The words “brand” and “branding” are thrown around a lot these days without much understanding of the actual significance they play in developing and growing your e-commerce business.
Essentially, your brand is the story you tell the world about who you are and what you do. In some cases, it is your brand that will connect with buyers before they even purchase your product. Branding includes everything from your logo, your color choices, the language you use, and your values. Branding also includes your brand mission statement.
A brand mission statement is a brief statement that defines who you are, why you exist, your values, and your reasons for being at all.
It may sound simple, but getting the mission statement right will help people connect with your brand in deep and meaningful ways. It can establish you as an industry leader and give anyone working with you a clear understanding of the underlying values of your brand.
It takes your brand from being just a commercial product and creates a more human, soulful connection.
Why You Need A Brand Mission Statement
When your primary goal is to sell as many products as possible, it can be tempting to ignore some of the finer details. As long as your product is good and your Amazon listings are optimized, you should be set, right? Not really. You could have the best product in the world but if you cannot connect with your target buyers, you will never be as successful as you want, or could, be.
A mission statement helps to define a strategy for your brand and will inform how you behave now, but also how you will grow, expand and adapt in the future. It provides a blueprint for you, but a window for your customers.
The values, attitudes, and goals expressed in your mission statement can, and should, extend beyond your “about” section. Your values should become your voice and be evident all over your website, touchpoints, and communications. This does not mean that you should be repeating your mission statement word for word every chance you get. But, it does mean that your aims and core values should still be evident in all that you do.
This gives clear meaning to your brand. Consider a brand like TOMS. Originally focused on footwear, TOMS set out to help people in impoverished nations with a one for one philosophy. Buy one pair of shoes, they will give a pair to someone in need. Simple. In stating their mission, TOMS explained what they were going to do, how they were going to do it, and why it was important. Through this mission statement, buyers were given to understand that TOMS was a company with integrity. Buyers not only found comfortable shoes, they found a project they could feel good about supporting.
Having skyrocketed in popularity, TOMS has expanded over the last few years to include more products and more causes, like vision care and bullying prevention. But here is the point, without clearly establishing a brand mission statement first, it would have been difficult for TOMS to achieve their level of popularity and it would have been difficult to expand operations into other charitable endeavors. Customers were able to follow them into these new and expanded fields because these moves were aligned with their existing mission statement.
Mission statements give your brand meaning while also laying the groundwork for where you might go in the future. This does not mean that you need to have plans for expansion from day one. It just means that by clearly defining what is important to your brand, you will have direction when and if the time comes to launch new products.
Even if you do not have a charitable interest or direction for your brand, it is still important to define for the world who and what you are.
Buyers love a good origin story. By supplying buyers with some background about who you are, how you developed your brand and products, and what you hope to achieve, helps them feel connected with you. That sense of comfort and familiarity is the foundation for customer loyalty. Yes, people are loyal to quality products, but they are more enthusiastically loyal to brands with quality products and a personality they can support.
How To Write A Brand Mission Statement
To begin crafting a brand mission statement, it is important to define your “why.” Go beyond explaining to people what you do. What you do is important but why you do what you do is even more important. Once you know the why, you can work out the rest of the details.
How exactly you develop this “why” into your story and your brand mission is up to your but remember, the more specific and concrete you can be the better. You do not want a mission statement that reads like the mission statement of a million other brands. You want to be you.
There are loosely defined formulas for writing a mission statement. Simply put, tell your story and define for the customers what you can and will do for them. Do not worry so much about how things may adapt or change in the future, instead, focus on the core principles of your company that will not change. For example, you may grow your product line or your sales channels but if your commitment to sustainable production, for example, is at the heart of what you do, then that needs to be a key highlight in your mission statement. Consider the previous example of TOMS Shoes. Their product line and charitable projects have expanded but their commitment to helping communities in need all over the world has not changed.
Defining who you are and the voice you want to use is an individual thing. Do not be afraid to express yourself in the way that you think is most appropriate. Just remember, a great brand mission statement needs to be:
Authentic: Corporate speak and boilerplate language is not a good way to connect with your buyers. Just be you. Create a mission statement that reflects what it is that makes your brand different from all the rest. When drafting your statement, ask yourself: Does this look like something my competition might say? If your brand statement looks like the statement anyone could make, you need to dig a little deeper. What makes you different from everyone else? Your product may not be unique, but you are. Find a way to bring that uniqueness into your statement. Buyers, particularly millennial buyers, are looking for authentic brands. It is up to you to deliver.
Relevant: A brand mission statement needs to be relevant to the work you are doing. In an effort to highlight your authenticity, you may veer into other lanes. Try to keep your statement applicable to the work you actually to, to the values that connect to what you do.
Concise: Your buyers do not want to read a coming of age novel for your brand. They want to know who you are and what you do. Get to the point. This does not mean you should not be creative in your approach, it just means do not go on and on with irrelevant and unnecessary detail. And remember, the entirety of your brand persona does not need to be contained in the mission statement. Yes, your mission statement provides a clear look at your brand, but your persona and personality can be developed in other parts of your site as well. All text, images, products, and communications will display your brand personality and voice so do not overdo it in the statement.
Precise: Being vague is not going to cut it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Speak directly to your brand and your goals directly. Precision will provide clarity. The more clarity a buyer has, the more likely they are to trust you. This trust can translate into a purchase and help establish a loyal customer.
Connecting with your buyers is the key to creating loyal customers who make repeat purchases. Besides providing a quality product, a brand mission statement is one of the best ways to create this connection. Mission statements are seen throughout the corporate world and can be used by e-commerce sellers of all sizes to reach the buyers they desire the most.
By clearly, and publicly, defining who you are as a brand, you can establish a path forward while establishing excitement and interest in your product.