Any branding project begins with tasks of defining who and what a business is about. This can be the hardest task for a business owner since the business is the sum total of their personality, skills, assets, relationships, and reputation. Clearly calling out the identity of a business from this messy reality takes a bit of work. We have all heard about the importance of having a Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Values to guide a business or organization, yet the focus in a branding or logo project often gets reduced to identifying a slogan. Slogans are good, but they are easily incorrectly formulated from marketable messages rather than from the identity of a business. That means that a business often reduces their slogan and identity to what they produce rather than the how or why that drives such products.
Service-based businesses have an even more difficult time doing this because placing a product label on a service is often too drastic of a reduction of the value it represents. Formulating a clear Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and a list of Values will provide the essential content needed to bring clarity to a branding, logo, or marketing project for these businesses.
If I am in danger of losing you already, let me put the question this way:
What do you hope the outcome of your services to be for the businesses and communities you serve?
Outcomes are the reason you do what you do. We are answering the “Why” of all your hard work and intense reflection in formulating services and delivering excellent attention to your clients. Many outcomes focus on improvements in quality of life, delivery of product, and excellence in craft. Answering this question is inherently future-focused and can reflect aspirational goals of your impact.
Now that we’ve had our head in the clouds for a bit, let’s come down to earth and ask:
What does my company do, for whom, to what practical end?
A mission statement is more than a statement of products or services because it is informed by your Vision Statement. But, notice we identified a “practical end” because we are speaking to the “What” of your business. Mission is the Yin to the Vision Yang, both are needed to create a distinctive approach to your services, and so the Mission Statement can help clarify what activities should fall within the scope of your business to accomplish your Vision. Focus is essential to ensuring outcomes.
Values describe the distinctives in your approach to the Mission of your business. So we ask:
What adjectives would you want others to use to describe how you work?
Notice, we are answering the “How” of your execution of services. There is a big difference between a business who values “Efficiency” over “Accessibility” in their services, and so a different target demographic for those businesses. Identifying your distinctive Values will help you attract and target the right clientele to fit how you do business.
Answering these three questions is a vital step to clearly understanding the unique identity of your service business. Once this is documented (write it down!), it becomes the perfect raw content for a branding or marketing project. These internal statements will act as the guiding direction for your external communications. From this content you will be able to craft relevant slogans, marketing messages, value propositions, and elevator speeches to attract new clients that are a perfect fit for you.
What are your answers to these questions? Share with us in the comments or social media!