If you get past reading three companies' vision and mission statements and you are still awake, give up! And accept that you are an insomniac! It is sad, but true. The extreme use of clichés and superlatives, most probably sourced from a book prescribed for marketing 101 students, are meaningless and boring. Although this is an opportunity to set the company apart from the rest, most do not get it right.
Who is the target marketing for these statements?
I would suggest that the target market would be: employees, shareholders, stakeholders, unions, government, clients - but definitely not the consumers. Consumers are the least likely to source the companies vision and mission statements. I wish I was a geek who could write a program highlighting the similarities between vision and mission statements of companies worldwide. It would, in my opinion reveal a grim picture.
Phrases like: the best in the industry, world leaders, market leaders, most green company, uplifting society, innovators, best service delivery etc. will no doubt feature in most.
Are the vision an mission statements necessary?
NO, they are CRITICAL! As a strategist, this is my starting point. Without it, a strategy cannot be developed. BUT, it must be short, to the point and meaningful. Microsoft's original mission statement "Put a computer on every desk and in every home" and previous vision statement "Empower people through great software any time, any place, and on any device" are some of my favourites.
They have emotion, no superlatives, are short and to the point. No wonder Microsoft is currently ranked as the number two brand in the world by value (Forbes 2015). This is my opinion as a strategist. But, Tiffany Markman, as a corporate writer, has a similar opinion and her article
is well worth a read.
Are these statements written in stone?
No, they should not be. The vision of a company should last for five or more years. However, the mission statement should be revisited regularly as markets, technology, innovation and competitor activity could change the playing field.
So, what to do next? My suggestion is that you read your current vision and mission statements with a red pen in hand. Delete any superlatives that have no place in the statements, evaluate the content with a critical eye and come up with something that will truly take your company forward. Or contact me.