Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Saturday, 19 January 2008

Mission statement or positioning statement?

A positioning statement is the basis for the organization’s tagline. My client asks why don’t we just use our mission statement, like Greenpeace does? What is the difference? We look at the Greenpeace website: “Greenpeace exists because this fragile Earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action. Donate! Sign-up! Get Involved!” Although it answers the question why Greenpeace exists, it also offers the public a value proposition: solutions, change, action. That is a different rationale and emotion compared to other conservation NGOs. And Greenpeace walks the talk as it invites an immediate response: click on donate, sign-up or get involved! As a customer you ‘buy’ Greenpeace because you share the same emotions and concerns. So it is a positioning statement.

A positioning statement is a concise articulation in two or three lines of the distinct value to the clients of the organization compared to competitors or other actors in the field. It is the basis for all messages and communication: the tagline, the elevator speech, the homepage, the brochures, power point presentations or a marketing campaign. A mission statement articulates the company’s purpose for the public and for the employees. It guides the present operations of the organization. A few clicks away we find it: “Greenpeace is a global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.” Although it is the basis for the positioning statement, it is different language!

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