It’s often said that agencies have a hard time doing for themselves what they do for clients. It’s an old saying that borders on the cliché, but it’s true. A prime example is the dearth of quality agency mission statements. Most we’ve seen say the same thing using different words. It seems creating an original and authentic mission has been reduced to a thesaurus exercise. We fell into this trap many times over the past 24 years.

In the wake of all that was 2020, we decided we needed a real mission, with real meaning. A mission with the power to affect how we work with our clients, our people, and our community. Something motivated us to get through the year and we wanted to know what it was, so we started the process by asking one question of everyone at Clean. Other than a paycheck, why do you work here?

The answers were varied, but there were two recurring themes: the opportunity to be creative and the opportunity to work with great people. We looked at our work through the lens of these themes, and we found that our best work was the product of great people prioritizing creativity. No shock there, but the surprising factor was that the work we were most proud of was often done on behalf of clients who had a direct role in improving the quality of life within the community. That realization led to our “why,” our point-of-view, our mission. 

To help build and strengthen our community through creativity.

Let’s break it down, starting with creativity. This is easy. We’re in a creative industry, and as a creative agency, we expect everyone on our team to think creatively, regardless of role. Next, community. This word does a lot of heavy lifting because it covers our agency family, our client partners, our neighborhood, city, state, and so on.

Our mission works for us because it relates to every agency action. It guides how we work with each other and with our clients. It influences the types of charitable initiatives we pursue. It shapes the types of agency policies we implement. And of course, it influences the type of clients we pursue and the work we create for them.