A great article from FastCompany.com
72andSunny’s mantra is “Be brave and generous.” Since 2004, the company has embodied this message internally and externally–with edgy, award-winning advertisements featuring world leaders kissing, and employee collaboration processes that produce fun, buzz-worthy campaigns.
The best mantras are like that. They inform a company’s everyday decisions, both behind the curtain and in front of the crowd.
“Mantra” is a Sanskrit term, meaning “sacred utterance” or “sacred thought,” depending on the dictionary. Traditionally concentration aids given by Hindu gurus to devotees, mantras are words or phrases repeated to facilitate transformation. In business, a mantra is akin to a motto, albeit more fundamental to a company’s internal purpose than simply a marketing slogan. It’s concise, repeatable, and core to a company’s existence.
“Think different.” “Don’t be evil.” For some of the world’s most innovative companies, mantras become a rallying point for employees and customers.
The key is simplicity. “Create a mantra of two or three words,” author and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki instructed at the most recent Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston. “Make it short, sweet, and swallowable.”
Mantras are not mission statements, though they’re often confused with the cumbersome paragraphs of platitudes generated at corporate retreats involving trust falls. When asked for their company mantras for this story, over 100 business owners, from startups to energy companies to retailers, submitted gobbledygook claiming to be mantras.
“Our collaborative ideology is our greatest differentiator,” writes one firm. Another shares its “mantra”: “[our company] exists to fuel our clients’ growth while delivering maximum accountability through our performance-based financial models by leveraging the power of the search engines.”