What's your opinion of mission statements? Do you use them or ignore them completely? Would you think differently if you saw what great brands do with mission statements?
I've updated this article and expanded the original eight examples to 27. Let me know what you think.
Mission Statements: Boring or Inspiring?
Generally, I find them boring beyond belief - so full of gobbledygook and hot air to be almost useless, and definitely boring, uninspiring, unintelligible...
(Check out The 9 Worst Mission Statements of All Time if you aren't convinced.)
And, yet, some mission statements surprise, delight, inspire and transform. They provide purpose. They guide and help unify organizations. They go hand-in-hand with the corporate culture. They also help guide a company's inbound marketing content strategy and business blogging.
I hadn't really thought much about mission statements until I read the first chapter of Denise Lee Yohn's book What Great Brands Do (see What Great Brands Do By Denise Lee Yohn).
There, she shares the example of IBM's Palmisano who inextricably links values with mission. This results in a close blending of the IBM mission with culture and values as well as into the fiber of the business and the essence of the IBM brand. No surprise that, at IBM, the mission is "used to inform business decisions and employee actions."
Since then, I've become curious about mission statements.
Just as I discovered in SEO Tips: Having Fun with Title Tags and Meta Descriptions, I'm finding that great brands waste no opportunity to share what they believe in. They consistently communicate what they are about. These aren't bland organizations. Rather these are businesses which practice what they preach and generate fierce loyalty internally from associates who believe fiercely in the mission and help define the culture.
These businesses consistently focus on customers and delivering remarkable experiences and they reflect that fierce consistency in their business blogs, in their customer interactions and in their mission statements.
27 Mission Statements to Get You Thinking
Discover for yourself with these 27 examples and let me know what you think. Eight* come from when I originally published this article in 2014; four are special requests and the rest include companies redefining market segments and the customer experience.
5. Big Ass Fans
23. Trader Joe's*
24. Tuft and Needle
26. Warby Parker
*Included in the original article published in 2014.
1. AirBnB's Mission is About Home
For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses. But really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere. That is the idea at the core of our company: belonging.
The COVID19 pandemic radically tested AirBnB leading the organization to refocus:
We are a community based on connection and belonging, and we will continue to design new ways to provide for it. We believe that we’ve only scratched the surface:
- We will focus on connection and belonging.
- We will prioritize the individual hosts who deliver it.
- We will invest in building our community.
As the world continues to change, people’s fundamental need for connection and belonging will not.
2. Amazon's Mission statement
According to a 2014 Amazon Fact sheet, the company's goal is: "To be Earth's most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.”
Amazon expands on this as follows:
"This goal continues today, but Amazon’s customers are worldwide now, and have grown to include millions of Consumers, Sellers, Content Creators, and Developers & Enterprises. Each of these groups has different needs, and we always work to meet those needs, innovating new solutions to make things easier, faster, better, and more cost-effective."
Everyone at Amazon strives to delight customers and make their lives easier.
And these are the Amazon leadership principles:
- Customer Obsession
- Invent and Simplify
- Are Right, A Lot
- Learn and Be Curious
- Hire and Develop the Best
- Insist on the Highest Standards
- Think Big
- Bias for Action
- Earn Trust
- Dive Deep
- Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
- Deliver Results
3. Apple's Mission
Apple's mission statement seems surprisingly dull and uninspiring.
"Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad."
Learn About Apple's Mission Statement? suggests that this statement which Tim Cook shares with new employees does a better job capturing what the company's mission is:
"Apple has always been different. A different kind of company with a different view of the world. It's a special place where we have the opportunity to create the best products on earth - products that change lives and help shape the future. It's a privilege we hold dear."
That article suggests that "Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it." serves as Apple's Mission.
Betterment describes its mission based on you-the customer-coming first:
We have one mission: To empower you to make the most of your money, so you can live better.
The company's mission page explains how it solves the old broken way of managing money using technology and proven investment strategies.
Fast forward to 2021 and the mission has evolved to answer the question: what should I do with my money?
Our mission is to provide the best possible answer to that question. From the cash you spend today to the money you save for tomorrow and beyond, your money is a connection to the things you want and the life you want to live.
When everyone has that answer, more people will be financially well and free to pursue happiness in their own way. Our world and our society will be more equitable and just. That’s why we started Betterment.
5. Big Ass Fans
Well, I couldn't locate a Big Ass Fans mission statement per se, however, the following gives you a good sense of the character and passion behind the company:
Big Ass Solutions designs, engineers, builds and sells industry leading products direct to our customers. We never compromise quality or service.
...And we’ve backed everything with serious research, intensive engineering, and an almost obsessive drive to innovate and improve. No matter what we’re doing, we go Big Ass every single day, and we’re not stopping.
Not to mention the sense of humor... Here's what that page emphasizes in 2021:
Big Ass Fans started by creating safer, more productive work environments in industrial facilities. But we didn’t stop there. Proven by our products’ performance, what started as a big idea became a workplace revolution and is now best practice for designers, managers, and business owners across every imaginable industry and application. Go to work, hit the gym, or enjoy a night on the town and chances are you’ll see a Big Ass fan [overhead] keeping the peace smoothly and silently. From factories to homes and everywhere in between, Big Ass fans deliver comfort, style, and energy savings that make life and work more enjoyable.
Perhaps the best way to describe Casper's mission is: Great sleep, made simple. Even the items Casper products ship with address how to sleep better.
Casper's expanded vision states,
We’re here to awaken the potential of a well-rested world.
7. Chipotle's Mission Statement
Chipotle's About Us page referred to "The Business of Good Food." In 2014, that page detailed the following:
"...Our focus has always been on using higher-quality ingredients and cooking techniques to make great food accessible to all people at reasonable prices. But our vision has evolved. While using a variety of fresh ingredients remains the foundation of our menu, we believe that "fresh is not enough, anymore." Now we want to know the sources for all of our ingredients, so that we can be sure they are as flavorful as possible while we are mindful of the environmental and societal impact of our business. We call this idea, Food With Integrity, and it guides how we run our business."
In 2017, that page detailed the Chipotle mission as follows:
"Over 23 years later, our devotion to seeking out the very best ingredients we can--raised with respect for animals, farmers, and the environment--remains at the core of our commitment to Food With Integrity. And as we've grown, our mission has expanded to ensuring that better food is accessible to everyone."
We believe that food has the power to change the world. We do it by being real.
Chipotle was born of the radical belief that there is a connection between how food is raised and prepared, and how it tastes. Real is better. Better for You, Better for People, Better for Our Planet. It may be the hard way to do things, but it’s the right way.
8. Delta Airlines
I couldn't locate a mission statement on Delta's site. However, on Chegg Study, I found the following:
“We—Delta’s employees, customers, and community partners together form a force for positive local and global change, dedicated to bettering standards of living and the environment where we and our customers live and work.”
On About Delta, the following could stand for a mission statement:
Every year, nearly 200 million travelers trust Delta to get them where they’re going. But to us, travel is about more than just bringing people to a place. It’s about bringing people together.
9. Disney's Mission
Here is how the Disney Company describes its mission:
The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.
Here's how that mission has evolved in 2021:
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.
10. Drybar's Heart & Soul
No mission statement, however a powerful statement of being described as "The Heart and Soul of Drybar" that a video brings to life to describe the 10 Core Values & Beliefs of the company which consist of:
1) It’s the Experience: The single most important part of the Drybar experience is the way we make people feel. We are committed to making our clients feel like a million bucks.
2) It’s not just Blowouts: It’s confidence. And happiness. It’s artistry and quality.
3) Be Yourself: Tattoos, piercings, quirky laugh and all! It’s what makes you special and interesting. As Gaga says, “I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way.”
4) Embrace the Power of Random Acts of Kindness: Selfless acts of kindness make someone’s moment/day/week. This defines you, you define us.
5) Have Fun: Laugh, smile, dance! Look beautiful! Life is too short to be someplace lame.
6) Always be Growing: There is tremendous opportunity ahead for all of us. You commit to helping us grow and we’ll do the same for you.
7) Nothing is Sexier than Honesty and Humility: Arrogance and cockiness are gross. Actions speak louder than words. Be sexy.
Provide happiness, confidence, and empowerment to people of all hair types in Drybar shops and at home.
And the following vision focused specifically on the blowout:
At Drybar, our philosophy is simple: Focus on one thing and be the best at it. For us, that’s blowouts.
With that purpose in mind, we are focused on providing the best professional quality beauty products, tools, and services to create and maintain the perfect blowout for all individual hair types.
According to Facebook Investor Relations, the company's mission statement is,
Founded in 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.
This statement now appears on About Facebook:
Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
12. Google's Mission Statement
When this article originally published in 2014, you could immediately locate the Google mission and company philosophy on the 'about us' page.
"Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."
The company philosophy listed the following 10 values that Google holds to be true:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
The current About Us Google page captures that mission visually.
As of 2021, Google's mission statement remains focused on organizing information and making it accessible and useful. No change.
Meditation app Headspace describes its mission as follows:
Headspace has one mission: to improve the health and happiness of the world.
Similarly, it hasn't changed. I personally use Headspace and feel that it has improved my health and happiness.
14. HubSpot's Mission Statement
I'm a big admirer of HubSpot, but had never paid much attention to their mission statement. I'm immersed in their culture - thanks to the many talented and passionate HubSpotters I interact with daily - and am delighted at how closely their mission statement and culture code maps out to what I have experienced:
"To make the world Inbound. We want to transform how organizations attract, engage and delight their customers."
The HubSpot culture code includes the following ten points:
1. We are as maniacal about our metrics as our mission.
2. We obsess over customers, not competitors.
3. We are radically and uncomfortably transparent.
4. We give ourselves the autonomy to be awesome.
5. We are unreasonably selective about our peers.
6. We invest in individual mastery and market value.
7. We defy conventional “wisdom” as it’s often unwise.
8. We speak the truth and face the facts.
9. We believe in work+life, not work vs. life.
10. We are a perpetual work in progress.
Since 2017, HubSpot has evolved from the notion of inbound to an inbound ecosystem to help business grow better and its mission statement reflects those changes:
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.
At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
The current iteration is as follows:
We have a passion for life at home. Our culture is built upon enthusiasm, togetherness and a “get-it-done” attitude. We’re optimists, constantly looking for new and better ways to do things, from how to design a rocking chair that fits into a flat-pack, to creating LED light bulbs that are affordable to everyone. Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people – for customers, but also for our co-workers and the people who work at our suppliers....
While our vision tells us why we exist, our business idea tells us what we want to achieve. And for everyone that has visited IKEA, our business idea is pretty obvious – “to offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low, that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
"Our mission is to reconnect people through transportation and bring communities together."
I'm more familiar with Uber than Lyft; given the other company's recent issues, I find the Lyft mission intensely human.
That mission has evolved and now says:
"Improve People’s Lives With the World’s Best Transportation."
Interestingly, Lyft wants everyone to understand its mission and makes use of any opportunity to do so digitally, via social media as well as interviews. Check out How Lyft Consistently Shares Its Big Mission To Make It Stick from Forbes.
Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
That hasn't changed.
18. Nordstrom's Commitment
When it comes to Nordstrom, the mission - no surprise given its reputation - is about remarkable customer service.
"In store or online, wherever new opportunities arise—Nordstrom works relentlessly to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. The one constant? John W. Nordstrom's founding philosophy: offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value."
When I updated this page on 8/14/17, the Nordstrom About Us page included this powerful statement:
"Fashion changes. Shopping changes. Our commitment to happy customers doesn't."
That has since been updated with the following:
"An incredible eye for what's next in fashion. A passionate drive to exceed expectations. For more than 100 years, we've worked to deliver the best possible shopping experience, helping our customers express their style—not just buy fashion.
Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion specialty retailer offering compelling clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children. Since 1901, we've been committed to providing our customers with the best possible service—and to improving it every day."
19. Southwest Airlines
About Southwest describes that,
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.
The company follows that immediately with a commitment to its employees:
We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.
Here's what you'll find in 2021 about Southwest's purpose:
Connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.
Squarespace which enables beautiful, easy-to-manage websites says that,
Squarespace makes beautiful products to help people with creative ideas succeed.
The company's values include:
Being their own customer - their site is built on Squarespace.
Design not being a luxury
Permission to only release products when they meet Squarespace's standards
Optimizing toward ideals. "Our values and ideals are our decision making guide."
And, my favorite, simplifying.
As of 2021, you'll find "Helping Creative Ideas Succeed" as the overriding focus of Squarespace. The values have evolved as follows:
- Be the customer
- Design is not a luxury
- Build the ideal.
- Learn fast. Act fast.
- Protect creativity.
21. Starbucks Mission and Values
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
It hasn't changed. And its values include,
- Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
- Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
- Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
- Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.
The mission of Tesla is about sustainable transportation:
Our goal when we created Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.
In 2021, that mission has been distilled as follows:
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
23. Tuft & Needle
Mattress company Tuft and Needle says,
We believe in quality craftsmanship without the gimmicks. We work with the best to get the best. And then we sell the best, for exactly the price it should cost. It's the very simple system at the heart of everything we make.
We support American manufacturing. All of our mattresses are designed and crafted in the U.S.A.
In 2018, Tuft & Needle merged with Serta Simmons Bedding. Here are the bold statements it now holds itself to:
... We are working together to bring the customer to the forefront of every mattress purchase and transform the industry on a massive scale.
Together, we are radically reshaping how we think about sleep, mattresses, and shopping—and we’re just getting started.
24. Trader Joe's Mission Statement
About.com for the Retail Industry described Trader Joe's mission as,
"The mission of Trader Joe's is to give our customers the best food and beverage values that they can find anywhere and to provide them with the information required to make informed buying decisions.
We provide these with a dedication to the highest quality of customer satisfaction delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, fun, individual pride, and company spirit."
That reference is no longer available.
You'll find this statement on Trader Joe's About Us page:
We are committed to providing our customers outstanding value in the form of the best quality products at the best everyday prices. Through our rewarding products and knowledgeable, friendly Crew Members, we have been transforming grocery shopping into a welcoming journey full of discovery and fun since 1967.
Continue on and you'll discover considerable detail as to what constitutes value.
"...And that’s important, because “Value” is a concept we take very seriously. And by ‘Value,’ we mean great everyday prices on all of our great products — no sales, no gimmicks, no clubs to join, no special cards to swipe... How do we do it?
It’s not complicated. We just focus on what matters — great food + great prices = Value."
25. The Virgin Mission Statement
Virgin's mission statement remains the same, despite new ownership.
"Our mission statement is simple, yet the foundation of everything we do here at Virgin Atlantic Airways... to embrace the human spirit and let it fly."
26. Warby Parker's Mission
Warby Parker's history starts with this statement: "Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses."
It then further details that,
We started Warby Parker to create an alternative.
By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, we’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price.
We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.
We also believe that everyone has the right to see.
27. Zappos' Mission Statement
The mission statement of Zappos.com, also referred to by Zappos employees as their "WOW Philosophy," is... "To provide the best customer service possible."
This goes hand-in-hand with the Zappos Family Core Values to which everyone in the company contributes on a yearly basis:
Deliver WOW Through Service
Embrace and Drive Change
Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
Pursue Growth and Learning
Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
Do More With Less
Be Passionate and Determined
More Great Brand Mission Statement Inspiration
Richard Branson on "Crafting Your Mission Statement" (sadly, the link is no longer available) shared the following brilliance,
"Brevity is certainly key, so try using Twitter's 140-character template when you're drafting your inspirational message. You need to explain your company's purpose and outline expectations for internal and external clients alike. Make it unique to your company, make it memorable, keep it real and, just for fun, imagine it on the bottom of a coat of arms."
If you need advice on creating your own mission statement, check out the following two resources:
Mission Statements to Add to this List?
What's your reaction to these mission statements?
Which companies would you add to the list? How's your mission or statement of business purpose? What other content does it affect and how?
For many organizations, a mission statement guides the tone that you hear reflected in every communication vehicle, as well as the type of content you are committed to sharing on your website, your blog, and your social channels.
Note: This article was originally published on 5/1/2014. It was updated on 8/14/2017 and expanded on 10/10/17 to include more examples.