The first step in any branding initiative, once we’ve done due diligence for the client, competition and industry, is to write a mission statement.
A really good mission statement has two purposes. One, it clearly communicates to all company personnel the company’s purpose. For everyone from the admin to the CEO, it helps to give meaning to the actions you take every day as part of your job. Two, the mission statement establishes a foundation for branding, setting up all of the marketing messaging that will be created going forward. Whatever the channel, whatever the platform, following the concepts and ideas set up by the mission statement will keep all of the messaging in strategic alignment.
Customers, clients and end-users are not the target of the mission statement. In fact, it may never be read by anyone outside your company, though you may choose to post it on your website. This is a document that sets the stage for internal thinking and actions.
Once a mission statement is agreed upon, our next step is usually to create a theme. This will actively and publicly be used in all marketing activities. A theme is typically one short line that condenses everything that’s important for customers and prospects to know about the brand into a few short words. If that sounds like a tall order, it is. Really good theme lines are difficult to write, but once they exist they seem as if they were inevitable.
Some of the very best theme lines say absolutely nothing about the company or its products. We had a client who manufactured racks for AV components – about as industrial and unexciting a product as you can imagine. Media rooms, audio systems and huge video screens are exciting – racks are not. Our final theme line? “What great systems are built on.” The line was a huge success and even now, several years later, we get a little thrill seeing one of this company’s trucks on the highway with that theme line painted on it in gigantic letters.