The best mission statements are able to inspire focused action in employees and share the company’s culture with customers.
Your company’s mission statement goes hand-in-hand with its vision statement and helps inform decisions in your business. It’s important to keep your mission statement updated as your business develops to reflect its current goals.
What Is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is an organization’s public statement explaining their reason for being. It describes what they do in a straightforward, original way. A mission goes beyond the everyday operations of business and into the realm of community impact and making a difference in the world. The statement should be short and simple but speak to both customers and employees.
By providing a big-picture look at a common purpose, it helps connect everyone involved with the company to a greater purpose.
Why Do You Need a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is designed to identify your company and its target customers. Every organization needs a mission statement, and not just for the sake of having one.
Guides Company Direction
Having a mission statement helps you maintain a consistent direction for growth. By specifying your company’s passion and objectives, a mission statement can motivate employees into action. The decisions you make should stem from your mission statement, serving as a “North Star” for where to focus your energy.
Going back to it frequently at staff meetings can potentially improve executive strategy and decision-making.
Communicates Company Values
Company values are the philosophies and beliefs behind everything your company does. Communicating these values can inspire employees and set the tone for the company’s culture. It also tells customers what you stand for.
For example, it can communicate your high-quality standards and focus on improving the lives of your customers. This helps foster customer loyalty and boost employee morale.
5 Mission Statements from Top Companies
What does an awesome mission statement look like? Here are 5 real examples every business can learn from:
“To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Microsoft’s mission statement makes no mention of computers or software. In a short, powerful sentence, the software titan reveals the company’s devotion to meeting the technological needs of every industry and consumer. It also illustrates Microsoft’s values, which extend beyond selling tech products and into their world impact.
“Helping people on their path to better health.”
CVS’s mission statement is particularly succinct. The simplicity helps emphasize its passion for improving people’s health. The focus is consumer-centric and easy for pharmacists to get behind.
In 2014, CVS stopped selling tobacco products, with Chief Executive Larry Merlo stating they “have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.” Despite losing profit in the short run, the company aligned to its mission. As a result, CVS benefits in the long-term from a better reputation that makes customers more compelled to trust CVS with their health.
“To bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love.”
Using just a few words, Pinterest portrays itself as a catalyst for people to discover and accomplish what makes them happy.
As with Microsoft, it defines the target market as “everyone.” With reference to “inspiration” and “a life they love,” the mission statement highlights outcomes it aims to achieve for users. It also differentiates Pinterest from other social media platforms by making it clear the product is designed for users to take action in their lives.
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
Nike’s mission statement works because it defines its objective in serving athletes, but opens to a bigger vision. With the creative use of an asterisk, it includes nonathletes in a way that’s motivating and reveals Nike’s passion for people’s fitness. With its phrasing “to bring inspiration and motivation,” the company suggests everything that comes from the brand is cutting-edge and uplifting. This speaks to the outcomes consistently created for customers and employees, without mention of specific products.
“To offer each and every person around the world the best of Beauty in terms of quality, efficacy, safety, sincerity and responsibility to satisfy all beauty needs and desires in their infinite diversity.”
L’Oreal’s mission statement points to its target customer and company values. It emphasizes its aim to include people from all corners of the globe, with respect to their diversity.
Meanwhile, the words “safety, sincerity and responsibility” point to L’Oreal’s ethical standards for the ingredients in its products. It doesn’t mention “women” as its target market, demonstrating sensitivity to the beauty needs of all people.
Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement
A vision statement is separate from a mission statement, though it’s used both internally and publicly. So, what’s the difference between the two?
Your mission statement covers what your company does and who it serves. Your vision statement paints a picture of the future your company is working toward. It’s an inspirational, big-picture view of the world you’re striving to create for your customers.
Examples of Compelling Vision Statements:
Here are some examples of vision statements that underline the company’s intended legacy:
“Inspire the world. Create the future.”
Samsung’s vision statement is a concise glimpse of what their mission translates to in terms of global impact.
Its mission statement expands on how the company achieves that impact:
“To lead innovations in technology, products and solutions that inspire communities around the world to join our aspiration for creating a better world full of richer digital experiences.”
“Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
LinkedIn’s concise vision statement points out its target customer, the global workforce, and its vision for them. It’s inclusive, positive and simple.
Its mission statement explains how it works toward the vision by connecting professionals and helping them succeed:
“Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
“To lead the advancement of mobility and enable people everywhere in the world to improve their daily lives.”
Honda’s vision statement covers its desires for itself and its customers. For itself, it wants to be the industry’s leading automaker. For its customers, which it defined inclusively as people throughout the world, its vision is to make everyday life better.
Its mission statement explains what it does to achieve this end:
“Maintaining a global viewpoint, we are dedicated to supplying products of the highest quality, yet at a reasonable price for worldwide customer satisfaction.”
How to Write a Mission Statement
Now that you know what a mission statement’s all about, these are the steps your team should take to develop one:
1. Pinpoint Your Target Market
In a brainstorming session, come up with the unique selling point (USP) that makes your product or service stand out from the rest of the market. Here are some questions to get ideas flowing:
- How is what you provide different from competitors?
- Why does the market need you?
- Who can benefit the most from what you offer?
2. Define What Your Business Achieves
Once you know who you’re serving, define how you do it. In your brainstorming, write down what you do for customers, your staff and your investors.
Here are some questions to answer:
What Impact Do You Make on Your Customers?
Define what you provide your customer, both on a tangible and a psychological level. Define how they’re physically, mentally and/or emotionally better off because of your product or service.
What Do You Provide Employees?
Why work at your company? Jot down how your company brings lasting value to the employees who work there, and how it ties into your company’s vision.
3. Summarize Your Company’s Culture and Vision
Culture refers to the common values and beliefs that permeate your company’s foundation and fuel employee behaviors. Brainstorm words that describe the team’s underlying dynamic that makes it effective. For example, collaborative, autonomous, transparent or innovative.
What vision does your team have for the world? Have staff members discuss what impact they want to make. If a vision statement hasn’t already been written, writing a draft now can help generate focus for the mission statement, which should answer how you’re working toward your vision.
4. Draft Your Statement
Start out with, “Our mission is to…” and then a verb. The team can throw out ideas for the first clause in the statement. They can look at the notes from brainstorming and list some potential action-oriented phrases. As the team discusses the wording, one team member can write up an evolving draft.
5. Finalize It
Come up with two or three versions of the statement that are all concise, original and inspiring. Then have a vote among your staff to select the one. When employees are involved, they’re more apt to take ownership of the mission statement and hold themselves accountable to it.
Creating Your Most Compelling Mission Statement
Arriving at the most compelling mission statement requires a team effort. It involves brainstorming, discussing, writing, revising and polishing. When well-crafted, a mission statement sums up your company’s purpose and vision. It speaks to your target market and highlights what makes your brand special.