Shark Tank’s Daymond John Has a Simple Trick for Sharpening a Fuzzy Brand Mission

When it comes to mission-driven companies, sometimes customers care more about the mission than the company itself — which is why a strong mission can carry a business a long way.

That’s according to Shark Tank investor and serial founder Daymond John, who learned this lesson after investing in cult favorite sock company Bombas, which donates clothing to homeless shelters for every pair of socks sold. Simply put, John realized that customers care about companies that give back and have a clear mission people feel good about.

It’s a lesson that factors prominently in John’s new course on entrepreneurship for kids ages 10 to 17. He shared with Inc. a process he teaches these young students and adult entrepreneurs alike about creating a mission statement that’s clear and easy to digest for customers.

The first step is reaching out to your customers to share the first draft of your mission statement for feedback. If you don’t have customers yet, John suggests querying family and friends who fit the target audience for your idea. Gather your small group, share your thoughts, and have your audience repeat back to you, in their own words, what they understand your mission to be. Pay special attention to words that get repeated. You want to make sure how you’re phrasing your mission truly communicates what you’re intending.

“There are gonna be so many different things to understand the identity and the DNA of your product, service, or brand,” he says. “You’ve got to come up with your two to five words of what you represent. Is there a social cause behind it? Is it price competitive? Is it luxury?”

He also suggests creating a separate value statement by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want to solve?
  • What do you love?
  • What would you do for free every single day and why do you do it?
  • What joy does your business bring?
  • What about your business will create unity?

Once you have your value statement and two to five words that your group agrees clearly communicate your values, center your brand messaging on those words, according to John. What makes sense to your customer will give your marketing the strongest impact.

And while the initial steps of building a business can be tough, John says to look at it as an opportunity to lay the framework for something great. “The beginning part of the story is the best part,” he says.

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