Done well, outstanding mission and value statements can be a powerful asset for your business. They can serve to perfectly encapsulate your company’s reason for being, inspiring a sense of purpose that spreads throughout your company from the boardroom to the shop floor.
They can serve as the compass that guides you as you set off on a journey to fulfill that purpose and, of course, they can serve as the cornerstone of your PR and marketing efforts, helping you to put out the kind of messages that attract the right customers, stakeholders, and top talent.
Still, if you’ve ever sat down to try and come up with a good mission statement of your own, you’ll no doubt know just how challenging it can be. That’s why I’ve put together this complete guide to creating the most enduring business mission and values statement possible.
Below, you’ll find examples of exceptional statements from a plethora of companies from a broad cross-section of industries. I hope that these examples will provide all the inspiration you need to come up with a powerful mission statement of your own.
If you still need a little helping hand after all that, I’ve also provided the answers to your most burning questions and shared the top tips that have helped me to write effective statements.
Main Differences Between Mission Statement vs Values Statement
The Main Difference Between Mission Statement vs Values Statement are:
- A mission statement outlines your unique purpose and intentions as a company, whereas a values statement outlines what you stand for, noting the principles and beliefs that influence and guide how you fulfill that purpose.
- Your mission statement should be a clear, concise declaration of your company’s entire raison d’être. It should sum up (why you exist, what sets you apart from your competitors, and what you do/who you do it for and why), whereas your values statement serves as a moral compass, establishing an ethical framework within which your company should operate.
It’s easy to think of a values statement as merely a code of conduct or rules of behavior for employees to adhere to, but it’s actually more than that.
While it’s true that your values statement should outline the kind of behaviors you’d expect from your employees, it’s equally true that your statement outlines the type of behaviors and attitudes that customers, investors, and partners should expect from you as a brand.
Why Your Business Needs Mission and Values Statements
Even when you understand exactly what mission and value statements are, it’s not always immediately obvious why you need them. After all, isn’t it merely enough to know that your business produces X product for Y customers? And aren’t values such as honesty and equality so common sense that they don’t need to be stated?
Perhaps, but never underestimate the importance of getting all this down on paper and using your statements to communicate what drives you as a company clearly. Here are a few essential reasons why your business needs mission and value statements.
1. Attracting the Right Customers and Building Brand Loyalty
Today’s customers care about the impact that their purchases have on the world around them. Financial newspaper Barron reports that almost 70% of North American consumers think it’s important for brands to be sustainable or eco-friendly.
Meanwhile, a 2019 Sustainability in Fashion survey conducted by Nosto found that more than half of respondents wanted the fashion brands they purchase from to commit to fair wages and sustainable practices. Properly communicating your values and principles helps to attract customers who share those principles.
What’s more, providing you continue to “walk the walk” by acting in accordance with those values, you’re more likely to keep those same customers coming back to you time and time again.
2. Creates a Sense of Purpose
A good mission statement determines what your company is aiming to achieve and the objectives you and your teams are striving every day to achieve. It provides a sense of purpose and puts your day-to-day operations into a “bigger picture” context.
Having this sense of purpose can help to inspire colleagues and motivate them. With a mission statement to drive them, your teams are no longer to simply clock in, pick up a paycheck, and clock out again, but to work towards a much bigger goal.
3. Inform Policy and Decision Making
Your mission and values should be at the heart of any decision made in your business.
Whether you’re faced with multiple options when picking a supplier or coming up with an entirely new strategy, you can check whether the next steps you take are aligned with your values and the direction of your company.
20 Enduring Business Mission and Values Statements That Show How It’s Done
“Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
With this simple, bold statement, electric car manufacturers Tesla prove the old adage that the best mission statements can be both short and powerful at the same time.
The use of the word “accelerate” here is undoubtedly clever. It represents their industry while also suggesting a sense of moving forward to something greater, in this case, sustainable energy.
In doing so, it sets the company apart from the crowd. It tells you that this isn’t just another car company; it’s a car company with a conscience, a company that isn’t merely concerned with selling you a new vehicle, but with playing a role in conserving the planet.
2. The Walt Disney Company
“The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
Disney is the largest entertainment company in the world with a myriad of famous brands under their umbrella, so it’s no wonder their mission statement is a little longer than Tesla.
Still, it’s succinct and answers the most pertinent questions that a good mission statement should:
What do they do?
Entertain, inform and inspire.
Who do they do it for?
People around the globe.
What sets them apart?
Their unparalleled storytelling, iconic brands, and innovative technologies.
“Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
What I love about Linkedin’s mission statement is that it proves that keeping things simple can work really well.
Linkedin is a brand for professionals, so it’s in keeping with their brand that their mission statement gets to the point rather than trying to be quirky, cute, or clever.
“Our mission is to democratize financial services to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or economic standing, has access to affordable, convenient, and secure products and services to take control of their financial lives.”
PayPal’s mission, vision, and values are another tremendous example of a company that positions what they do in a much broader, socially beneficial context.
This isn’t a company that helps you move money around; it’s a company that is working towards a bigger goal of ensuring equality and fairness.
TED organizes talks in which big ideas are presented and shared in the form of short, impactful talks.
So it makes sense that their mission statement would be equally as short as impactful.
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks’ powerful mission statement takes what they do beyond simply making coffee. It speaks volumes about their values, culture, and the kind of exceptional customer experiences they aim to deliver.
7. The Spoiled Mama
“We believe in putting your best bump forward and ‘doing you’ cause you are amazeballs.
We believe in finding beauty in all things – from your pregnancy waddle to your saucer areolas – because they’re milestones in your crazy, amazing life. We believe our vibe attracts your tribe, so we should find sisterhood in motherhood.“
The Spoiled Mama promotes a range of skincare products for pregnant women.
Their “Mama Manifesto” serves as a bold example of a values statement that speaks directly to their customers in their customer’s own language.
“Nintendo’s mission is to put smiles on the faces of everyone we touch. We do so by creating new surprises for people across the world to enjoy together.”
Here, Nintendo makes it very clear what they prioritize. Not selling the most video games, but bringing people together and making them happy.
A further look at their corporate website reveals that this aspirational goal really does affect everyone, ensuring they deliver not just great customer experiences but that their employees, partners, and supplies also have “smiles on their faces.”
“Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*if you have a body, you are an athlete).”
Nike has one of the more unique mission statements out there. It’s uplifting, inclusive, and, yes, inspiring.
It’s little wonder this kind of message resonates so well when marketing to millennials.
“Unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.”
If yours is the kind of business that serves two distinct audiences, then Spotify’s mission statement may be a good one to draw inspiration from.
This well-done statement manages to speak to both of their audiences (artists and fans) while uniting both under a single goal – to unlock the potential of human creativity.
“We aim to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. Our mission is to continually raise the bar of the customer experience by using the internet and technology to help consumers find, discover, and buy anything, and empower businesses and content creators to maximize their success.”
Amazon’s customer-focused approach to their mission statement is brilliant when you consider just how many different strings they have to their bow.
No matter how many new services they launch or how diverse they get, this impactful statement will always be relevant and applicable.
“Create inclusive clothing and accessories that enable you to show your pride all year round while giving back to our community.”
Passionfruit’s mission reflects its values of LGBTQQIA inclusiveness, creativity, and expression, while still linking back to its core offer: clothing.
“To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
IKEA proved that it really is possible to say a whole lot in a single sentence. Their goal to create a better everyday life can be seen in everything from their range of furniture to their customer service.
“Our mission is to help you build and run an amazing subscription business.”
There may not be anything fancy or inspirational about Zuora’s mission statement, but it’s efficient, effective, and easy to understand, all of which are qualities that you’d want from a software company.
15. Calvin Klein
“We strive to make a positive impact on the world. We inspire passion in our people. We embody authenticity and embrace individuality.”
Another excellent example of a brand that combines its mission and values into one powerful statement, Calvin Klein let it be known what they stand for (authenticity and individuality) and what they do (make a positive impact).
“Our mission is to give everyone a voice and to show them the world. We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice and that the world is a better place when we listen, share, and build a community through our stories.”
Much like Calvin Klein, YouTube offers one of the best mission and value statements in a single combination. It’s clear, concise and to the point, telling you exactly what they do and, more importantly, why they do it.
“To help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly.”
Helping humanity thrive is a hugely ambitious goal, but with their mission statement, Asana declares exactly how they plan to achieve it: By helping people to work together.
18. American Red Cross
“The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
Mission statements aren’t just for the private sector. Non-profit charities such as the American Red Cross communicate their aims and values in one insightful statement.
“There’s this notion that to grow a business, you have to be ruthless. But we know there’s a better way to grow. One where what’s good for the bottom line is also good for customers. We believe businesses can grow with a conscience and succeed with a soul — and that they can do it with inbound.
“That’s why we’ve created an ecosystem uniting software, education, and community to help businesses grow better every day.”
HubSpot wraps their mission and values into one short paragraph that’s packed with detail about how their morals, ethics, and principles affect the work that they do.
“To make internet business personal.”
In contrast to Hubspot, Intercom keeps their statement short and sweet but still says a great deal about its people-first approach to business.
What are the Advantages of Mission and Values Statements?
Help to Determine Company Standards and KPIs
Determining which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track is much easier when a clear mission drives your company. Those that show you how well you’re sticking to that mission will be more important than those irrelevant to your primary objective.
Help Attract the Right Talent
If a mission statement is public, it can help potential new recruits to determine their own suitability.
For example, a potential hire may tick all the boxes in terms of skills and experience but may read your corporate values and decide that it’s not for them, eliminating the problems that arise when a person doesn’t fit in with your corporate culture.
Influence and Enhance Your Public Relations Strategy
Mission and values influence the messages your company wants to put out into the world.
A PR strategy that is aligned with statements ensures consistency between public perception of your company and what’s happening “behind closed doors.”
Form Strategic Allegiances
Putting your mission and values statement out there doesn’t just attract the right customers. It can also help to attract like-minded partners, suppliers, and investors. A company that chooses to collaborate with its values match yours more than they match your competitors can only be a good thing for your business.
What are the Disadvantages of a Mission and Values Statements?
One of the biggest criticisms of mission statements is that they can become so ambitious that they lose all grounding in reality. “Inspiring the world” may be a noble goal, but it can often seem so untenable that it doesn’t really motivate your employees in the way that you’d hope.
A vague mission statement can mean it’s not always possible to determine if the mission is being achieved accurately. For example, if your mission is to “inspire people,” that only raises more questions:
What people? How many? How will you inspire them? Creating a more precise and concrete statement helps you to measure just how on-mission you really are.
Takes Time and Money to Create
A good mission statement is rarely knocked up over a 15-minute coffee break. These things take time, resources, and careful planning, all of which could end up detracting from income-generating tasks.
Top 5 Tips for Writing a Better Mission Statement for Your Business
1. Keep it clear and concise
Though you can always expand on it elsewhere on your website, your mission statement should be precisely that:
Not a lengthy explanation or a cleverly complex work of art. It should be short and to the point so that people can understand exactly what you’re about within one or two sentences.
2. Define what you do and who you do it for
A local gym, for example, may determine that its mission statement is to help people in their local community enjoy healthier lifestyles simply.
That’s a perfectly valid mission statement that sums up what they do and who they do it for.
3. Define your why
Your why puts what you do into a broader context. It gives your business a purpose and communicates that purpose where it matters. Using the example of the local gym again, it might be that you believe in the benefits of healthy living and believe that everyone should have equal opportunity to enjoy those benefits.
4. Get feedback and review before you publish
Your mission and values statements aren’t just for you. They’re for your employees, your customers, and other key stakeholders, so run it by them before putting it out there and ask them some key questions:
Does it make sense?
Does it align with what they believe your brand to be about?
Does it omit anything glaringly obvious or include anything off-brand?
5. Share it Where it Matters
When you’re happy with your statement, make sure you get it out there. Send it to colleagues and employees to motivate and inspire them and put it out in your publicly available materials to inspire customers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mission and Value Statements
Question: What are the three parts of a mission statement?
Answer: A good mission statement should include three essential details: What you do (your product/service), who you do it for (your audience), and what it is about how you do things that are distinctive from your competitors.
Question: What is a mission statement generator?
Answer: A mission statement generator is an online tool in which you input information about your brand and its purpose and get a ready-made mission statement in return. While they can be good for getting ideas and inspiration, an AI-written mission statement is no match for one that you and your team put serious thought and effort into.
Question: What’s the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?
Answer: Your mission statement outlines your company’s purpose and current direction. Your vision statement outlines where you want your company to be in the future and what impact you’ll make having achieved your mission.
Final Thought: What Makes an Enduring Mission and Values Statement?
If you’ve read through this entire guide, you’ve no doubt picked up on the fact that no matter what industry you’re in, your mission and values statement should include the same essential ingredients.
It should be short and to the point. Nobody -not your customers nor your colleagues- should be left guessing as to what it is you do or why you do it. It should motivate, engage, and inspire those who work for you while still being precise and realistic enough to be actively achievable.
Finally, it should communicate to your customers exactly what you stand for so that, in a world where customers care more than ever about the impact of their purchasing decisions, you can attract an audience whose values align with yours.