may be. We say bring it on.
So, how does this come back to a mission statement?
Well, typically, when you think of the mission statement for an advertising/marketing firm, your mind may come up with something along the lines of:
Create value through intelligent brand strategy and messaging,
Serve brands with scalable media solutions designed for profitable returns.
Just to name a couple off the top of my head.
However, I find such examples hard to read as genuine and are typical of the sales lingo-packed mission statements we see all over the place.
To go with something traditional such as these just didn’t seem true to this agency’s essence. So, after many rounds of brainstorms with the creative team and some soul-searching myself, our unorthodox take on a company mission statement came to be.
Challenge. Create. Iterate.
Our mission is simple. Three words that each represent a critical component of our agency’s method and motivations. Allow me to break them down.
This is the motivation behind everything we do. As an agency and as individuals, we are always in search of a challenge. We understand the struggles and efforts that arise from any quest that foster growth, strength, and innovation. We challenge ourselves and our clients to do whatever it takes to achieve success.
This pillar speaks to our team’s dedication to our clients and work. It’s this can-do attitude that convinced our first handful of clients on betting on a team as young and small as us. We haven’t lost this spirit. Every day I see a dedicated group of intelligent individuals take on any challenges that come their way with a smile. No ask is too large.
In our hearts, we are creators. Powered by a radical curiosity, we embark on bold pursuits to bring about novel ideas, strategies, and solutions for our client’s challenges. We do this every day, from devising comprehensive media plans to producing inspiring creative. We don’t live to work; we live to create.
This pillar reflects our meticulous attention to detail and passion for the collateral and strategies we produce. From designing stunning websites or landing pages to building robust media plans, every individual on this team is an artisan in their craft. We believe that when you really care about your work, the quality shows.
Once the challenge is complete, and our product has been delivered, our job is far from over. Where others may drop the pen and paper, we continue to think through our work, propelling it closer to perfection. It is this iterative process that opens the door to new possibilities and sustains our growth.
This pillar is a nod to our knack for optimization. It was a strength and selling point back in the old days as it still is today. Our partners who have us on retainer can vouch for us here. Even when we hit our marks, there is always room for improvement.
While this mission statement may be a little outside of the box, we think it couldn’t be more fitting. It’s true to the scrappy agency we once were and the mature one we are today.
So, What Moves You?
At its most basic level, a mission statement can communicate the services you provide to consumers. However, a meaningful mission statement serves as an expression of your organization’s brand that can inspire clients and colleagues alike. Coming up with one requires a deep understanding of what motivates you and your organization.
So that leaves us with just one question. What motivates you?