This article is part of a larger series on Starting a Business.
A mission statement is a short, meaningful sentence (or several sentences) that summarizes the purpose that drives your business. A good mission statement says why you do what you do. When a company considers new opportunities, it relies on the mission to make appropriate decisions. Additionally, when the business is sold to a new owner, the mission statement continues the company’s legacy.
Here are 21 powerful company mission statement examples:
1. Google: Organize the World’s Information
“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
In 2014, Google changed its mission statement from “Don’t be evil” to “Organize the World’s Information.” This reflected a change in the overall ethos of the company. “Don’t be evil” has a negative connotation and implies evil as something the company can and may do. Google’s current mission statement provides a positive direction for the company.
Google’s current mission statement is effective because it indicates that providing information isn’t good enough. Information must be organized. Additionally, Google’s products are not only for the United States, but the entire world. This worldly approach makes Google consider every country. Additionally, how Google presents information must be available to everyone regardless of their background.
2. Starbucks: Inspire & Nurture the Human Spirit
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks is a coffee company and coffeehouse chain. It starts its mission statement with a vague statement, followed by specifics on how it will act. Starbucks starts the mission statement with “inspire and nurture,” which is a warm way to encourage others. It’s followed by “the human spirit,” which is intangible, but conveys a combination of features like intellect, emotions, and creativity. Starbucks wants to create an environment for people to grow.
Starbucks ends the mission statement with specifics on how to act on the first part, “one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” This keeps the company focused on the present. Working with one person could be any interaction with another employee or customer. One cup keeps the focus on the quality of the coffee. One neighborhood ensures Starbucks’ over 30,000 stores focus on the community, not just the retail store.
3. Nike: To Bring Inspiration & Innovation to Every Athlete
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world”
*If you have a body, you are an athlete.
Nike is a sports apparel and shoe manufacturer and retail store. Nike does something out of the ordinary with its mission statement and includes an asterisk on the world “athlete,” which we’ll break down in a moment. It starts its mission statement with the word “bring.” This indicates that it’s bringing products and content to its customers, versus its customers coming to them.
The mission statement follows up with “inspiration and innovation.” Inspiration can come in the form of marketing and content; innovation comes into play with apparel. Nike wraps up its mission with “every athlete in the world,” indicating it wants a worldwide reach. After the word “athlete” is an asterisk that says “if you have a body, you are an athlete.” This statement broadens the definition of “athlete” to everyone.
4. Puma: To Be the Fastest Sports Brand in the World
“To be the fastest sports brand in the world.”
Puma is a shoe and clothing retailer with an athletic focus. Its mission statement is more vague than the typical mission statement. “Fastest” is open to interpretation, which may be a strength. Fastest could also be a reminder for employees to work fast and get new products released to the public quickly. Puma may also want to act the fastest on clothing trends. In terms of Puma’s customers, “faster” with the combination of “sports” is a nod to athletes who want to excel.
Puma also included “in the world” to show its global reach. Mentioning the world also shows that its products aren’t only focused on athletes in the United States, but also countries all over the world. This global focus may give Puma employees the encouragement to think about apparel trends around the world, not just the U.S.
5. Sony: To Be a Company That Inspires & Fulfills Your Curiosity
“To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity. Our unlimited passion for technology, content, services, and relentless pursuit of innovation drives us to deliver ground-breaking new excitement and entertainment in ways that only Sony can.”
Sony is a multinational conglomerate that runs businesses in electronics, gaming, entertainment, and financial services. Sony operates in several industries, so its mission statement is more vague and centers around ideals.
Regarding customers, Sony wants to inspire and fulfill curiosity. Sony wants its products and services to not only fulfill a need, but go beyond and be inspirational. Sony’s “relentless pursuit of innovation” is a direction for employees to keep thinking outside the box to discover new ways to excite and entertain customers.
6. Facebook: Give People the Power to Build Community
“Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
Facebook starts its mission statement by focusing on its users. The social media platform isn’t made great by what it creates, but by what its users create. Facebook follows up with the word “power,” which means the control of Facebook is in the users’ hands, not the company’s. The mission statement wraps up the first part with “build community.” This tells users and employees that the products Facebook creates are intended to bring people together.
Facebook’s mission statement wraps up by including the entire world. Facebook isn’t just for a certain country or demographic. It’s being designed for the world to use, and by using it, it will bring everyone closer together.
7. Water.org: To Bring Safe Water & Sanitation to the World
“To bring safe water and sanitation to the world.”
Water.org is a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean drinking water and sanitation to developing parts of the world. The organization starts its mission statement with “bring,” which indicates it is going to its customers and implementing services. Compare “bring” to the word “provide”—provide is more passive than bring. Providing water is much different than bringing water to someone in need.
Water.org continues its mission to include “safe water,” which is important because many of its customers have water, but it is not safe. This phrase can include services like sanitizing water, not just bringing safe water. Water.org finished up with “and sanitation to the world.” Sanitation opens up its organization to providing bathroom-related services (which can contaminate drinking water).
8. Verizon: We Deliver the Promise of the Digital World to Our Customers
“We deliver the promise of the digital world to our customers. We make their innovative lifestyles possible. We do it all through the most reliable network and the latest technology.”
Verizon is a telecommunications, technology, and entertainment company. Its mission statement starts with “deliver the promise of the digital world to our customers,” which shows it will not only create, but bring digital technologies to its customers. Verizon brings its creations to customers through retail stores.
In the mission statement’s second sentence, Verizon is focused on not just products, but lifestyles. Verizon wants to create a deeper meaning with its customers by changing and improving how they live through innovation. The third sentence in Verizon’s mission statement makes a specific nod to its cellular technology with it being “reliable and the latest technology.” This means it wants its network to be known as the most accessible and innovative.
9. Southwest Airlines: Dedication to Highest Quality Customer Service
“Dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.”
Southwest Airlines’ mission statement begins with “dedication to the highest quality of customer service,” which places a focus on its employees instead of products or a general statement on the airline industry. The word “dedication” is a more formal word, indicating that the employees are loyal and always on the side of the customer.
Southwest follows the more general beginning of the mission statement with specifics, “with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” This is a direct nod to what employees can provide for its customers. It also provides a mantra for employees, including having pride in working at Southwest and embodying the company’s spirit.
10. IKEA: Offer a Wide Range of Well-designed, Functional Home Furnishings
“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.”
IKEA is a manufacturer that sells low-priced furniture online and at retail locations. Its mission statement stems from a quote by one of its founders, Ingvar Kamprad (shown above). Right from the beginning of the mission statement, IKEA establishes that it wants to sell a “wide range” of products. This is evident in its stores, which are about 300,000 square feet (five football fields).
IKEA’s mission statement goes on to state “functional home furnishing products,” which means the furniture design must be useful and works well in the home. It wraps up the mission statement with a clear mention of low prices. But IKEA doesn’t stop there—it brings a warmer element than just “low prices.” IKEA phrases it: “as many people as possible will be able to afford them.” This brings a human element into the furniture creation process.
11. Patagonia: Build the Best Product
“Build the best product. Cause no unnecessary harm. Use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Patagonia is a clothing company specializing in outdoor wear. It starts its mission statement focusing on the product it’s creating. It wants to “build the best product.” “Build” indicates that it wants to actually make the product, not sell someone else’s.
“Cause no unnecessary harm” applies not only to the environment, but also to customers and employees. This sentence ensures employees think about the consequences of their actions. Regarding the last sentence, Patagonia knows it cannot solve every environmental crisis in the world. Patagonia may be able to assist with a few, and for the ones it can’t, it wants to serve as a role model and inspire others to do good as well.
12. Fit Small Business: To Deliver the Best Answers to People’s Questions
“To deliver the best answers to people’s questions.”
Fit Small Business is an online resource for business owners. There is a lot of information packed into its short mission statement. “Deliver” means Fit Small Business providing the information to the reader. Long term, this may steer the company to pursue different content strategies based on where the small business reader is spending time online.
“Best answers” means the content Fit Small Business provides must be better than other answers already out there. “Best” is undefined and left up to readers and employees to determine. “People’s questions” means Fit Small Business is listening to small business owners and employees to better understand what they have questions about.
13. Mary Kay: Enriching the Lives of Women & Their Families Around the World
“Enriching the lives of women and their families around the world, with an unparalleled business opportunity.”
Mary Kay is a multilevel marketing company that sells beauty-related products. Since the main consumer of Mary Kay products is women, it starts its mission statement by directly saying “enriching the lives of women.” Focusing on women adds a feminine essence to the branding and products they create.
After women, Mary Kay’s mission statement includes “families.” This phrase opens its products up to teenagers as well. Additionally, Mary Kay makes sure to say “around the world” to include a global audience. Since the business largely runs on independent sales reps, Mary Kay wraps up the mission statement with “unparalleled business opportunity.” This ensures Mary Kay is considering the experience of its business owners.
14. Tesla: Accelerate the World’s Transition to Sustainable Energy
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Tesla is an automotive and energy company specializing in the electric car. Tesla starts its mission statement by using the word “accelerate.” This indicates that not only should Tesla move fast with innovating and creating products, but it should get even faster as time goes on. Tesla follows that up with “world’s,” showing that it’s a global company.
“Transition” is a phrase to show that Tesla is changing conventional thinking. Any transition may get messy and people may not like it at first. Transition is a temporary word with change built into it. Tesla wraps up the mission statement with “sustainable energy,” which means it’s focused not just on the vehicle, but what the vehicle does, which helps provide sustainable energy.
15. Harley-Davidson: We Fulfill Dreams Through the Experiences of Motorcycling
“We fulfill dreams through the experiences of motorcycling by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.”
Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle manufacturer and retailer. The company starts its mission statement focusing on the customer’s dreams. The idea of riding and traveling on a motorcycle is a fantasy for millions of its customers. To fulfill this dream, Harley-Davidson will provide not only “motorcyclists” but also “the general public” more and newer motorcycles and products.
“Selected market segments” means that Harley-Davidson is focusing on the different demographics of its customers. These market segments may provide direction for the type of products it creates, how it markets those products, and how it interacts with customers. Men vs women, older vs younger, and city vs rural may all be demographics that are interested in different Harley-Davidson products, and each may contain different marketing strategies.
16. Philips: We Strive to Make the World Healthier & More Sustainable Through Innovation
Philips places the focus on customers and their needs in its mission statement. Source
“We strive to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation.”
Philips is one of the largest electronics companies in the world, with a focus on healthcare and lighting. In its mission statement, the company has a focus on both of its largest businesses. Before stating either of the missions, Philips includes the word “world” to show it’s focused on more than just a handful of countries.
“Healthier” is a nod to its healthcare businesses. It’s simple and indicates Philips want to improve human life. “Sustainable” is a nod to its lighting companies. Philips wraps up its mission statement with “innovation,” which shows that it will make the world healthier and more sustainable by creating new products.
17. McDonald’s: To Be Our Customers’ Favorite Place
“To be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.”
McDonald’s mission statement is simple and to the point. The beginning of the mission statement says “be our customers.” Right away McDonald’s is focusing on its customers and not products or employees. It also uses the word “place” to make it less about the food and more about the physical environment.
McDonald’s uses the word “way,” which may include drive-thru and to-go, in addition to dining in. It wraps up the mission statement to include both food and beverages. The beverages is a nod to the coffee portion of the fast food business.
18. Chobani: To Bring High-quality Yogurt to More People
“To bring high-quality yogurt to more people and create positive change in our country’s food culture.”
Chobani is a dairy processor specializing in Greek yogurt. Chobani chooses to focus on the product in the beginning of its mission statement. “High-quality yogurt” means more than just a good-tasting product, but also passing food inspections in the dairy industry. The sentence follows with “to more people,” which means Chobani is focused on expanding its current customer base, which could impact product creation and marketing.
The end of the mission statement has broader messaging about the state of food: “create positive change in our country’s food culture.” That could mean both nutritionally and with the process of creating food. “Culture” is a term that has different interpretations—it could mean how its customers speak and interact with the food they eat as well.
19. TED: Spread Ideas
TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design. It’s most well-known for its under 20-minute presentations covering different ideas. TED’s mission statement is as simple as it can get, while at the same time providing direction for the company. “Spread” means TED is focused on delivering and sharing. It needs to earn revenue for its organization, but it also wants to provide talks that are affordable to everyone in the world. While attending a TED talk may cost over $100, the company’s free YouTube videos have been viewed more than 1.6 billion times.
The other word in TED’s mission statement is “ideas.” This word keeps TED laser-focused on helping others share ideas. To give a TED talk, you must have an idea worth sharing.
20. Automattic: To Democratize Publishing & Development
“The mission of Automattic and WordPress is to democratize publishing and development.”
Automattic is a web development corporation and creator of the website platform WordPress. Something unique with its mission statement is that Automattic incorporates its better-known brand with the name of its company. That may be a solid strategy for a public-facing mission statement for a company name that is not well-known.
Automattic follows the beginning of its mission statement with “to democratize publishing and development.” This focuses not just on creating websites and content publicly, but also to support the developers who are creating and building the software. The second part of Automattic’s mission statement nicely ties together both the front-end and back-end of its WordPress software.
21. eBay: Be the World’s Favorite Destination for Discovering Great Value
“Be the world’s favorite destination for discovering great value and unique selection.”
eBay is an ecommerce company that facilities consumer-to-consumer sales. Right away, eBay’s mission statement focuses on the “world.” After that, it says “favorite destination,” which can encompass several parts of its ecommerce platform. “Favorite destination” focuses on an overall enjoyable experience.
eBay continues with “discovering great value,” which places an emphasis on the functionality of its product search feature. Customers have to use the eBay’s search to find great prices within its own platform, in addition to competitor platforms. eBay wraps up its mission statement with “unique selection,” which is both a competitive advantage and a nod to encouraging customers to upload all types of products to sell.
The mission statement is a must-have for any growing organization. Learn from the above mission statement examples to shape your own unique statement. You may not know your mission when you first start your company; however, once you determine your main revenue generator, it’s time to nail down a statement. As your business evolves or acquires additional companies, your mission statement may evolve as well.