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Do You Have a Mission Statement? Or a Mission Culture?

Posted By Wes Sovis, Manager of Marketing and Business Development, VP Demand Creation Services, Friday, December 5, 2014
Updated: Friday, November 14, 2014

One task we routinely help our clients with is re-writing a mission statement. We have expert copywriters with advanced degrees in their field with over 50 years of combined experience in writing and testing copy. When a company asks us to help write a revised mission statement, we get a serious look on our faces. Writing a mission statement is easy - anyone with a pen or computer could give you few lines of inspirational copy in less than five minutes. But a mission statement is not just copy - it’s an ambitious statement about a company or association’s culture and interaction with its members or customers.

C-level executives and marketing managers (especially) usually are in the school of thought that the company’s logo or mission statement is the face of the company or association - the public’s perception is based on the creativity of the logo and the inspiring copy in the mission statement. But a logo is just a symbol for brand awareness purposes and a mission is just a bunch of words if you don’t deliver on the promise conveyed.

Consider the following:

“Our mission is to build unrivaled partnerships with and value for our clients, through knowledge, creativity, and dedication of our people, leading to superior results from our shareholders.”* What an admirable mission statement, right? The problem is that it was clearly just a bunch of words to the leadership and employees - this was Lehman Brothers’ mission statement until they went bankrupt in 2008 amid allegations of fraud and unethical business practices.

Ask any employee at your organization to recite the mission statement. If they can’t recite it, how likely is it that you’re succeeding in living up to the ambitious goals of the mission? Probably not happening. Your organization’s culture isn’t just internal either - if your employees lack enthusiasm for their cause, you can be sure your members or customers will notice when things aren’t quite right within the organization through interactions and dealing with the staff.

So when we are asked to write a mission statement for a partner, it’s not something we just throw together. We ask the questions, “Can you live up to the expectations of this mission? What will you do to promote the goals of the mission to staff and your clients?” These are questions everyone at the company should be asking themselves on a daily basis. You should be living your mission every day in everything you do.

*Shamelessly taken from How Google Works pg. 86. Read this book. Seriously.


Wes Sovis

Marketing Manager and Business Development

VP Demand Creation Services


Tags:  culture  google  mission statement 

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What is Search Engine Optimization?

Posted By Kyle Noland, Software Engineer, FIRM, Inc. , Friday, November 14, 2014
Updated: Friday, November 7, 2014

Have you ever noticed that when searching for your association or perhaps another company on a search engine such as Google that it quite possibly is the first result on the page? Many search engines have a way of determining which websites are displayed first when you search for a specific term, such as a company name. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is the process of manipulating website elements and content in order to raise the position of a website in search engine results such as on Google or Bing.

There are two types of search result listings – organic and paid. Paid listings require a special fee to be paid to the search engine company for heightened results in their listings. You may see this on Google as “Sponsored Links”, which are usually the first two or three links on a page. More information on this can be found at  Obtaining higher organic listings are what SEO usually focuses on as it requires no payment to the search engine provider. Research by Thorsten Joachims, Laura Granka, Bing Pan, Helene Hembrooke, and Geri Gay found that approximately 80% of the clicks on any search engine listing page were for the sites listed in the first three spots. A website listed in the first few spots on a search engine is definitely a very valuable asset! Some companies will pay thousands upon thousands of dollars a year for SEO just to reach or maintain that position on a page.

In my opinion, the most important steps to search engine optimization are – keywords, indexing, and site optimization. Keywords are words, or phrases that people might use to search for your site on a search engine. As an example, if your site was related to pets – someone may search for dog, cat, bird, animal, etc. and you may want your site to show in the search result listings. Google has a great tool for planning keywords and more information is available here: Indexing is the ability to have search engine bots crawl your website and hopefully giving your page a high rank, which corresponds to higher result listings on the search engine. It doesn’t matter how many websites you link to, the main idea behind indexing is to have other high ranking sites link to your site, which will then boost your own rank. How can one do this? The use of blogs, RSS feeds, forums, or wikis may help you to have new and interesting content that others can link to. This is also a good idea because search engine bots tend to visit sites with fresh content more often that website pages that are not newly updated. Finally, site optimizations can be made to perform better at SEO. Having things such as a Title, Description, and Keyword meta-tag on each webpage help the search engine bots to more accurately get an idea of what content is on your website which may translate to heightened rankings. Making your website mobile-friendly, although not necessarily translating to a higher page rank on a search engine, may also help to attract more users to your website and keep them there for a longer period of time. I think it’s also worth noting that although your website can be promoted online through blogs and social media, they can also be promoted offline through other sorts of media such as print. It doesn’t matter where a person hears about your website, as long as they go to it they may end up posting a link to your website on theirs!

According to a Moz industry survey, Analytics, Content Marketing, and Keyword Research are the Top 3 marketing activities in the industry. If you’re not doing any Analytics or SEO, there is no better time to start than now!

In closing, I wanted to add a link to an image I found online titled “The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors”. I think this chart does a fantastic job of showing what is important for SEO. It can be found here: This post is only the start of what you could do with SEO and I am hopeful that you and your association are able to benefit from this knowledge.


At the ISAE October Roundtable, I spoke about Analytics and a little on SEO. In an effort to get more of this information out to each of you here is a list of interesting website links that may help you to achieve a better online presence for your association:










"2014 Industry Survey." Moz. Web. 7 Nov. 2014. .

Joachims, Thorsten, Laura Granka, Bing Pan, Helene Hembrooke, and Geri Gay. "Accurately Interpreting Clickthrough Data as Implicit Feedback." Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (2005). Web. 7 Nov. 2014. .

Tags:  browser  engine  google  optimization  search  seo  technology 

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