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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina

Building your 2021 marketing plan - step one: Remind yourself why

Updated: May 3

As we enter the final months of 2020, it is time to start planning for 2021. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be taking you step-by-step through building a marketing plan. Feel free to check out the full list of steps we'll be taking at the bottom of this blog, if there's one you want to skip to.

If you’re not sure if the “Why” of your business matters, before you start, spend a little time watching this video. If you’re already familiar with Simon Sinek’s work – this won’t be news to you!

The reason that I’m starting with this, even though it may not seem necessary when putting together a marketing plan, is because a solid brand strategy, including your mission, vision, and values, is the foundation of everything else you do. Sometimes these elements are just seen as a PR excercise so you have something profound-sounding to put on the website. If that's all you use them for, then they are pointless. However, if you get these right, then it becomes much easier to explain to everyone, internally and externally, what your company is for. Without that, you're just an also-ran.

If you already have your mission, vision, and values sorted, well done you. However, vision and mission statements should evolve as your business grows so use this as an opportunity to check yours and see if they still fit.

I have a quick worksheet for you to accompany this stage:

Crabapple Communications - Mission, Visi
Download • 150KB

Disclaimer: Developing a brand strategy is a whole marketing discipline and many consultants out there make a living from helping clients through this alone. So in order to make this digestible, in this blog I’m going to lay out the essentials of a brand strategy, how to know if yours is good, and some tips to make it better.

If you need to start from scratch or feel like yours needs a dramatic overhaul, get in touch and I can point you in the right direction.

Here we go!

Your Why, ie your mission

I like to start with the mission before the vision because sometimes it’s easier to think about the everyday first.

What is a mission statement?: A statement that captures what you’re trying to do and why, every day.

Why you need a mission statement: To be clear about why you’re doing this and help you stand out from the competition. It should define you uniquely as a company.

What a good mission statement looks like:

  • Rocky Mountain Elder Law: Give families peace of mind by creating and preserving their legacy.

  • Google: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

  • Tesla: Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

How to know if yours works:

  • Is it one line that brings together what you’re doing, who you’re doing it for and why?

  • Is it action-focused?

  • Is it unique or does it sound like all the others?

  • Does it inspire you or is it boring?

  • Is it something that you can strive to do every day?

How to think about it:

  • Think deeply about what you do – i.e. not just sell something – think about how what you do will help your audience.

  • Why is what you do valuable?

  • What is different about how you provide your service?

Your vision

What is a vision statement? Your vision should be something big and bold. It’s not necessarily something that you’re going to achieve and set metrics against. Dream big. Your vision statement should answer the question: What ultimate impact do I want my company to have on my community/industry/world if we succeed in our mission?

Why you need a vision statement: Your vision statement is your North star. Whereas your mission is what you live and breathe, your vision statement is what everyone should be aiming at.

What a good vision statement looks like:

A vision statement shouldn't be self-serving. I personally dislike vision statements that are something like "we will make our customers as happy as possible". It's not a vision, it should be something that every company does anyway! If your vision doesn't inspire you, it's pointless.

How to know if yours works:

  • Is it immediately clear?

  • Is it inspirational?

  • Is it a logical continuation of the mission? If you did the mission every day, would you eventually achieve your vision?

How to think about it:

  • Ask yourself, what problem are you solving for the greater good?

  • Think about your hopes and dreams for the company

  • Are you trying to change something about the world?

Your company values

What are your company values?: Your values are the behaviors within the company that are important, and those that the company exhibits to the world.

Why do company values matter?: Values matter for internal and external purposes. All of your employees should demonstrate these behaviors and they can be used to set expectations of new employees. Externally, people want to buy from companies whose values reflect their own so the clearer you can be about what you stand for, the easier it is for customers to identify with you.

What are examples of strong company values?

Many companies use just one word to express their values, but it can be helpful to write a line to each so that the value is qualified and it is easier to understand. One word like "Passion", is great, but what does it really mean?

Starbucks' values. I don't drink coffee, so I spend very little time at Starbucks, but they do have some nicely articulated values.

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.

  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.

  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.

How to know if yours work:

  • How many do you have? 5-7 is a good number. If you have many more than that, people won't remember what they are.

  • Will the values help you make decisions?

  • Are they distinct from each other? Saying the same thing five times doesn't cut it.

  • Do you actually practise these values and will you be able to uphold them come what may?

  • Will everyone be able to remember them easily?

How to think about it:

  • What do you stand for at work?

  • What are the most important behaviors among employees at work?

  • What do your customers believe you stand for?

If you didn’t download it before, here is the worksheet for you to do this section yourself.

Crabapple Communications - Mission, Visi
Download • 150KB

I hope that this has been helpful when revisiting your brand strategy. If you have any questions about this let me know and I'd be happy to discuss this with you.


To help you navigate round this series, here is the full list of blogs.

  1. Remind yourself why – Remind yourself why you’re in this game and what you're trying to do – this is at the heart of everything

  2. Who are you talking to? – Creating your audience personas/customer avatars is part of the foundational work of any business plan, but as your customers change over time, they need to be revisited and updated regularly to make sure that they’re still relevant.

  3. Set your business goals – Marketing is pointless if it doesn’t help you move your business forward so we need to establish what you want to achieve

  4. Aligning your marketing goals and overall strategy – How to set up solid marketing goals and strategies

  5. Reviewing your context - How to look at the trends going on around you so that you don't approach marketing in a tone-deaf way

  6. Channel strategies – Now we get into the fun bit of working out which marketing channels are best for you

  7. Creating content - You now know who you're talking to and how you're going to reach them, but what are you going to say to them?

  8. Managing through measurement – How do you know it’s working if you’re not measuring? We’ll look at how to set helpful metrics that help keep you on track, without bogging you down in admin

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