business news in context, analysis with attitude

Fast Company had an interesting story the other day about the importance of a company "mantra," which is defined as "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 ... Unlike mission statements, mantras are pivot-proof. They transcend current target markets and quarterly quotas."

Or, to put it another way: "Make it short, sweet, and swallowable," says author Guy Kawasaki.

Examples cited in the story:

"Think different." (Apple)

"Don't be evil." (Google)

"Make something you love." (Huge, a digital agency)

"Style to the people." (Stylecaster, a fashion website)

A mantra, the story suggests, is necessary because it is "the guiding star, not the operating manual." And every company needs a guiding star.

This has me thinking. While MNB always has been built around the phrase, "news in context, analysis with attitude," it sounds like the folks at Fast Company would define that as a mission statement. Not a mantra.

Which makes me think it is time for a contest...

Come up with an original mantra for MNB, and if you create the winner, you get an MNB goodie box, which includes a t-shirt with that mantra printed on it, an autographed copy of "The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies," and an MNB canvas shopping bag and an MNB canvas wine bag.

I am pleased to tell you that we've received well over 250 entries to this point. I'm going to leave the contest open until Labor Day, at which point I'll go through all the entries, pick what I think are the top 20 or so, and then submit them to a panel of experts for their advice and guidance ... and then I'll get the last word.

Let the games continue...
KC's View: