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For Long-term Success, Be on a Mission

Tim Burr

May 26, 2015
Tim Burr

There’s been a lot of talk about the power of having a strong, clear mission statement and how it can be the key to building a company’s long-term success. While not entirely new, this idea received a boost in 2010 when Simon Sinek wrote Start with Why. He has since been the idea’s most ardent evangelist. While some disagree with his “Golden Circle” analogy, even his critics acknowledge the importance of having a clearly articulated mission to guide a company’s actions.

Coming off the economic crisis of the late 2000’s, when many companies lost their way, this idea has only grown in importance. Many of these companies had mission statements but chose to ignore them. They chased short-term profits over long-term profitability.

Having a clear mission statement — and following it – can keep your company out of trouble. But that’s not the only advantage.

A mission conveys a sense of purpose to your employees. When people believe in the mission of their company, they are invested in the company’s success. This increases loyalty and productivity and creates a culture that attracts new talent.

A mission can keep you focused on your customers. Products and services that don’t come out of your company’s mission often fail to find an audience. New customers want to know if they can look to your company to fulfill their needs and wants. Long-term customers look to your company with the expectation that you are developing products and services with their needs and wants in mind. Your brand is a promise. Fail to meet that promise, and customers flee.

Your mission, then, is more than a guide for your company’s actions. It’s what connects your company emotionally to your employees and customers. It says you’re committed to acting in their best interest.

And if you’re acting in someone’s best interest, don’t hide it — because people want to know.

One of our clients, Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey (HRINJ), is a new health insurer born out of the Affordable Care Act. They struggled early with poor market positioning and unsatisfactory lead generation. They had only been in existence for a year and were competing against insurance behemoths Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield and AmeriHealth. Most importanly, they had to reach federally mandated targets at the end of year two to ensure sustainability.

The first thing we did as their advertiser was highlight their mission. HRINJ is a member-driven CO-OP. It puts its profits back into its plans–to improve coverage and lower premiums. That’s in their charter. That’s why they exist.
We just had to let people know.
Out of their mission, we developed a political-style campaign with the tagline, “Health to the People”. In six months, that campaign grew enrollment by 1500%.
HRINJ is well on its way to long-term success. Your company can be, too. Start by letting people know you’re on a mission.