April 2008 - Strategic Planning

New Mission and Vision Statements Further ERA’s Brand

By Sieglinde Friedman

An association representing the leaders of well-known and trustworthy brands in the direct-to-consumer industry must have a mission that reflects its core purpose, its reason for being, and how it serves its members. As part of the ongoing branding of ERA, this year’s Strategic Planning Session, held in Miami on Saturday, March 1, was charged with formulating those very statements. The session comprised of the ERA Board of Directors, Platinum members, Program Committee chairs, and was led by ERA Chair-Elect Nathan Fagre.

The Strategic Planning group, in concert with a preliminary Board-led task force, agreed that the mission statement must encompass ERA’s strategic objectives, which include: (a) enhance ERA’s services and benefits that offer a strong value proposition for the “core” prospects; (b) foster greater ERA brand recognition and simultaneously improve ERA’s reputation and credibility; (c) develop relevant and compelling research, education and information services; and; (d) ensure ERA’s governance not only reflects the core members, but also primarily serves them. It was also agreed that ERA’s customers or members include: retailers, consumers, the public, and service providers who support retailers. The mission should also embrace what attracts companies to become ERA members with such initiatives as: advocacy; lobbying, networking, education, information on latest developments, self-regulation, improving the industry’s image with the public, and, consequently, increasing overall credibility. It was agreed that the Association’s core purpose is to: strengthen and help grow the direct-to-consumer industry; develop higher purposes; raise the bar for professionalism in the industry; advocate on behalf of the members on government regulations and legislative issues; protect, educate, and supply research; and create a community of peers.

With these fundamental concepts, the group agreed on the new ERA mission statement:

Drive, grow, and shape the future of electronic retailing.

Next, the group tackled the vision statement. Working with the understanding that a vision statement should signify the critical transition from the mission to the world of strategy (i.e., provide a word picture of what the organization intends ultimately to become over the next three to five years). In short, a vision statement differs from the mission in that the vision describes what the Association is attempting to accomplish and inspires others to join the effort. The new ERA vision statement is:

Be the universally recognized authority, resource, and voice for electronic retailing.

The work of the Strategic Planning group not only focused ERA’s mission and vision to reflect the core, retailers and marketers, but more importantly, offered the world a direct and clear enunciation of what ERA is all about.

Sieglinde Friedman is ERA’s vice president of strategy. She can be reached at (703) 908-1021, or via e-mail at [email protected]


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