Creating a positioning statement, a mission statement and a vision statement. Not to mention the mighty elevator pitch. It can drive Founders of new, and CMO’s of not so new ventures completely insane.
How much do they really differ? Which comes first? How do I translate one into another? Does anyone really care, or will I only create statement confusion, brand angst or promise dizziness amongst my team and my audience?
Start with these 2 steps in order to not go insane while you craft what really should be a wonderful A-HA experience for yourself and your team:
You won’t use your positioning statement ever; in public that is.
Yet, this is the very sentence that will drive everything about your brand. The positioning statement is your brand in a one sentence statement. It’s not a quick read (most often it’s a mouthful) and it is not meant to be outward-facing. This one is for your eyes only. It is crafted so you can base any and all other brand statements on it. It is everything about your brand: The who, the how, the what and the all-important why. A business plan disguised in a brand coat.
Once you have the positioning statement noted, translate it into a vision/mission statement combo. Yes, in my eyes they can be one and the same; it’s all you need.
When you think about the mission you are on, it can, and should translate into the big vision, or the ‘true north‘ you foresee for your brand. Make it easy for people and create one powerfully inspiring statement that is built on the ‘why’ – anything happening after the ‘because’ from within aforementioned positioning statement.
Taking the Alzheimer’s Association as an example, albeit a bit wordy. Currently we see two separate statements on their web site:
Using my proposed approach, these could be simply morphed into one powerful brand statement:
The mission is what you are currently setting out to achieve (and often are already achieving). The vision is the big, lofty goal. One should lead to another; naturally. By doing so it does not lead to statement confusion, instead you tell the story in a chronological order; a logical order, really.
There you have it, your public brand statement, plus two helpers.
Now go spend the extra time putting the words into action. Your team will thank you.
Oh yes, the good old Positioning Statement; used for decades, it still is the single most powerful tool to define a new venture’s audience, category, benefits…and reason for believing. Powerful, because this is all part of one single sentence; a sentence that many Founders struggle with, as a recent poll of ours showed.
When I work with clients on defining, and refining their positioning statement as part of our Resonaid™ workshops, it takes between one and four hours to get this sentence right. Yes, power comes with responsibility, and questioning the reason for being, and for believing in any new venture is worth a few hours of pondering.
Search for the term Positioning Statement and you will be surprised by just how varied the approaches to a classic branding tool are. It is most astonishing that a majority of statements leave out the most essential part of it; the reason to believe.
Most statements focus on the differentiators, ours (pictured above) focuses on the ‘because’ – the part that takes time to ponder and to perfect. It is also the part that will truly differentiate your venture from others. It puts your venture to the test: Is it truly a big idea? Is it important? Can it be bigger? Should it become more important? Is this why I will work late nights and put a lot at stake?
The big question ‘Why’ has been making its rounds past the branding community for a while now, most noteworthy through Simon Sinek’s TED talk. Despite its popularity, just like is the case with the mundane idea of writing a positioning statement altogether, the ‘because’, the key part that will indeed generate you sales, is often neglected. If you found an excuse not to tackle this sentence for your venture, take these words as a gentle kick in your behind and make today the day for accomplishing it. It will change your venture for the better, guaranteed.