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A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.

April 22, 2013

No, this isn’t a post in tribute to Dashboard Confessional. This is a post to emphasize the purpose and necessity of a strong mission statement and tagline to market you and your company. It’s important to understand the impact these two things can do for you.

Define Your Mission. Treat your mission statement like your mantra. It should be the reason you get up in the morning, the reason why you do what you do at your job and most importantly, why your company even exists. According to Guy Kawasaki’s “The Art of the Start“, it doesn’t have to be difficult, but rather appropriate and heartfelt. This statement is for you. It may not be readily marketed or recognizable but it’s there to motivate your company and keep them aware of the why you are doing what you do. Kawasaki states, “Make meaning, not money.” This is of utmost importance as the greatest companies are built around these three meanings: increasing the quality of life, righting a wrong or preventing the end of something good.

Here are some popular examples:

    • Wendy’s – “Healthy fast food”
    • FedEx – “Peace of mind”
    • Nike – “Authentic athletic performance”

Know Your Audience. Your tagline, on the other hand, should be a familiar marketing phrase that emphasizes your mission statement to the masses. These specific group of words placed together should emphasize of what you are all about. When people see this combination of the english vocabulary, they should immediately think “Oh, that’s so-and-so” and directly relate it to you. When you saw the title of this post, did you think “Dashboard Confessional’s 2006 hit album featuring ‘Hands Down’?” If so, you get exactly what I mean. If not, maybe you’re just not correlated to the soft-core punk music genre of unenthusiastic melodramatic 17-year-olds in the 90s. It’s understandable that not everyone will get it as long as the group of people you are marketing to do.

Define Your Story. The story behind your company is much more important than the mere grouping of words that people relate to you. It is what gives meaning to those words and your company; what differentiates you from the rest. What are your aspirations and how can you encourage your audience to strive for them as well? A great tagline captures the entire story of what you’re all about in a phrase.

Finalize Your Message. Have a brainstorming session of key words and mixtures of them to see what clicks. It’s important to understand that a clear message is better than a clever one. Simplicity is key. By having puns, slang or a vague message, you are hindering your capability of conveying what you are about to the masses. Check to see if people with little to no knowledge of your company can translate your tagline successfully.

As a Silicon Valley author, speaker, advisor to Motorola and one of the Apple employees responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984, Guy Kawasaki presents “The Art of the Start.” This book and presentation is of mass construction at an entrepreneurial standpoint. Take a look at the video to get an insight of this entrepreneur evangelist.

Click to watch “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki Video