What you do in seven words

Posted by Jon Howard on July 11, 2011

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The Trustees of Reservations saved Crane Beach for me.

We spotted this message a half-mile ahead of the entrance to one of New England’s finest and least disturbed large coastal preserves in Ipswich, Massachusetts. I don’t think I could say more with fewer words. (I would have made the name much bigger, but modesty suits the Trustees’ reserved Yankee demeanor.)

My first thought: the perfect mission statement! Of course, the actual Mission for the Trustees of Reservations has to spell things out. Here it is: “The Trustees of Reservations preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts.”

A true Mission needs that clarity, but I’ll take the tag line on this sign for brevity, completeness and memorability.

The Crane Beach and Crane Estate property is one of more than 100 places the Trustees have preserved and maintained for public use in Massachusetts. It happens to have special significance for me. I went to high school down the road in Hamilton and I spent a lot of sunny days on the dunes there with friends. My sister and my best friend’s sister both held wedding receptions at the Crane Estate overlooking the beach.

But I haven’t been there for decades and I haven’t given the place much thought in the meantime. Fortunately, the Trustees of Reservations have been on the job. So, when we needed a beautiful biking destination on a sunny summer Sunday, Crane Beach was waiting for us… and tens of thousand of others. Well done, Trustees!

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 11th, 2011 at 11:31 am and is filed under Communicating. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “What you do in seven words”

Lori L. Jacobwith Says:

I love to work with organizations to keep their messages clear and short. I’m a fan of the “Six Word Stories” that I learned about on NPR a few years ago. Here’s more on six word stories: http://lorijacobwith.com/2010/04/you-can-say-a-lot-with-only-six-words/

July 14th, 2011 at 10:48 am
Jon Howard Says:

Clicked link. Hour disappears. Thanks, Lori!

July 14th, 2011 at 11:28 am
Sandy Rees Says:

Great lesson for the verbose to ponder.

Sandy Rees

July 15th, 2011 at 5:03 pm
Sherry Truhlar Says:

Great real world example, Jon. I see a connection with this 7 word strategy and Twitter. That is a well-written 48 characters that delivers a sound message.

July 20th, 2011 at 1:22 pm
Gayle Gifford Says:

Okay, I just had to share it.
Our favorite diner has this:
“Don’t be a dope. Eat at the hope.”

Chuckling. Not as elegant.

August 2nd, 2011 at 3:53 pm
Andrew Nemiccolo Says:

Love the simplicity of the 7 words! It focuses an organization in the way that lengthy mission and vision statements do not.

For those who want to delve deeper, supporting content on the web such as the “About Us” page and Success Stories can all be developed in support of the 7 words.


October 4th, 2012 at 11:00 pm
Gayle Gifford Says:

Thank you Andrew. And great insight into the about page.

October 16th, 2012 at 9:25 am
Ian Webster Says:

I am reminded of Steve Jobs’ introduction of the iPod:
“A thousand songs in your pocket.”

January 23rd, 2013 at 8:57 am
Gayle Gifford Says:

Another great example. Thank you Ian.

January 23rd, 2013 at 11:04 am

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