Great screenwriters know the importance of the logline – the one or two sentence pitch for their film.
So do great marketers.
The corporate version of the logline is known as the mission statement. And when you get the logline or the mission statement wrong, everything else falls apart.
Here’s what I mean:
It’s Saturday night. You and your friends decide to see a movie; you volunteer to read the choices while everyone else listens.
You read the logline for the first film, but no one understands what it’s about. So you start talking about everything else but the storyline – the director, the big-name star and the critic ratings. But it’s not enough.
“What else is playing?” someone asks. And just like that, everyone moves on.
A good logline pulls us in and promises to deliver more. Take the pitch for Pretty Woman as an example:
A businessman needs an escort for social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets…only to fall in love.
Does your mission statement hook people like that? Or does it sound like this:
XYZ Corporation is committed to being the world’s premier [industry] company. To that end, we must continuously achieve superior financial and operating results while adhering to the highest standards of business conduct. These unwavering expectations provide the foundation for our commitments to those with whom we interact.
This doesn’t say anything. What else is playing?
Get your mission statement right first, before your product or service exists. That’s what great screenwriters do, and with good reason. If the logline works, it’s easier to develop distinct characters, the story becomes more clearly defined and the writing itself becomes easier.
If you don’t have a mission statement, maybe you should rethink your entire business.