In today’s business world, it is difficult to find mission statements that are both effective and clear in communicating the company’s core values. “Our mission is to provide book-lovers and those they care about with the most inspiring retail and online environments in the world for books and life-enriching products and services.” This mission statement is strong and focuses on its target audience, while effectively representing the fundamentals of “big” writing. “BIG Writing: The Fundamental Discipline of Business Writing”, by Michael Sheldon and Janice Willett, explains the importance of BIG messages in business writing and the ways in which BIG writing can be implemented. BIG is an acronym for “Business Is Good”, and describes the core messages that should form the basis of a company’s communication.
The aforementioned mission statement belongs to Indigo Books & Music and is an effective example of a strong core message. In 2010, Indigo reported over one billion dollars in revenues. It is fair to state that “business is good” for the company. The success of the business can be partially attributed to the use of the BIG principles of business writing and BIG core messages. The objective and audience are clearly established in one succinct sentence, embodying the three rules of BIG writing. Moreover, the tone of the statement remains formal and grammatically correct, yet still focuses on Indigo’s overall goal.
Sheldon and Willett argue that the mission statement is the most important BIG message a company can create because it is “a succinct, highly charged statement of the company’s direction and purpose that sets the tone for every employee’s activities” (Sheldon 101) Furthermore, BIG writing should be the official language of an organization and its core messaging. Writing is a highly valued skill in the business world and should be consistent throughout all sectors of an organization to maximize efficiency. BIG writing ensures that ideas and content are expressed “positively, succinctly, and memorably,” (Sheldon 100) by utilizing three uniform rules: using the right voice to address your target audience, putting the key message at the beginning, and keeping it simple. The authors argue that companies should remain focused on the bigger picture rather than become fixated on proper grammar usage and style. Consequently, successful BIG writing manages to smoothly integrate formality and precision with the big picture, thus “communicat[ing] information that motivates people to act.” (Sheldon 102). In addition, the authors explicitly state that BIG writing is based on everyday English, and that jargon should be kept to a minimum.
Indigo Books & Music Inc. is a successful bookstore chain, founded in 1996 by book-lover Heather Reisman. The company sells all genres of books and magazines, but also has a large market for CDs, DVDs, gifts, and toys. In recent years, Indigo has expanded its chain to include Chapter, Coles, and World’s...