What is the purpose of a mission statement, and what does this concept really mean for businesses? Is it a must-have for every organization? What makes a good mission statement? We are going to answer these and other related questions in this article.
If you’re looking to write yours or help someone through theirs, you’re in the right place. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Before we dive into the purpose of a mission statement, let’s find out what it means exactly:
What is a mission statement?
Here are the traditional definitions of a mission statement according to some of the most trusted websites:
Wikipedia – A mission statement is a short statement of why an organization exists, what its overall goal is, identifying the goal of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation.
Investopedia – A mission statement is used by a company to explain, in simple and concise terms, its purpose(s) for being. The statement is generally short, either a single sentence or a short paragraph.
Hubspot – A mission statement is an action-oriented statement declaring the purpose an organization serves to its audience. It often includes a general description of the organization, its function, and its objectives.
The above definitions cannot be any better. A mission statement is a summary of an organization’s goals and values. It simply answers the big WHY question, and can oftentimes also address the WHO’s, WHAT’s and HOW’s of a business or organization. In other words:
- Who are the people behind a brand?
- What is their mission and what is the purpose and goals of their establishment?
- How do they hope to achieve these objectives?
A short descriptive piece providing answers to these fundamental brand-development questions is what is known as a Mission Statement.
And now, let’s learn more about the purpose of a mission statement:
What is the purpose of a mission statement?
The purpose of a mission statement is to explain what an establishment sets out to do, who it wants to support, why it wants to support them, and how it aims to fulfill its objective(s).
A mission statement communicates the firm’s purpose and direction to its staff, customers, vendors, and other investors. It is the roadmap for the organization’s vision statement. This statement aims to give clarity, direction, focus, confidence, and motivation (to name a few) to all concerned.
Studies reveal that establishments with clearly communicated, broadly understood, and communally shared mission and/or vision usually perform better than those without them.
Mission statements are supposed to be guidelines by which a firm operates. Its quality and content can affect all parts of a business, without exception to customers and employees. Everything a brand does should work toward the mission statement – very important!
The list below explains why a mission statement is important and how you can benefit from using it to guide your work.
You have this brilliant new idea and you’re super excited about the prospects. Your head is bursting with excitement about all the wonderful things you plan to do. There are a million and one wonderful things you plan to do with this exciting new project, and you have all the roadmaps figured out in your head – well, not until it’s time to actually implement or take things further.
Then, you realize how disjointed all the many parts of your ideas really are: too many directions; lots of unrealistic goals and expectations; and no clear, well-defined route to achieving your purpose.
This is where the mission statement comes in.
Creating a mission statement and having it actually “written down” helps clarity. It will help you narrow things down to what really matters, set realistic expectations, and have a clear vision of your maze you will have to plod through to your goals.
Grab a pen and paper or your digital device (whatever) and jot down all the reasons why you have chosen this business; why it matters to you, your audience and everyone else concerned; and how to plan to bring your vision to reality.
This exercise gives clarity which helps build an establishment with a solid foundation.
LinkedIn’s mission statement makes it clear to us that they knew what they wanted right from Day-One, and they haven’t deviated even slightly from this purpose: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
The second purpose of a mission statement is direction. When you have clearly defined the goals, values, and scope of your new venture, your next step should be about implementation. At this stage, you should already have a strategic plan involving a solid roadmap for your company. In other words:
- How do you want to be seen and perceived?
- What are the values that you want to highlight?
- Who are your competitors and how would you positively distinguish yourself from them?
- What strategies do you have in place to edge out your competition?
- What are your goals for the next five, ten, or so years?
Ultimately, what is the vision of your organization? Answers to these questions will make it clear how to approach your business and what route to take. This saves you time and other resources.
People want to do business with someone or a company that has a clear purpose and direction, and a mission statement will help you find a direction and stay on track.
Another important purpose of a mission statement is focus.
These three qualities combined allow a business to optimize inputs for maximum output. Good use of resources is only possible through focus. A mission statement will help you and your staff, brand influencers, customers, and stakeholders understand and align with the company’s purpose and vision.
It’s easy to attract or onboard members of your staff, target audience, and investors on your mission and sell your ideas to them with less hassle if your leadership follows a clear and trustworthy path. For this reason, an important purpose of a mission statement is trust.
Business, as well as all areas and levels of human relationship, is about trust, so you will do yourself a favor if you have a mission statement that speaks to your target audience and everyone else concerned in a manner that will be assuring and create a willingness to try.
PayPal’s mission statement does this well: “To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
The mere exercise and purpose of a mission statement by itself forces the creator to think super deeply about the brand. Who are you, what do you represent, and what do you do?
Who are your competitors and what makes you different from them? Analyzing these questions will reveal to you special insights that will help you edge out your competition.
Another key purpose of a mission statement is motivation.
Having a clear, focused mission and vision cuts down wastage to foster extra drive and accelerate organizational growth. In turn, investors and consumers will be willing to identify with your brand and do business.
7. Measure progress
It’s easier to measure progress as your brand steers the wheels toward its goals, if you know what to look (out) for. Having a mission statement will help you stay on your purpose and keep track of your efforts towards achieving your goals and vision, as well as to know when to raise the bar or set new milestones.
8. Support/building community
Undoubtedly, the purpose of a mission statement is to also help the company establish a community around its brand.
Whether you’re a business or an organization, if you have a mission statement that champions an honorable cause, that appeals to people’s emotions, or that solves a special problem, it will be easier to get the support of investors, consumers and the general public.
Organizations and brands that cater for children, women, the less privileged, the handicapped, and animals, or ones that promote initiatives such as environmental protection and world peace have an easier time getting people ready to network and partner with them.
A mission statement creates a sense of identity for the brand it serves and a feeling of purpose for the employees. Together with a company’s vision and values, it creates a face or a specific perception about the brand.
Right now, Tesla is the frontman for electric vehicles and sustainable energy, and their statement serves perfectly the purpose of a mission statement to establish brand identity.
10. Guiding culture
A firm’s mission statement is a guide for the organization’s culture and workplace setting to grow positively. Mission statements provide a formal method for expressing a distinct cultural environment created by the values, norms, and beliefs of an establishment.
These values should be clearly reflected in the employee actions and organizational initiatives.
11. Aligning behavior
Strong tie-in to the preceding point, another purpose of a mission statement is to help everybody on a team to align their thoughts and conducts toward the same objectives. It can be used to examine a business model or guide decisions on policies and procedures.
With the help of a mission statement, all departments of an establishment work together to contribute to progress. It ensures that behavior within the company is kept consistent with expected results, no matter the condition.
12. Improved performance
Employees can increase their job performance when there is a clear goal, a guiding culture, and behavior alignment. Talk of a great way to motivate staff members to work toward a firm’s vision and raise the bar for themselves.
Striving towards improved performance is undoubtedly key when it comes to the purpose of a mission statement.
What are the key elements of a mission statement?
Now that we have cleared out the purpose of a mission statement, let’s take a look at its key elements.
So, what makes a good mission statement? Is it a short statement that captures your organization’s purpose, a catchy slogan, or something extra? A good mission statement will create a lasting impression in the minds of your customers and motivate them to choose you over other sellers.
It represents your firm’s core values and reflects your establishment’s personality.
So, now, you are getting started with crafting your own and are on a search for qualities that define a good company mission. With that in mind, below are five key elements of a mission statement that will steer you to the right path and help you continue to put in your best, no matter how much success you have attained at any point in time.
The mission and vision of your business together form its purpose. As a business owner/manager, you should try to define the primary purpose and reason why your company exists. The mission statement explains what your company is doing right now that sets it part, while the vision statement summarizes its end aspirations.
Your company’s mission, vision and values should align with your business’ targets, marketing, culture, and all the organizational efforts that go along.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business? In what way(s) does your company excel? The idea here is to understand your key competencies and advantages, then forge them into a mission statement that reflects your best qualities and leads toward progress.
While you don’t have to be sentimental about it, your mission statement should inspire and motivate. This inspirational quality should be emphasized in the words you choose to describe your purpose and competencies.
Individuals will be open to supporting your cause and investing with you if your purpose sounds genuinely encouraging.
It’s super important (but not very easy) to hit a balance between a functionally useful mission statement and one that is brief and apt. If the statement is too short, it might exclude necessary details and appear obscure.
On the other hand, if it’s too lengthy, it will be too complicated, hence difficult to remember, too. Finding a good balance will likely take some time, but it will be hugely rewarding.
Granted, the purpose of a mission statement is basically about the near future, but it’s also very important to think about and capture the soul and nature of your brand’s legacy. What does the marketplace and community know you for? Ultimately, what do you want to be known and remembered for in the future?
When you recognize these mission statement key elements and capture them in your brand’s purpose, your mission statement will be rock solid. This is one step toward creating a powerful brand.
That leads us to the next important question: What does an actual “good” mission statement look like?
What are some good mission statement examples?
After identifying the concept and purpose of a mission statement, it’s time to take a look at some good mission statement examples.
Now that we have examined what a mission statement is, its purpose and key elements, let us look at some useful examples in different industries. What does a good mission statement look like, and which companies are doing it right?
Below are 12 of the most amazing mission statement examples from the world’s leading enterprises. You can review these and get inspired to create your own today.
“To bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative computer hardware, computer software, and services.”
Example #1: Apple. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Apple’s mission statement is simple and easy to understand at a glance. It emphasizes their commitment to offering the best products and services to meet customers’ unique needs per individual. It comprises three core components: Best User Experience, Innovative Products and Quality Service Delivery.
In 2020, they introduced robust location and Bluetooth permissions in iOS 13. In 2021, Apple unveiled an opt-in ad-tracking function for iOS 14. There innovative strides, among others, highlight Apple’s promise of an unbeatable user experience and product development.
On Quality Service Delivery, from its App Store and Apple Care to its tech support, the Apple brand is passionate about customer service. In 2020, an investigative research awarded the company 51/60 for online support 34/40 for phone support, and 85/100 for overall tech support.
These are impressive numbers when you consider that most companies offer substandard customer experience.
Computer, hardware/software, electronics
“…to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Example #2: Microsoft. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Microsoft’s mission statement is about “empowerment” – empowering others. It is a powerful and honorable mission statement, but let’s be honest – it is not very unique.
It does not make it clear how the company intends to go about achieving its mission. There are thousands of companies and agencies around the world whose mission is built around empowering people, so we do not think this mission statement stands out.
But it’s Microsoft, you know, and most of us know who they are and what they do. Besides, this kind of mission statement is not uncommon with big brands like this – it is quite excusable.
In fact, big brands can get to a point where they no longer have to explain themselves and their mission relative to exactly what they offer, but choose to identify with more honorable, Earth-worthy courses like protecting the ecosystem and investing in sustainable energy.
By comparison, a smaller company, such as a start-up, will do itself a favor by making it clear what they do and how they set themselves apart from other vendors.
Internet, social media
“…to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
Example #3: Facebook. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
This one is a no-brainer…very straightforward. We all know what Facebook stands for and does. For the past 10 years, they’ve been focused on “making the world more open and connected” by giving people a voice.
In recent years, Facebook has expanded their mission to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer.” Like Tesla, Facebook has an honorable cause, one people would be willing to support.
Through the Facebook community, people can unite together to take on the challenge of ending poverty, curing diseases, stopping environmental damage, ending climate change, spreading freedom and tolerance, bringing an end to terrorism, among other notable causes. Together, we can.
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Example #4: Tesla. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
This is the sort of mission everyone would not only be willing to identify with but passionate about contributing to.
Tesla focuses on improving the use of renewable energy throughout the world, an honorable mission captured so effectively in only eight words. Excitingly, not only does Tesla’s mission statement represent the company so well but is also pun-y.
It’s interesting how the automobile whiz-kid employs the word “accelerate” right in the mission statement – a clever innuendo that reflects their industry.
The company’s mission statement filters the focus down to its main goal of providing clean-energy electric vehicles to the public, while at the same time acknowledging the continuous transition between fossil fuels and renewable energy.
The dignified nature of Tesla’s purpose statement and the company’s self-awareness that their brand is still comparatively young in the market helps Tesla apart as one of the brand that have not only the best but also the most purposeful mission statements. They have my support any day!
“…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.”
Example #5: Disney. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Quite long but clear and to-the-point, Disney’s mission statement, does exactly what it says through four distinct brand characteristics: Improvement of communities, improving lives, entertainment, and exceeding expectations.
Disney is a world of its own, a world of dreams and magic. As such, entertainment remains the most central theme of the company’s essence. Their motto further drives this message home with the relaxing words: “To all who come to this place: Welcome.” We love this!
To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.
Example #6: Amazon. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Self-explanatory! Amazon’s mission statement consists of four (4) strategic components: Customer Centrism, Product Variety, Lowest Prices, and Global Reach; and these are clearly laid out in their mission statement.
It’s not surprising, then, that their commitment to this purpose since their start has gained them over 200 million prime subscribers and 100 million different products sold in more than 50 countries across the globe.
The following 2021 ranking by Forbes highlight just how dedicated Amazon is to their purpose:
- #2 Top Company in Sales
- #4 World’s Most Valuable Brands
- #4 World’s Best Employers
- #16 Top Regarded Companies
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Example #7: Google. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Google is arguably the most successful establishment to create a strategic approach to organize information for web users in the immediate past two decades.
The result has been an easier and better organized web structure for both individuals and companies to disseminate their content. This crucial role is what the brand’s mission statement lays emphasis on. The message is simple, clear and direct.
“Our mission is to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone.”
Example #8: McDonald’s. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Again, succinct, simple and clear – you get the core message in a flash. Though short, McDonald’s mission statement strategically summarizes the company’s aims and values into three components worth individual analysis: Delicious, Feel-good moments, and Accessibility/availability.
“Food” has always been the core focus of McDonald’s offerings despite some adjustments in their mission statement over the years. The menu for the United States alone has 11 distinct categories including beverages, burgers and desserts, each serving a variety of different food items in different sizes.
The company’s emphasis on making “delicious” meals is evident in the great sales numbers and the free endorsements by popular people. Bill Gates, for instance, has a golden card that gives him a timeless and unlimited access to free McDonald’s meals.
“Feel-good moments” (the second part of McDonald’s mission statement) is something you experience at every single McDonald’s outlet. The restaurants are located strategically and are designed to maximum customer experience. Personalized sales makes you feel special about helping McDonald’s sales.
There are treats like toys which come in Happy Meals and the Ronald McDonald statue at the entry of all outlets to enhance the overall customer experience. Should we talk about the beautiful, well-designed app?
The third part of McDonald’s mission offering is “Easy for everyone”. The international brand has operations all over the world and tailors its food menu to the local market where any of its outlets exist. This way, the McDonald’s experience is shared across the globe.
“Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.*
*If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
Example #9: Nike. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Nike establishes itself as the ultimate manufacturer of high-performance sports wears for elite athletes. Their mission statement tries to assure athletes that Nike’s products are exactly what they need to compete at the top level and achieve success. Nike has been committed to walking this talk since 1964, despite changes and rebranding.
We also love how Nike uses its mission statement to appeal to non-athletes by the words: “It you have a body, you are an athlete.” This inclusive statement employs a great marketing tactics that encourages body positivity through fitness while expanding their market even further.
Whether you’re a millennial or a senior, you are an athlete. Genius!
“To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Example #10: LinkedIn. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Talk of short, clear, and descriptive – that’s what LinkedIn’s mission statement is. No fluffs, no frills – it encapsulates precisely what the social media giant does, which is to connect professionals from all over the world.
LinkedIn’s mission statement stands out (no surprise!) as one of the best because it quickly and effectively captures the basic essence and fundamental function of the company, suitably highlighting the important position of the end users of the platform as a big part of LinkedIn’s design decisions and strategies.
Example #11: TED. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
Sometimes the simplest mission statements can be the most impactful…just like TED’s. Isn’t it ironic how a media organization that hosts hours after hours of content would choose a two-word mission statement, you might wonder? W
ell, it is bull’s-eye on brand! TED is a platform where you can share ideas online for free, with talks usually restricted to just 18 minutes. This unique kind of quick-fire sharing of ideas gives TED its lasting and impactful presence in the United States and beyond.
“To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
Example #12: TED. Concept and purpose of a mission statement
PayPal presents itself as a leader in FinTech and seeks to make financial services available to everyone. This message has been carefully woven into their mission statement, with emphasis placed on their core brand promise of being a cost-effective solution.
The company adds security with cost-effectiveness to perfectly summarize its core mission of providing affordable financial services that enhance the world economy while protecting users.
What is the difference between a mission and a vision statement?
There’s really not much of a difference between a mission and a vision statement. Both of them have elements that are often combined to form a statement of a firm’s purposes, goals and values. Sometimes the terms can even be used interchangeably.
In spite of this complementary quality, though, mission and vision statements can still be uniquely separated. This can be examined in three major categories: time factor, scope, and changeability. Before we dive into each of these areas, let us explore again what a mission statement and a vision statement mean.
Mission Statement: This is simply a summary of an establishment’s purpose, goals, and values. It answers the questions: Who are you, what do you do, and why do you exist?
Vision Statement: This is a statement that describes the clear and inspirational “long-term” desired final-state of an establishment.
So, what’s the difference between the two concepts? Let’s see.
Mission Statement talks about the present and about what you do and must do “every day” to achieve your set objectives as a company. It also explains why you do what you do and who benefits from it.
On the other hand, Vision Statement speaks about future objectives and about what an establishment hopes to achieve “some day”. Time factor is the prime differentiator of a company’s mission and vision.
A vision statement often focuses on a long-term ultimate dream, so unlike mission statement which involves shorter baby steps to achieve, it takes a look at the company’s overall bigger picture.
A popular saying goes: “With perseverance, the snail reached the ark.” Your company, as the snail (or cheetah!) stays on its mission, all the while having its efforts and mind fixated on its ultimate bigger end-goal: reaching the ark. Generally, it’s a matter of “who we are and why are here” (mission – just us) versus “what we want to become” (vision – something bigger).
A company’s mission is often more dynamic than its vision; emphasis “more”. While most establishments often have to revise or adjust their mission, their vision often remains the same.
For more on vision statements, check out our collection of 73 incredible vision statement examples to get you inspired.
Now it’s time to write your own mission statement, and we hope this article helps. It’s important that you take the time to understand all aspects of your business before you start this exercise.
Who are you (your company) and what is your purpose? Who do you sell to and what do you sell? Your mission statement answers these questions among similar others that we have examined.
Just some essentials to keep in mind: make it brief, clear, and direct. Infuse a little psychological (but genuine) tact into your mission statement, if you can, to appeal to the emotional side of your audience. Set realistic goals that align with your establishment’s purpose, values, and culture.
And if you still need further help crafting your own mission statement check out our article on how to create a mission statement.
Good luck on your brand journey! Thank you for taking the time to read this article on the purpose of a mission statement, and I hope to see you in the next one!