The One “Must-Have” for the New Normal


You’ve seen them all in every ad format; “we’re in this together” messages that speak to the pandemic we are in. Some corporate giants had them at the ready. Other brands had to rapidly create, shift or even halt campaigns entirely. But for one group of brands – mission-based brands – that pivot felt less drastic.

Mission Brands Have A North Star

When we talk about mission-based brands, we can mean anything from small, humanitarian non-profits, to large, aspirational for-profit brand titans. The common denominator is that they all have a vision of making the world better for humankind. Just how they accomplish that, is typically made clear in their mission statement. A mission statement acts as that “how” – a roadmap that determines the way forward – and that is a great tool for ANY brand. Without a clearly defined mission, the next steps can feel paralyzing, which goes double in times of uncertainty.

Let’s look at a local favorite, The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee whose mission is “building healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.” How can they live up to that mission while their doors are physically closed? By converting ongoing membership dues into tax-deductible donations, they are able to offer child care for health workers, resources for seniors, and online programs – truly living their mission.

Mission Statements: They’re Not Just For Mission-Based Brands

For some brands, it’s a requirement to publicly state your mission, like brands who receive money from donors, investors and the government. For other brands, a mission statement is an afterthought or overlooked entirely. But remember, we live in an era where buyers are increasingly driven by their beliefs. 70% of US Millennials actively consider company values when making a purchase (Forbes). Now more than ever, brands need to put their beliefs out there with a mission statement – one they can actually live by, in every communication, at every level, and in any circumstance.

Take, for instance, a brand like Dyson whose mission is “to solve real problems that others seem to ignore.” In light of COVID-19, they have pivoted to manufacturing thousands of battery-powered ventilators – a true reflection of their mission. Shoe giants like New Balance are living up to their mission of “putting the body in motion” by creating life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE). Even irreverent brands like Poo-Pourri have found a way to live their brand mission – “to delightfully shift the way the world thinks about the things they’ve always done” – by pivoting to hand sanitizer production and offering an online “Holy Shift” summit to help ride the wave of uncertainty.

Do Statements Really Need To Be Stated?

As consumers, we rarely go out looking for things like mission statements. And like the examples above, we don’t suggest brands shout their mission statement from the mountaintop – especially now, when they could come off as self-interested. But, for brands that are pondering what their guiding light should be on the road ahead, there’s no better time to create or revisit your mission statement and make sure you are truly living it.