How to Craft a Mission Statement for Your School That Doesn’t Suck
Zach Busekrus: [00:00:00] Hey folks. Welcome to Enrollify’s latest podcast series Brand Camp. Brand Camp is a special podcast series on why brand manifesto's matter in higher education and how to create one for your institution, your academic, or your program. This special series is brought to you by Unincorporated, a higher education agency committed to building engagement, growing enrollments, and solving major challenges facing universities, Schools and academies ran campus, hosted by me, Zach Busekrus from Enrollify,
And Ian Evanstar, founder and CEO of Unincorporated. This series will explore why higher ed needs better brand man. How to craft a mission statement for your school. That doesn't suck. Why vision statements are crucial for higher ed marketing and how to audit your brand values and augment your brand positioning accordingly.
You can learn more about the incredible work that [00:01:00] unincorporated is doing and explore their client case email@example.com. Or you can connect with Ian on LinkedIn via the link in the show notes below. All right, get ready. It's time to go to brand camp.
Zach Busekrus: We are ready. We are fully caffeinated and ready to dive into another. Epic episode of this special collaboration between RFI and unincorporated. So, Ian, today we're gonna be talking all about mission statements and the, uh, the title that we've come up with for this episode is how to craft a Mission Statement for Your School.
That doesn't suck. Before we kind of dive into the meat of the conversation, I, I feel like we should define mission statement. I know people probably have a rough sense of what that is, but like from your perspective, how, how do you, how do you define what a mission statement. Yeah,
Ian Evenstar: great place to start.
Start with definitions, Start with a, uh, foundation that we can build from. And I love the title, by the way, of the episode. Very academic , but no, we are, we're gonna, I say that in Jess, but we're gonna keep [00:02:00] it academic. We're gonna keep it palatable and practical for those listening. As a just quick reminder, this is part of the Brand Manifesto framework, which me and our team have developed at unincorporated, and you can always go and check that out if you feel compelled to after hearing this.
But what is a mission statement? Great question. Let's start there. Simply defined now there's tons of definitions. Yeah. This is the brand manifesto definition of a mission statement Simply defined. It describes your ideal day to day activit. These are your daily operations, if you will. So if you properly craft your mission statement, it's going to drive your program, college, university toward your vision statement.
Hmm. So you can think of your vision statement as if we're trying to summit a mountain, Right? It's that big, hairy, audacious goal. That's the what we're trying to achieve. The mission statement describes the. Kind of the [00:03:00] trajectory. It's the, it's the path or the activities that we will do day to day in order to keep us moving toward that summit.
Yeah. So if your vision statement is the, what you're trying to achieve, the mission statement is how you will achieve it. It will, it describes how you, your team, your faculty, your staff, your admin, how you want them to conduct themselves day to day. And here's why. And I know you have a why question coming up, but this is so that you can stay aligned.
You can make meaningful progress day to day and be moving together in the same direction toward your vision.
Zach Busekrus: I love it. Ian, um, quick follow up question there before we get into some of the, of the whys. How granular should people get with developing? Their mission statements, Meaning if I'm a faculty member and I oversee three or four programs, right, in the, in the school of business, should I have a mission statement for my three or four programs, or is that, is that too niche?
Should just the business school have, have a mission [00:04:00] statement? Should the mission statement for the business school be identical to that of the, the institution? How, how do you think about like whether or. You should develop a mission statement given sort of like your immediate area of oversight, if that makes sense.
A lot of
Ian Evenstar: academic units, they're not operating from a centralized mission. Yeah. So what do you do in that case? Well, you look at, hopefully your university leadership has def crafted a mission statement or maybe combined mission and vision together, and they have like a unify. Vision of what we're trying to achieve and this is how we're gonna do it at the institutional level.
And so then all the way down to the academic unit and even within the academic unit, that might be even like the admissions department, you know, or the admissions team within that academic unit, you can craft mi your mission that aligns, that's a subset of that institutional mission. So I think you can go from the 30,000 foot view.
At the [00:05:00] institutional level all the way down to boots on the ground. With your team, with your department, with your academic unit, and if you align your mission for that team to the institutional mission, then that's a great way to make sure that, again, everyone's aligned, everyone's moving toward the same, similar vision and in it's actionable and describes, you know, in more detail or that granular detail of.
you actually want your team to conduct themselves day
Zach Busekrus: to day. I love how you keep using the word actionable, Ian. Cuz I do feel like mission statements generally, at least the ones that I like, I've seen seem, seem like they're almost confused with the vision statement, Right? That they're almost a little too lofty.
Um, and I like how you keep reiterating the importance of whatever this statement is, uh, that, that it be something that is truly actionable, right? Something that at any point in time folks will be able to measure, hey, are. Are we making progress towards our mission or aren't we right in order for that measurement to happen?
It, it has to be, it has to be something that's actionable. So, on, on that note, like what are [00:06:00] some, what are some of the more like non-obvious reasons for why mission statements matter? I think at, at, at a high level, everyone agrees. Yeah, you should have a mission statement. That, that, that sounds, that sounds reasonable, right?
Yeah. But what are, what are some maybe of the, the lesser thought about reasons for, for why these statements are so important.
Ian Evenstar: Absolutely. And just to mirror back what you said, you're right on the money with the fact that mission statements do need to be actionable. Think about when you Google how to change a flat tire on your bicycle, how to.
Prepare a five course meal for your in-laws, right? , whether you're doing that in Google or YouTube, it's how to, It's practical, it's step by step. It is actionable. So that's a great filter that you've called out. Mission statements need to describe how to conduct yourself, and for that reason, they're actionable.
So going back to your question though, like what are some of the non obvious reasons why we would want this? Well, as I mentioned, it's gonna set direct. For, you know, kind of the path that you're [00:07:00] gonna take with your team and your institution. Yep. But the non obvious reasons within that is that with the direction that you're setting, you're also setting priority and focus for everyone within the organization.
So I think we, you know, working within higher education, maybe as an agency or in house, You are just bombarded with different priorities, different initiatives, right? You're being, your focus and your energy is being pulled in so many different directions. So a mission statement can help your team and also leadership set priority and focus for everyone within the organization.
That's like a benefit or an outcome that's not obvious because of that clear direction, because you have priority and focus. There will be these extreme circumstances like covid, right? These key challenges that are gonna make it difficult to do your ideal habit of how to proceed toward your vision. And so a mission statement can [00:08:00] also give the direction and the clarity to work through those challenges.
Yeah, so take for example, Yale's mission statement. I'm paraphrasing. Yale's mission statement says, we're gonna carry out our mission through the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. So during Covid major challenge facing all universities, senior leadership can walk into that room with that mission state.
And ask their team, Look, we need to move forward. How are we going to do this? How are we going to continue to provide a free exchange of ideas during the pandemic? It's gonna take everyone's attention off of the pandemic. Oh my gosh, sky is falling. And galvanize the team around this how to question, how do we provide a free exchange of ideas during the pandemic?
So it's gonna get you [00:09:00] through those tough times. It's gonna set priority and focus, and those are some non obvious things that a mission statement will do for
Zach Busekrus: you. So well said. And what I'm just thinking about, Ian, as you're, as you're talking, is how, is, how important it is to. Think very critically about what your mission statement is because you also don't wanna be held accountable to things that like you don't actually believe.
Right. Like, and or, and or priorities that, that aren't, that aren't, that are more ideal than, than actual priorities. Right. And so I think, yeah, some of the, the best mission statements, um, I would imagine are those that are. That are not just, you know, specific, not just actionable, but also like truly aligned with direction around where the organization, where the institution, where the particular program is trying to go.
And if it's not right, you sure as hell better revisit that asap. Because again, if this is meant to be some accountability, uh, you know, it, it's meant to act as, um, some way to hold us accountable and or to enforce some, some direction, some [00:10:00] focus. Sures heck better be aligned appropriately and the various stakeholders, uh, better, uh, better be bought in.
Ian Evenstar: another jewel here in terms of non obvious I we're, We will have an episode dedicated to values, which will touch on this, but I think you've touched on it here as well, which is you're absolutely right. If the ideal day to day habits or operations of your institution are not aligned with your.
Or if you're a team member or a leader within an institution and you can't, and you're not bought in to the how we will proceed and how we will conduct ourselves. It's not a good fit. So that in itself is going to kind of determine or design the culture of the students. You, you bring in the track, it's going to design and sort of predict the type of faculty that you bring in, the type of leadership.
So it it, I guess a non obvious thing, just to underscore it again, is it's going to help you really craft the [00:11:00] culture. We hear a lot about culture, but it will help you craft the culture. Of that organization as an outcome because it does act as a filtering mechanism. Yeah.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. No, so, so well said there.
And I, I feel like what we're kind of dancing around here is this, is this notion that there is something, not necessarily inherently broken, but something. Especially challenging when it comes to developing mission statements. And I think generally speaking, and again, like, you know, you should always be skeptical of generalities, but like they're, you know, mission statements do tend to be somewhat vague, right?
They, they tend to not be super specific. They tend to not be quite actionable. If you ask, you know, a bunch of people in your organization, Hey, what is our mission state? You might get completely different answers or, or no answer at all, right? Not, and that's, and that's, and that's a significant problem, right?
If again, this is meant to be the direction that the organization or the institution is, is progressing in. So what are some of the reasons you think mission statements tend to be super vague? [00:12:00]
Ian Evenstar: Yeah. Well, we've hit a couple already, um, or alluded to a few, and we can move quickly through this because maybe better to, to look at the how to do a mission statement correctly.
But oftentimes you approach your mission statement like designed by committee, right? You get all your key stake stakeholders in a room, and you have something very succinct, something very clear, something very direct. Inevitably, people will be like, Oh, I don't like this word. Or this word's actually better.
And it just starts to get watered down because of this design by committee. Yeah, and this applies to your value statement and also your vision statement, so just be careful of that, generally speaking, and all things brand manifesto. Now the other thing that we're trying to address and why we've kind of bought into this, this series is.
There are a lot of frameworks out there. What is a mission statement? What is a vision statement? So because of those confusing frameworks. Hmm. [00:13:00] A common one again is what's the difference between a vision and mission statement? This is gonna create a lot of ambiguity when it comes to crafting a mission statement.
So this is why they become vague. They become a little bit like a vision, a little bit like a mission. Yeah. They have values or principles built in, and this is why, this is the exact reason why. I have created the brand manifesto framework to give that clarity, to give that straightforward, this is a framework you can follow, and so because they get confused or watered down, they become very difficult to remember.
And to make matters worse, they don't get repeated or folded into your regular internal communications that your, that leadership is doing with their teams. You know, they get shelved, they get put on like platitudes, like, you know, etched in a, in a stone sculpture somewhere in the center of campus. Or they start collecting digital dust on your, on your website, right?
Yeah. Like they just get shelved on these platitudes and they don't get repeated and they're vague and they're confus. [00:14:00] They're impossible to remember because of that.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah, yeah. No, that's, that's super interesting and, and spot on. And I also feel like, what, what's maybe happened in recent years and you, you would know better than me here, but I also feel like the expectation of brand being something that.
Is more actionable and is more measurable and is more important, has just been elevated. So this, this notion that like, your brand should be accessible, people, you know, your, your brand experience really matters, right? It's not just about, uh, how it, uh, how it looks. It's also about how it feels when you walk onto campus.
And I think more so than ever before, at least in, in higher education, this notion is being taken really seriously. And. I think that while mission statements maybe historically or traditionally have sort of been slapped together with a group of faculty in a room arguing over particular words, I do feel like we've, we've progressed to a point where there's at least this awareness that no, no, no, these things do really, really matter.
They're incredibly important and they need to be taken seriously. So, so, so like, On that [00:15:00] note. Right. Let's, let's kind of dive into it. Like what, how should mission statements be developed? You, you mentioned a quick, uh, you made a quick point earlier about how you wanna have the right people in the room, but you don't necessarily want everybody in the room.
Uh, how should folks think about, um, developing a, a mission statement at the institutional level and or at the, at the program level? Uh, take it in whatever direction you, you so desire. And maybe actually to kick us off, it might even be helpful to hear from you. What are some really good examples of mission statements, and then let's unpack like how one might, um, how one might put one into action.
Ian Evenstar: Yeah. Well, I agree. I, I think there's a trend in the right direction in terms of like seeing brand manifesto or branding in general as something of value to the institution. I've had that direct experience with key stakeholders. Telling me, you know, to almost to nauseam that they're not a brand, right?
And [00:16:00] so don't refer to them as a brand. And the brand manifesto is crucial in terms of setting that foundation, that position of who you are, why you matter, what you're trying to achieve. And then of course there's the application. So that's how you're showing up to your external audience, and that's more the brand application.
Yeah. So yes. Good. Good thing for all of us that institutions are seeing the value in this work because it's work on self, right? Like I can tell you it's important to eat healthy and go to the gym, but if you don't believe it for yourself, you're not going to do that. Work on self. Sure. So at the, the core of it, if you don't value work on self, you're never going to do this.
Now who should be in the room? Let's say you're crafting a new mission statement or revisiting one that exists maybe for a program or possibly a new academic unit that the college is, is launching. That could be a dean. It could be a provost, whoever has really the kind of the core vision in mind [00:17:00] and also has that, I think institutional visibility.
You have to be aligned, right? What we were saying before, you need that 30,000 foot view, but then all the way down to maybe your college or to your program. So whoever's responsible for starting that new program or that new school, that is the person who really needs to drive the conversation. Sure. And be sort of the, you know, buck stops here.
Decision maker include a few key stakeholders, trusted advisors. , but make sure it doesn't turn into this design by committee because it will be a filtering mechanism. Again, as we've talked about, where your, you and your core, you know, group of trusted advisors define the vision, mission, and values for a program.
And then people are either gonna buy in or they're not. And that's gonna filter out some of the changes, organizational changes that you might need to make. In terms of what makes a good mission statement, So we've talked about, you know, who needs to be in the room and who [00:18:00] needs to, to start in terms of what makes a good mission statement, the number one filter needs to be, does it describe how we will conduct ourself day to day?
Right? So if we're starting from scratch, we need to always be filtering whatever we come up with with that filter. Is this how we want to conduct ourself day to. In order to achieve our mi our vision. So questions kind of that, that percolate. And this could be prompts for a brainstorm. This could be prompts or writing prompt if you're looking at a blank screen, you know, in a, in a Google doc.
But what are the ideal habits for your leadership? And what are those ideal day to day habits for your team? Right? And if we were to do, say three things, if we could only do three things every day when we clock in clock. What would those three things be? Hmm? What would we build? What would we be doing?
What should we be doing? And in a perfect world, how do you want your team? Maybe if you're rewriting a mission statement [00:19:00] and you see some challenges and you, you see some inefficiencies happening, ask yourself, Okay, how do I want my team to be performing? How do I want my team to be acting? How do I want them to conduct themselves day to day?
And if. Really reflect and drum up answers to those key questions. You're going to arrive at a mission statement that I say adds value, and that's an acronym for A Needs to Be Authentic. So true to yourself, true to your vision, true to the brand. It needs to be direct. Hmm. So straightforward has to be easy enough to remember and understand.
It needs to be determined. That is like, it has to have a focus, a purpose, and a priority. It has to be simple, simple enough, and clear. That people can recall on a whim. So that's your litmus test. Once you've gone through these questions, put the right people in the room and drafted a few mission statement variations, is it authentic, direct determined, [00:20:00] and simple?
Zach Busekrus: Ah, I. I love that. I I've never heard that before. Ian, is that a, is that an Ian original? That's an i e original. I love it. An i e original. That's great, man. That's, that's wonderful. Um, thank you. On that note, just quick follow up question. I feel like there, when I hear people talk about this stuff, there tends to be folks who talk about mission statements as primarily being like, For the internal community, right?
Like the internal group of people to act as, as what you've alluded to already, kind of this, this, uh, this vehicle through which we can kind of focus our time, our energy attention. Right. That when a new opportunity comes, I think about like business, right? And it's like when a new opportunity comes in the door, it's like, and it's kind of this, this client is maybe a little bit outside your wheelhouse.
I think one of the most important questions folks ask that I hear asking is like, Hey, how does this align with our mission? Right? Like, does, does this, does this make sense? But, you know, I also hear folks talk a little about, a lot about how mission statements are primarily outward statements. It's like how you want to be perceived, [00:21:00] right?
Mm-hmm. , e even if it's, even if it's a little bit, uh, disingenuous, by, you know, uh, with respect to how you actually act for, from your perspective. I'm sure it's like, Well, it matters for both, but like where, how do you kind Typical consulting answer, right? Well, it depends. Well, it depends. Yeah. But how, how do you think about that tension and like from, from your perspective, like who is it?
Who is the mission statement? Like primarily for brand
Ian Evenstar: Manifesto is primarily for your internal audience. It is allowing you as a leader, as a founder, as a dean, as a provost, As an entrepreneur, right? If for those maybe outside of higher ed or in higher ed thinking they may wanna spin up their own LMS someday, it gives you the power to manifest inward to outward, okay?
So that this is why we do brand manifesto, and it's true if someone is to stumble upon your. Like an unincorporated, You know, we tell our clients when they ask us, you know, Well, what [00:22:00] makes you different? Or, you know, how do you conduct yourself? Or if I'm consulting with, with someone, I, I'll share our internal brand manifesto.
But ideally, this is for your internal team because everything's gonna emanate outward from there.
Zach Busekrus: Hey, that was a, that was a great, uh, a great succinct answer once again. Uh, I was waiting for the butt, you know, but, uh, , it didn't go. I
Ian Evenstar: like it. No, I, I have to make sure I'm adding value, right? Authentic, direct, simple enough to understand.
Zach Busekrus: Uh, Ian, I, I wish I could just like talk to you all day throughout the day so you could be like, Zach, is that email that you're about to send or Zach is, I can't afford to talk
Ian Evenstar: to you every, all day long. Come on.
Zach Busekrus: Uh, this is great. And so, so you talked about sort of starting a mission statement from scratch.
Most folks who are tuning into this conversation. Probably have some semblance of an admission statement that already exists. Right. Certainly at the institutional level, you know, probably also at their college level, maybe even at their program level, but Right. They might, as they're tuning in to, to this chat, they might be thinking, Oh gosh.
Well, like I, I [00:23:00] kind of, you know, knew what it was maybe three years ago, but I, I. I, I couldn't actually tell you exactly what it means. It has something to do with, you know, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But other than that, I couldn't tell you much. So for folks that ha know that they have something in place, um, and might want to, maybe they're in a leadership position and they do have the authority to kind of.
Shake things up a little bit, give it a, give it a good audit, and or they want to compel their leadership to, to think twice about this. Um, Sure. And, and maybe, maybe revisit it or, and or update their mission statement. What, how, how do you recommend kind of like conducting, like an audit of your, of your current mission statement?
Any sort of pro tips on, on how to do that well,
Ian Evenstar: yeah. So pro tip number one, get everyone in a room. Maybe it's a big, you know, lecture hall and ask people what's, what's our. You're gonna hear crickets, right? Nine outta 10 times. No one's gonna raise their hand. It's gonna be like trying to teach your students, right?
Who, [00:24:00] who wants to venture an answer here? That's gonna be your immediate spot check. Yeah. So if you're questioning, you know, if, if you're a, again, a vice provost or some level of senior leadership, and you're questioning that your team or your academic units aren't aligned around a central. Or maybe you haven't seen the progress toward your vision year over year, or there's these challenges like dwindling enrollment numbers or maybe your best fit students aren't, you know, knocking on the application door anymore.
Yeah. Maybe you're losing faculty or you know, again, best fit students to some of your competitors. And you're start, you're starting to get a sense of like, we're not on task here. We're not on our on mission. Get everyone in a room and just spot check it real quick or send out a survey if you don't wanna stand in front of people and ask that question cuz it's gonna be that moment of truth.
What's our mission? You're gonna get various answers. You're likely get none at all . And if you, if you have some answers, [00:25:00] then I think a good follow up question to that might be, and maybe this is a smaller group, but going to each of the heads of state, you know, around the table who, whoever has a seat at the table, how have you supported the mission?
What activities have you done in the last year that have supported, okay, now we, maybe you put it up on the board and you say, Okay, this is, this is actually our mission statement. Can you tell me how we've supported this? And if we use, uh, University of of Rochester? I think they have a great mission statement.
Learn, discover, heal, and create. I'm paraphrasing here. It's a little longer, but it's still very. I can stand in front of a room with the leadership at the University of Rochester and ask them, How have you learned this year? How have you discovered? How have your classes discovered? What research, how have you healed day to day?
How have you healed one another? Right. Staff to staff. [00:26:00] Yeah. Just gimme some, some anecdotes and if people can't drum up experiences or examples. Of ways they've supported this mission of learning, healing, discovering, and creating. Chances are you need to either, you know, remind them what the mission statement is, or take pen to pad and and revisit it.
Now, leadership has the responsibility to filter their operations through this lens. So you can ask your team and you can ask your audience, and you can ask leadership outward, but you can also do that introspection as. If I'm, again, a dean, I might ask myself, How have I conducted, How have I supported the mission of learning, discovering, healing, and creating?
And if you yourself, as the person in charge, can't identify operations or come up with examples of how you've supported the mission, again, that is a very, very strong pro tip indication [00:27:00] that you're not on mission and your mission should.
Zach Busekrus: So, so fantastic. And I, I, I love this. I'm picturing like the, the room where the question is asked and it's, and then it's crickets and then the whiteboard when it's all this like, you know, it's a come to Jesus meeting of like, uhoh.
Uh, I don't know. I don't know how I learned. I don't know how I healed. Um, you know, but, but again, that's,
Ian Evenstar: but then the converse of. Could be super inspiring. Yeah. Right. Let's say a, after you have that aha epiphany moment, and then you redrafted, you remind people, you put it back up, and then people know, Oh, this is how I'm supposed to act day to day.
I'm supposed to learn day to day. I'm supposed to heal day to day. I'm supposed to create day to day. Yeah. This is what my sp, my students are expected to do. Then all of a sudden that whiteboard fills up like wildfire. Yeah. And then you're just moving. Toward that vision, even stronger it can be so inspirational gives so, so much clarity and purpose and prioritization and focus like wow.
Zach Busekrus: [00:28:00] Yeah. Yeah. Oh gosh. I, I, I feel the energy. It's great. I'm gonna have to go work on my own, uh, mission statement after this chat. But, um, but on, on, on that note, uh, Ian, I think one of the things I'd like a little clarity on is we talk a lot about in marketing and really kind of throughout enroll offi, the importance of, you know, positioning statements.
And we often, like, you know, uh, rip a little bit on schools that. Seemingly sim positioning statements that are like, pretty much identical to the school, down the streets positioning statement. Right. And from what you're, from what I hear you saying, um, mission statements don't necessarily have to be your differentiator, right?
As, as a college or as a university or as a program. Uh, it, it's probably a little, it's a little broader than that. Um, But I guess I, I really wanna ask you a question. How, how do you think about, like, do mission statements need to be like truly unique to a college or university in the same way that we would argue that, like, positioning [00:29:00] statements do?
Right? How do you sort of think about like the relationship between, uh, whether or not mission statements need to be truly unique to your respective, uh, place of, place of, uh, of work? Because, you know, I can think about, you know, learning and discovering right and healing. Something that everyone should be doing, Like it's very broad, like that could be interpreted in a zillion different ways.
So how, how do you think through that tension?
Ian Evenstar: So in that, in that example, it's true many universities could make that their mission statement. But it's unique to you because there's probably many universities that don't prioritize those specific things. Hmm. So I, I think that it consulting answer, I think it could be both, right?
It could be something that's near and dear and super unique to you. This is not to be confused with the value proposition, right? Your core differentiator, which is more how you communicate the difference between your university to another, right? Yeah. That's more external communications. [00:30:00] Internally, the mission statement might be very similar.
It's again, if we were just to look at this on the individual level, you and I may say like, I have a vision of being a really healthy person. Yep. And for that reason, my day to day is to eat healthy. Right? No sugar, no salt, no fatty foods. You and I share that mission, but we're, we're, we're different individuals, but we have a shared mission, even though maybe our path.
Are are slightly different. So I, I think they can be more, um, cross pollinated. They're, they're probably more likely to show up as a general Yeah. They're more, they're more likely to be shared Yeah. Collectively across your, you know, kind of your competitive landscape than say your value propositions are that.
I have come across a few mission statements that are very distinct and specific and work as that filtering mechanism that we talked about before. Georgetown, [00:31:00] for example, uh, is a good example. Their mission statement is, and again I'm paraphrasing a little bit here to for the emphasis, but remain committed to the Jesuit traditions.
Now there are very few universities that will put that in front of their leadership team and say, How have we stayed Committ? To the Jesuit traditions. Hmm. That's not as widely or as generalized as say, you know, learn, create, discover. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Doesn't mean that either one is more effective or not, because it's the how to proceed, but they can be in, in specific cases, they can be unique to, to who you are.
All of this gets down to the, to the core of what you value. Yeah. And we're gonna do a whole episode on your values, but that is at the center of it. It's the, you know, the true fundamental reasons of who you are as an institution. So if your values then become the [00:32:00] how you'll proceed and the how is supposed to achieve what you want to achieve.
You collectively may have similar values to other institutions, and because of that, your mission statement will also be similar.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. I, I love the, uh, healthy eating example and or just the, the commitment to health example that actually like just cleared up a ton in, in my own head, right. Is like you and I can both.
Commit, as you said, to, to being healthy, to not eating sugar, to, you know, avoiding other bad food for you. We can al, we can also commit to working out, but the, the workouts that we do might be very different even within eating healthy, right? The, the foods that we consume might be different. And exactly. I might load up on protein.
You might be a, you know, a a, a vegan, Right? And, and you one could argue that you're, you're, we're both, we're both kind of fulfilling that promise, Right? We're fulfilling that commitment and yet we're, we're taking a, a wildly different approach to it. Um, but, uh, so, so, so that, that makes a ton of sense to me.
And, and I, and I love that. And I also love how you [00:33:00] keep reiterating the, the importance of a mission statement, first and foremost, needing to be adopted at home. And I feel like mm-hmm. , that, that. and at home, you know, meaning around the, around the, around the table with, with faculty and staff alike. Um, and I think there too often, uh, marketing teams get caught up in like trying to, they've worked with a consultant, maybe, maybe like unincorporated, they've come up with like this new mission statement and or a, a new vision statement, a new value proposition, whatever it might be.
And they do a really poor job at getting, uh, internal adoption right. And I feel like. You can only talk to so many people as a higher education marketer at a respective college or university, like your network only exists. It's only so big. Right. Even as the cmo, right? Yeah. If, if you don't do an effective job at helping bring other people along for this journey and communicating very clearly [00:34:00] what these things are and why they matter.
That, that adoption rate is, is, is not going to be fast enough to have a meaningful or measurable impact in a relatively short period of time. Right? A lot That's true. Anytime people go. Or oftentimes when people go through a rebrand or they do some, some brand audit, right? They develop a new brand, they roll it out over the course of, you know, three or four years around that three year mark, right?
Like, leadership really does want some sense of measurement. Like, Hey, did it work? Mm-hmm. , like, did all this, this in money in time that we spent? Like, what was the return on that? Right? Um, and exactly. And if at the, you know, three years there's, there's not, there's not clarity on that, then, you know, difficult conversations happen anyways, all this is to say is, I really hope, and I'm glad that you keep saying this, that one of our job as, as marketers or people that are doing this work within the context of higher education, is first and foremost to get adoption from our community and get buy in from our community before we expect external [00:35:00] constituencies to, to buy into, to our belief system.
Ian Evenstar: Absolutely. Yeah. There's that saying like, what gets measured gets improved. Mm. So you can find ways within your mission statement to quantify it. You know, heal, right. We will heal every day. Well quantify that. Like what? What is the measurement, Unique measurement of healing. And treat it as a data point.
Right now, it's gonna take some creativity and some innovation, right? Cause it's not website visitors, you know, heads on pillows or butts and seeds as we like to say. But you can, and that's I think where, where as a, as a leader and maybe where some consultancy helps is you can put definitive metrics around these somewhat qualitative things.
Go using our health example. It, we are gonna measure maybe the outcome of our blood pressure. Yeah. Or our weight loss. Right. Or the, the, the [00:36:00] number of times we have an unhealthy thought, you know, like there, there are ways to measure this so that you can keep people accountable and can ensure that you're actually driving toward the vision.
The other thing that in terms of adoption that's really important is you have to not only communicate the. and ask people, you know, what do you plan to do? How? How will you execute against this? What are some initiatives within your department come back, document those initiatives within your department that support this mission.
Yeah, so you can make it collaborative, you can measure it, right? So you're tracking this to making sure that we're hitting our goals, but then you also as a leader need to be reminding people that the reason why we're doing these ideal habits day to day. Is because of what we're trying to achieve. Yeah.
Yeah. Our vision. Yeah. And the vision is the purpose. It's that big, hairy, lofty goal that's just outta reach. It scares us a little bit. Right? Cause it's like, will we ever achieve it? Hopefully not , right? Cause it has to be just a little [00:37:00] bit outta reach. But that's the higher purpose of. Your mission statement.
So connecting those dots is, is also very important in terms of getting adoption and buy in and, and keeping the ship aligned.
Zach Busekrus: This is awesome, Ian. I, uh, as always, it's, it's always just so fun to talk to you. Uh, you're so full of wisdom and insight here. Um, and I, um, You know, I'd be remiss if I didn't invite you to share a little bit about where folks could learn more about this stuff.
Um, I know that you've got a plethora of resources on unincorporated website, but if folks wanna just kind of pick your brain and or, um, learn a little bit more about how you've developed these frameworks and or even just access them in a little bit more of a concrete fashion, what's the best way for them to do.
Ian Evenstar: Yeah, well thank you for that opportunity and a little space here to not only plug unincorporated.com/brand manifesto. So if you want to try to take this work on yourself and with your team, we've developed an [00:38:00] entire workbook and a methodology that you can follow and listen to these podcast episodes to kind of give additional context cuz you can only learn so much from the workbook.
But if you want to guide and you wanna reach out, ian unincorporated dot. Please reach out. I'm more than happy to schedule a 15 minute consult. Just spot check your mission statement, maybe clarify some open questions that you might have. I'm also launching a brand manifesto cohort. Nice. Coming up. Uh, next semester it's on Maven.
It's a little bit of a competitor, but not much. Um, so if someone actually wants to learn synchronously with me as a lead instructor to help guide them through the brand manifesto framework, that course is also available.
Zach Busekrus: Wonderful. And we will link to everything that Ian just mentioned in the show notes below.
So if you're listening to this conversation and you wanna connect with Ian, you wanna learn a little bit more about unincorporated, you wanna learn about his upcoming cohort, just scroll on down and all the links will be, uh, in the show notes below. Ian, as always, thank you [00:39:00] so much, sir for your time and, uh, looking forward to our, uh, forthcoming chats.
Ian Evenstar: Thank you.
Zach Busekrus: Hey, Zach here from Enrollify. If you like this podcast, chances are you'll like other Enrollify shows too. Our podcast network is growing by the month and we've got a plethora marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories. Ideas and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better, higher ed professional.
Our shows feature a selection of the industry's best as your hosts Learn from Mickey baines, Jeremy Tiers, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jamie Gleason, and many, many more. You can learn more about the Enrollify Podcast network at podcast.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea.Find yours at podcasts.enrollify.org [00:40:00]
About the Episode
The what's what...
On episode two of Brand Camp, Zach and Ian get into the nitty gritty of how to create and what makes a killer mission statement.
Takeaways from this episode include:
- Defining the purpose of a mission statements
- What makes a great mission statement (and a bad one)
- How to write a mission statement from scratch that doesn't suck
- How to audit your mission statement and decide if it needs to be improved
- Who should be involved when crafting a mission statement
- And much more!
About the Series:
Brand Camp is made streamable by UNINCORPORATED - a higher education agency committed to building engagement, growing enrollments, and solving major challenges facing universities, schools, and academies.
Want to learn more about brand manifestos? Check out UNINCORPORATED's FREE Brand Manifesto Workbook!
Brand Camp is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Baines, Jeremy Teirs, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jaime Gleason and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
Zach is the Founder of Enrollify. He thoroughly enjoys building new brands, developing and executing content marketing strategies, and hosting podcasts. When he's not working on Enrollify, he enjoys discussing life's quandaries over coffee (or a good bourbon) with friends, building Sponstayneous (his travel brand side hustle), trying out new HIIT workouts, and adventuring across the globe with his wife!
Ian Evenstar is not only one of the most experienced brand consultants and creative directors in California, he is also the founder and CEO of the UNINCORPORATED agency. He serves as the agency's creative strategic director, where he implements his extensive experience in branding, marketing, and design. Ian has over two decades of experience helping business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams grow their brands, launch products and services, and increase the company’s profitability. He is a seasoned director who has led the development of global brand initiatives, national advertising campaigns, and international marketing strategies.
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A Higher Education Agency
UNINCORPORATED (UN) is a higher education agency committed to building awareness, growing enrollment, and launching programs for universities. They believe that education is the primary means of ascension in society, so they use their expertise to help colleges and universities recruit and train the next generation. They work closely with deans, administrators, and faculty who are worried about their programs’ success and need additional expertise to remain relevant and appeal to their stakeholders. UNINCORPORATED's mission is to help colleges and universities enhance their programs by providing strategic direction and expertise in branding, marketing, and design.learn more
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