Isn’t my mission my brand?

A well-crafted mission statement is a valuable fundamental element for an organization. But it is just one part of your brand. The best way to understand this is to revisit the definition of a brand:

A brand is your entire organization as seen through the eyes of your customers.

What constitutes “your entire organization”? For starters, it’s all the communications. But it also encompasses in-person experiences. It includes how you act on the social channels. And much, much more. Every way people experience or interact with your organization defines the brand.

So no, your mission alone is not your brand. That doesn’t mean your mission isn’t important. It means we need to understand the role it plays. The best way to do that is to understand the strategic elements and what they are meant to do.

Organizational strategy

Organizational strategy usually has three core elements. The mission, the vision, and the values. Through these elements, a company talks about itself.

  1. The mission - this is what we are setting out to do as an organization
  2. The vision - this is the result that we want to have by pursuing our mission
  3. The values - this is the way we will execute the mission (with integrity, honesty, and the other values we identify)

Branding strategy

Branding strategy has three elements as well. The brand position, the brand promise, and the brand proof. Through these elements, a company talks about why a customer should care.

  1. The brand position - this is how we are unique among all the other choices and why that is valuable to our customers
  2. The brand promise - this is that irresistible thing that we do for our customers
  3. The brand proof - these are the real and tangible reasons why you can believe our brand promise

The difference is point of view

The difference between organizational strategy and branding strategy is point of view.

Organizational strategy finds us talking about ourselves – what we will accomplish, how we’ll do it, as well as the way we’ll do it.

Branding strategy demands that we give the customer a reason to care. It looks at things through their eyes. Here’s how we are unique among all your choices. Here’s that irresistible thing we are going to do for you. And here are the undeniable reasons why you can believe us.

It’s not an either/or proposition

Companies need the organizational strategy elements. They set the foundation. But they are inward facing. Which means we need something that is outward facing as well. Something that helps us develop empathy for those that our organization serves. This is the branding strategy.

This yin/yang relationship is necessary in successful organizations. We need to define who we are (organizational strategy). And we need to define why we are valuable to those we serve (branding strategy).

When we understand this, we clear the way for a freakin’ awesome brand.