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Defining Your Agency's Mission, Vision, and Values


In the tumultuous landscapes of entrepreneurship and small business, clarity is sanity, structure is sanctuary, and purpose is power. When cutting through the chaos and forging a path that resonates with your team and clientele, your agency's mission, vision, and values are your compass. However, these are not merely decorative statements; they should serve as the strategic framework that guides every decision, action, and relationship. This comprehensive guide unveils how to define and deploy these indispensable elements for long-term business growth and connection. 


Defining Your Agency's Mission

Your mission is the "why" that fuels your "what" and "how." It's the authentic core of your agency and should be inherently concise, clear, and compelling. Your mission statement is a public declaration that encapsulates the essence of your existence, your raison d'etre. 

The Purpose of a Mission Statement

A mission statement aligns your team's efforts and inspires action towards a common purpose. This is the place to be laser-focused on how your agency solves problems and provides value. It's your elevator pitch to employees and potential clients, so it needs to speak volumes in just a few lines.

Crafting an Effective Mission Statement

An effective mission statement is action-oriented and avoids the vagueness of many of these declarations. Here are steps you can follow to create a mission statement with a punch:

  • Identifying your agency's long-term objectives and primary customers.
  • Defining the activities needed to fulfill those objectives.
  • Crafting a message synthesizes the above and is a grounding force for strategic actions.

Tailoring Statements for Impact

Consider these mission statements, noted for their focused ethos:

  • Google: "To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
  • Tesla: "To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."
  • Airbnb: "Belong anywhere."

Each one resonates, as it's bold but believable, specific but open to the future. 

Exercises to Define Your Mission

Engage in these exercises with your team to forge a mission statement that truly encapsulates your agency's spirit:

  1. Vision Crafting Workshop – Involve representatives from various levels and departments to brainstorm and phrase your mission.
  2. Client Feedback Session – Analyze what your customers appreciate most about your services; these insights could shape your mission.

Defining Your Agency's Vision

Your vision is your "imagination at work," the destination your mission hopes to reach. While the mission outlines what you do daily, your vision paints a romantic, future-focused picture, inspiring your team by pointing to something larger and more impactful.

The Purpose of a Vision Statement

Where a mission statement roots your agency in reality, a vision statement propels it into a not-so-distant future, motivating and giving purpose to strategic planning. It should be highly aspirational yet achievable.

Crafting an Effective Vision Statement

Your vision statement should be crafted for maximum motivation and alignment with your strategic path. Here are steps you can take to create a compelling vision statement:

  • Start by defining a "better" future in your industry or for your customers.
  • Build a narrative that blends innovation with realism.
  • Use vivid, descriptive language that connects emotionally with your team's sense of purpose.

Noteworthy Visions

Notice the visionary aspect of these corporate visions:

  • Amazon: "Our vision is to be Earth's most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."
  • Walt Disney Company: "To make people happy."

Make sure your business objectives align with the picture you paint.

Exercises to Define Your Vision

Crafting a vision statement involves introspection and speculation about the future. Here's how you can hone your agency's vision:

  1. Leadership Retreat: Leave the daily grind and focus solely on the agency's future during intensive sessions centered on your vision.
  2. Scenario Planning: Consider various hypotheticals to understand how your agency would adapt and succeed, then craft a vision that encompasses all scenarios.

Defining Your Agency's Values

Values represent the 'how' of your culture – the guiding principles that dictate behaviors and can help decision-making. They are the shared beliefs of holding a team together and maintaining cohesion during success and storms.

The Importance of Agency Values

Values are the roots from which your agency's behavior grows. These impact your internal culture and how the outside world perceives your brand. They should underpin every initiative and interaction.

Identifying and Prioritizing Core Values

Soul-searching for your agency's values is essential for a thriving culture. To identify your core values, consider:

  • What behaviors or traits are celebrated within your team?
  • What actions have earned admiration from clients and the public in the past?
  • What principles guide your everyday decisions and operations?

The Art of Articulating Values

Here are companies whose values are clear pillars of their identity:

  • Zappos: "Deliver WOW through service."
  • Patagonia: "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."
  • Starbucks: "With our partners, our coffee, and our customers at our core, we live these values."

These values are not mere suggestions but are deeply embedded in their operational DNA.

Exercises to Define Your Values

Leading collaborative exercises is the surefire way to hone in on your agency's underlying values and priorities. Here's how you can involve your team in this critical definition process:

  1. Cultural Consensus Workshop – Host gatherings that invite employees to share and discuss the values they hold dear.
  2. Storytelling Sessions – Have team members share impactful stories from work that reflect positively on your agency's core values.

Integrating Mission, Vision, and Values

Crafting these foundational documents is just the beginning; the true magic is in living them. It is imperative to integrate your statements into the processes that define your agency's daily operations, strategic planning, and performance management.

How to Ingrain the M-V-V in Your Agency's DNA

Mission, vision, and values should not be forgotten catchphrases; they must be actively implemented. This approach involves:

  • Incorporating them into every strategic planning session and decision-making process.
  • Making them explicit in the performance targets and reviews for every team member.
  • Communicating with them regularly and finding opportunities to celebrate when they are brought to life.

Exemplary Integration

Consider the story of a small advertising agency that had integrity as a core value. This agency consistently rejected work from clients that didn't align with its moral compass, even when money was tight. Over time, this ethical stance became a point of pride and a magnet for clients who shared its values.

Communication Strategies

Communicating the M-V-V to all stakeholders, including clients, is crucial. Using these strategies can keep the message fresh and alive:

  1. Newsletter Insights – Share examples of how your agency's work is aligned with its mission, vision, and values in newsletters and client updates.
  2. Team Meetings – Regularly reinforce the M-V-V in team meetings, using recent projects or client feedback.

In Closing

An agency without an articulated mission, vision, or values is like a ship without a compass – meandering rather than making calculated headway. By carefully crafting and consistently living these statements, you transform more than just words on a page; you transform the culture of your creative enterprise. Weaving mission, vision, and values into the fabric of your agency promises a clear direction, motivated employees, and a shareholder narrative that resonates with the world. Your M-V-V are not just esoteric concepts; they are the daily rituals of purpose that embody your brand and business. It's hard work but the most rewarding work you'll do.

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Building An Agency - ZoomMetrix
I’ve been running a marketing agency as a COO, and I’m writing articles for specific to building a marketing agency. By sharing my experience, I hope that my it will inspire ideas and help avoid mistakes for those business leaders interested in building an agency. Even if you’re not an agency owner, I hope you can find something interesting from my experience that can add value in building your career as a marketer or as an entrepreneur.
Building An Agency

Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.