No matter what a company offers, the mission statement is the rally-cry for employees to come together for a “greater good.” Mission statements are a useful way to make sure that all different functions of the company are focused on a cohesive goal, as well as to brag about your offering to the world. When facing hard decisions on budgets or controversial ad placement, you can return to your mission statement to justify your choice.
It’s easy to get it wrong. There are some mission statements that are lengthy, meandering, and boring. Some companies don’t have a mission statement at all! If you are worried about re-working your mission statement or starting a new business and need a guide, I’ve compiled a list of golden rules to follow and examples of mission statements from companies who do it well!
1. Use simple language
This election cycle, newspapers made the argument that politicians should speak in simple, fifth-grade-level language to resonate with voters. Depending on your target audience, your company mission statement should also use appropriately simple language. You don’t want your employees or consumers consulting a dictionary when reading about your core values. Utilize short sentences with basic structure and vocabulary that could be understood by an eighth-grade graduate.
Airbnb’s Mission Statement
Airbnb lets people offer their homes to strangers to stay in while visiting. Their simple, two-word mission is all they need to drive the point home.
WeWork’s Mission Statement
Create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living.
WeWork offers office space for small companies, traveling employees, freelancers, and startups. The space is usually open (no cubicles!) and is a great place to grow your business through networking with those who share the space.
Square’s Mission Statement
Make commerce easy.
You probably recognize Square as the little white card-swipe widely used at farmer’s markets or craft fairs. The business has been growing rapidly, spreading to brick-and-mortar stores as credit cards are becoming the norm in shopping transactions.
Toys R Us’ Mission Statement
Be the world’s greatest kid’s brand.
Self-explanatory! Who didn’t dream of a trip to Toys R Us as a kid? I still have my stuffed Geoffrey the Giraffe…
TED’s Mission Statement
A nonprofit foundation, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) hosts conferences around the world to share ideas and “spark conversation.” You might know them as TED Talks or TEDx, probably in a university or city near you; the talks may be long and dive into complicated issues, but their mission only needs two words.
2. Show Your Unique Value
This is the hook for your prospects. When you are selling your product or services, let your customers know why you are the best choice out there – what their business will help you to achieve, as well as what you can help them achieve.
Imagine your company runs an international internet-based voice-call mobile app. And the mission statement is currently, “Talk more.” But…why?!
Instead, the mission statement could be reworked to include an inspirational or motivational element, such as, “Talk more. Share news, culture, and perspective from anywhere in the world.”
Burt’s Bees’ Mission Statement
Make people’s lives better every day—naturally.
Known for their distinct yellow-wrapped lip balms that can make you cry if you rub it under your eyes (a fun trick if you’re in fifth grade), they use natural ingredients to create eco-friendly cosmetics. Highly recommend their lip balm for lifeguards, not only does it turn your lips white, it really does work.
WordStream’s Mission Statement
Bring the power of online marketing to businesses of all sizes.
Our goal at WordStream is to empower businesses to tackle and conquer the digital marketing landscape. We have found that small and mid-sized businesses need the most help, which is why we offer a platform that makes digital marketing easier!
TOMS Shoes’ Mission Statement
Improving lives. One for one.
A for-profit company that gives one pair of canvas shoes or eyeglasses to a person in need when another pair is purchased. Though the “One for one” verbiage is vague, it embodies the mission of TOMS in a comprehensive way for their employees and customers.
Zappos’ Mission Statement
Provide the best customer service possible.
Zappos was created because the founder couldn’t find the precise pair of shoes he wanted to buy. Since 1999, it has been making shoe-shopping easier and letting us know that the customer is always right. In fact, Zappos has clocked record-long customer service calls, with one at 10 hours and 29 minutes. They call this the “WOW philosophy.”
Lowe’s Mission Statement
Help customers improve and maintain their biggest asset – their home.
Lowe’s value is obvious in their mission statement; the company was built around home improvement.
Amazon’s Mission Statement
Be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.
Amazon is the most convenient online space to buy anything and everything, but they are also known for providing excellent customer service.
3. Make it memorable
Ideally, your mission statement will become a mantra for your employees and consumers. At WordStream, each month we recognize employees who have embodied our core values, which has become a bit of a funny way to tease and encourage our team. When someone goes out of their way to help on a project, they could be met with a cheer, “Yeah, Michelle! Winning together!” At my last company, we would goad our managers with, “Are you being open, honest, and direct?”
Though it sounds silly, it’s a sign that your employees appreciate and embrace what the company ultimately stands for.
Cuisinart’s Mission Statement
Savor the good life.
The ultimate wedding present, famously used by Julia Child, is a Cuisinart food processor. I like the word “savor” in this mission statement, alluding to the culinary products Cuisinart sells—food makes the world go ‘round!
Life is Good Mission Statement
Spread the power of optimism.
Per Life is Good, “Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. Life is good.” The Life is Good community uses their “Superpowers” of good to spread optimism through this happy clothing line. They even have this fun diagram to show how you, too, can spread optimism!
Starbucks’ Mission Statement
Inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
This mission statement is particularly memorable because Starbucks is so popular but also known for showing the power of the human spirit through their decorative coffee cups. Controversial opinion: I personally love the new holiday cup…
Walmart’s Mission Statement
Save people money so they can live better.
Like Toys R Us, this mission statement doesn’t need much explanation and if you’ve ever had cable television or shopped at a Walmart, this slogan is probably familiar to you.
4. Look at the bigger picture
The best company mission statements include the over-arching reason why the business exists and how they are bettering the world. Whether it is for the accessibility of information, saving the planet, seeking equality, or fighting poverty, the “bigger picture” can be the guiding principle for growth and engagement.
Ann Inc. Mission Statement
Inspire and connect with women to put their best selves forward every day.
Ann Taylor’s mission is not just to clothe professional women but also to encourage them to be the best. Feminism, yeah!
Google’s Mission Statement
Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
This may be the most well-known mission statement since Google is the biggest company, and possibly most impactful, on this list. Bigger picture, meet the G.
Aveda’s Mission Statement
Care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society.
Aveda has salons, spas, training institutes, and hair products worldwide which strive to treat the “planet we live in with care and respect.”
Naked Juice’s Mission Statement
Making the whole planet feel better. One bottle at a time.
Naked Juice, the square-bottled smoothie drink company, has a mission statement with a high order, involving the whole planet, but shows the value and bigger picture well.
Warby Parker’s Mission Statement
Offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.
Like TOMS, Warby Parker also has a one for one policy, giving glasses to people in need with each purchase of full, but still reasonably priced, glasses. If the four people with shiny new Warby Parker glasses on our marketing team at WordStream is any indication, it’s working!
Please share your own company mission statements! We love to be inspired.