Meaning Vs. Mission

Steve August
September 28, 2020
Customer Creation Flywheel

Over the past few months, I’ve been helping a bunch of companies build their Customer Flywheels and Growth Engines. And there’s one common thread running through all the work.

Everyone knows their mission, but almost nobody knows their meaning.

What’s the difference?

Mission is internally focused. This is what we want to do for the world.

Meaning is knowing what profound impact you have on your customers. This is what we mean to them.

For example, Microsoft’s mission was a computer on every desktop. Nice.

Steve Jobs brilliantly summed up what computing meant for us all, calling it “a bicycle for our minds.


In my Customer Flywheel process, understanding what my clients’ companies means to their customers is an essentially foundational first step. Because when you are crystal clear on what you truly mean to your customers, you can elevate your messaging with tremendous impact - the kind of impact that cuts through the noise and hits emotionally.

Here’s an example to make this tangible. Jeffery Henning is the Founder and Chief Research Officer of Researchscape. Wanting to really accelerate their growth, Researchscape recently went through the Flywheel process. One of the very first things we did was figure out what Researchscape meant to their clients.

Researchscape provides survey research, with a particular niche in helping PR people provide independent research that gives journalists what they need to run with a story that’s been pitched. That’s critical for the success of any PR initiative.

Coming into the exercise, Researchscape’s mission was:

“Providing the most effective, highest quality survey research for PR professionals.”

That’s a fine a mission, but it doesn’t really capture what they mean to their clients. After working through the process, we dialed in on what Researchscape really means to their customers:

Researchscape gives PR pros the power to create the news.


That powerful statement instantly elevates their outreach conversations as well as their inbound marketing. It helps them rise about the noise of the survey research world and make it abundantly clear why someone should engage them.

Ultimately, that’s the difference between Meaning and Mission.

So if you are having trouble differentiating and feel like you are stuck in a red ocean, switch your focus from your Mission to your Meaning, and see how things change.

Until next time,


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