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5 Lessons From Facebook on How to Craft Your Mission Statement
July 5, 2017
In an effort to align corporate purpose with business practices, Facebook changed its mission statement from “Making the world more open and connected” to “Bring the world closer together.”
This follows founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 5,700-word manifesto on using the world’s largest social media network to build community and inclusion. Zuckerberg noted that the previous mission statement didn’t do enough to create positive change and unity. “Society is still divided,” he said. Communities give people purpose and support, which is much more meaningful than simply being connected.
To take the company’s purpose-driven mission to the next level, Facebook is dedicated to increasing the number of users involved in “meaningful groups” from roughly 100 million today to 1 billion.
Chris Cox, the company’s Chief Product Officer, told TechCrunch that, “missions have a way of becoming how we talk about what we’re doing and justify things to one another. Closeness really resonates as something that is both technological – now we can be connected in ways we couldn’t before – but it’s also deeply human.”
Facebook’s dedication to cohesively combining the digital world with real life to improve people’s lives and strengthen community is a powerful force, propelling the brand to create genuine value for all stakeholders.
Although each company’s mission statement is unique, Facebook’s retrofit offers valuable insights for brands looking to communicate their purpose-driven mission to the world.
Here are 5 steps to define and refine your brand’s mission statement:
1) Focus on a mission beyond your business or industry: People today expect companies to do more than just make money. In fact, according to the latest Cone Communications CSR study, 87% of consumers would buy a product that supports a cause they believe in over a comparable product with no social contribution. What’s more, 76% would boycott a company whose actions go against their values. Therefore it’s vital to be a mission with a company, rather than a company with a mission.
When it comes to selecting your brand’s purpose-driven mission, think about a social crisis impacting society and how your brand can contribute to the solution.
Facebook noted that membership in meaningful communities has been decreasing and the platform’s functionality and strengths could be an excellent tool to bring people together. Thus, finding parallels between your brand culture and larger cultural issues is a great place to start.
2) Identify how your products and services advance your mission: While having a clear mission is essential to scaling profits and impact in the long run, it’s also critical that your products and services match the ethos of your higher purpose.
In Facebook’s case, the company’s technology and interpersonal communication services have a massive potential to strengthen communities worldwide.
So think about how your brand’s products and services can be used to create social good and positively impact the planet.
3) Pick one word that represents your mission: Brevity can be challenging. When it comes to branding and mission statements it’s important to follow the KISS Principle, which extols the virtue of simplicity. By picking a single word to describe your company’s mission you can boil down the essence of what you stand for into its most basic form.
Facebook’s word is community. When you look for your own word complete the sentence, “My brand is synonymous with….” In other words, clarify how you want other people to feel when they think about your brand.
4) In one sentence, describe what your brand does to embody your word: This is when you connect what you have clarified in steps 1 through 3 and bring it all together.
In this step, articulate how what you do advances your mission and brings about the feeling you identified in step 3. It’s important to emphasize what you do and who it influences.
If Facebook’s word is community, the company might say that it brings the world closer together to foster the sense of community. The ‘what’ is “brings together,” the ‘who’ is “people around the globe.”
5) Describe your sentence as a basic action: This is the part when you edit your work and clarify your mission statement. Think of the polished mission statement as a multi-word verb that describes your purpose-driven action.
As noted above, Facebook’s mission statement is to “bring the world closer together.” This is the action the company takes to make people living in the world feel a sense of community.
The key takeaway is that a mission statement is an expression of your brand’s higher purpose. The final statement will clarify what you do and for who you do it for. But it’s important to internally articulate why your company does what it does beyond monetary goals, how your product and service offerings support your mission, and the feeling you want to inspire. These 5 steps based on Facebook’s refined mission statement can be used to craft the perfect mission statement to convey your brand’s greater meaning and purpose.