Another part of branding is coming up with a value statement, which should succinctly but effectively describe how a company helps people. Easy right? Hardly.
People should be able to read your value statement and immediately know if what you’re offering is of value. It’s sometimes called a mission statement.
Here are some examples from well-known companies:
Amazon: “It’s our goal to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything at Amazon.com.”
Apple: “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”
Google: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
(Google’s was the easiest to find with a quick Goolge search. (Figures). I even found this article that says that Apple hasn’t published a mission statement.)
Value statements should evolve over time. Writing them should be an exercise in self-discovery as much as an exercise in re-thinking company goals.
Here’s how my value statement evolved. I started with this:
I help organizations enhance employee engagement by leveraging scientific principles and research methods.
It gets the point across but it felt too bulky. I also wasn’t wild about “enhance.” It didn’t seem to be quite the right verb. It also felt too cold. Not personal enough. And lastly, even though it highlights my use of science, it doesn’t highlight my other unique skills. So here was the next iteration:
I use science to help optimize employee engagement and other touchy-feely stuff.
I changed “enhance” to “optimize.” I like the idea of optimization. It’s about not accepting mediocrity. I want to help people and organizations use what they already have and do the absolute best they can with it.
I blurted out “touchy-feely stuff” when I was brainstorming. It evoked many smiles during beta testing. However, it lacks clarity. Also, as a female entrepreneur, I face enough challenges as it is and I don’t want to come off as juvenile or unprofessional. So I changed it to this:
I use science to help optimize employee engagement and other people-focused work outcomes.
I changed “touchy-feely stuff” to “people-focused work outcomes.” After thinking about it, that was what I meant when I blurted out “touchy-feely.”
Then a slightly bigger shift happened as I thought more about the unique contributions that I can make. As I talked to more people, it became clear that I should also emphasize my expertise in the education and tech worlds.
But how do I mesh employee engagement with education? Well, I can help optimize employee engagement by developing online training programs that focus on employee engagement (and other people-focused work outcomes) but that’s just too…clunky.
So here’s what I landed on for now:
I help optimize talent with science, education, and technology.
It highlights the intersection of my unique contribution in the science, education, and technology worlds. It still focuses on optimizing by making people the best they can be. And talent can mean employee talent but it can also mean student talent. Or just talent.
I did have to let go of employee engagement — at least in my value statement. That was hard for me. But letting go means making room for new, more powerful ideas.
And I still plan on trumpeting the importance of employee engagement — and engagement in general. Talent and engagement go hand in hand.
So there it is for now. I’ll try it out and see how it goes.
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