Mission Statement Writer
A mission is to a company what a baby is to a marriage.
Who Invented This Insane Idea?
If a mission statement edit is asked of me, and it’s a quick fix part of a larger project, I often won’t charge for it, because that would feel like picking up an old lady who’s fallen while crossing the road and asking for payment.
The worst is when my changes to a company’s mission statement start an internal discussion that morphs into a company-wide existential crisis. Clearly, people still take this shit seriously. I have tried to do the same.
Who is Paul Fenn?
I’ve probably written and edited as many mission statements as I’ve had showers. Some were so rotten when I first saw them, I needed a shower after wrestling them to the ground. Sad truth is, I’m asked to review and suggest edits to existing, already-on-the-website mission statements by dozens of companies annually. Sadder still, I’m such a word nerd I always find something to clarify, make shorter or gleefully destroy. Grammatical wreckage, mile-long cliché trains and jargon clots that could only have been created by HR people – the mission statement is where the world’s worst writing remains undead.
Why work with me?
Here’s my mission statement: Offer a quality of workmanship seldom seen anymore, reflecting the depth of briefing I demand of clients before starting a project. Deliver a wide spectrum of creative and tonality directions, ranging from corporate to clean, pithy to hard-hitting, funny to outright bonkers.
I perform deep, chasmic explorations — so you’ll never lack for creative ideas.
"The mission statement: Where the world’s worst writing remains undead. "
- Paul Fenn, Toronto Copywriter
Your mission statement should not trigger migraines
I can’t say writing mission statements has made me rich or happy. But the dream never dies.
Strangely, the old mission statement is as popular today as back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when it started appearing in corporate literature.
Pearls like this:
Our Mission: “To scout profitable growth opportunities in relationships, both internally and externally, in emerging, mission inclusive markets, and explore new paradigms and then filter, communicate and evangelize the findings.”
Evangelize the findings, boys! That’ll get ‘em out of bed.
A mission should be something people can read without risk to health, then act on with some degree of easily faked enthusiasm.
I still remember my firstborn
It was for a large Singaporean-Korean joint-venture that made cement on a vast scale. I’d been hired to edit their annual report, which had been written by the CEO. I’d been told his first language was not English.
The graphic design chief handed me the gig, asking, “Do you think twelve hundred bucks will be enough for this?”
I had no idea, but needed the money. I nodded, took the floppy disk with the text and fled.
Opening it up, I bore witness to a typographical and grammatical garage sale. But it took me all of two hours to edit to perfection.
I kept thinking I must’ve missed something. It was my first AR, and a new client, so I didn’t want to miss one typo.
Must’ve reread my rewrite 20 times
There was nothing left to fix. I was about to go to bed, when I looked at some sentences plunked mid-text that I’d not touched.
Above them, someone had typed in red, “Leave as is.” So I had. It was a 250-car pileup made of words, entitled Mission Statement, a phrase I’d never encountered.
I went to work. Was up half the night.
Next day, I took the edit back to the designer, told him everything I’d done to it. Couple days later, he called me back, asking me to come to his office.
Oh, oh. What have I done? I went in, sat in reception, waiting anxiously. He walked in all casual, saying, “Got another project for you.” Really? Phew.
After he briefed me, I asked how the previous job had gone over with the client. “Oh, they loved it. Especially what you did with their horrific mission statement.”
That was it. I was hooked. Been doing ‘em ever since. I’m a sick man.
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