Sweetgreen: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
Le Creuset: Le Creuset is focused on inspiring and empowering people everywhere to make joy through cooking.
Sperry: To ignite the human spirit through the power of sea-based discovery and adventure.
Spotify: To 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.
Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
GE: To invent the next industrial era, to build, move, power and cure the world.
Trek: To aid in the betterment of our planet through cycling.
TED: Spread ideas.
Stitch Fix: To change the way people find clothes they love by combining technology with the personal touch of seasoned style experts.
Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Framebridge: To make it easy for you to tell your story by framing the things you love.
Etsy: Keep commerce human.
Apple: 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.
Disney: 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.
Target: Our mission is to make Target your preferred shopping destination in all channels by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional guest experiences by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise.
Not only should it, speak to and inspire your audience, but it should guide and motivate your employees, and should explain why you do what you do.
That’s a lot to pack into just a few words.
But don’t worry. You don’t necessarily need to include everything in your statement. Mission statements work in tandem with a company’s purpose and values, helping define corporate culture and how a brand interacts within its walls and with the outside world. The other branding element in your arsenal is the value proposition, which, as an explanation that speaks directly to your target audience as to why you’re unique, is a more salesy cousin to the mission statement.
Brands of all shapes, sizes, and values have created brilliant mission statements by staying true to themselves and defining what drives them.
Whether you’re new to the mission statement game and crafting one from scratch, or if you’re reworking an existing statement to better reflect your brand’s purpose, a review of some powerful mission statement examples can help spark a creative flame.
Here are 12 of our favorites (and 3 that might just put you to sleep).
The mission: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
Why it works: This is a case where nearly every word in the statement plays a key role.
Health-food provider Sweetgreen digs deeper than merely relating what it does and connects its mission to how it sources and prepares meals while working to improve the communities in which its restaurants are located.
With sustainability and transparency as part of Sweetgreen’s “food ethos”—the company actually lists the local farms it uses next to an ingredients list. It has also partnered with the ASPCA to improve animal welfare—they’ve definitely gone all-in on its “real food” pledge.
By doing this, Sweetgreen is defining their why and closely tying its mission both to its values and to those of its audience.
The mission: Le Creuset is focused on inspiring and empowering people everywhere to make joy through cooking.
Why it works: Le Creuset provides cookware for the at-home chef, but its mission statement is speaking to how it wants its audience to feel: empowered and joyful.
In its About page, the company talks about how cooking has evolved from a necessity to a “pursuit of pleasure.” And, for its more affluent customer base, Le Creuset provides the right tools for the job when it comes to creating and serving meals at home.
The mission: To ignite the human spirit through the power of sea-based discovery and adventure.
Why it works: Sperry does a good job of defining the parameters (“sea-based discovery”) within which it operates. This narrow focus also helps to define its audience and connects back to the company’s roots.
Notice that it also doesn’t mention its product at all.
The company, founded by a sailor looking for footwear that provides traction on a boat deck, sells shoes and clothing to those who certainly look like they just stepped off a boat (without slipping).
The idea of “sea-based discovery and adventure” tracks to the type of clothing it provides, but focuses on the values of its audience and the outcome of using the product, as opposed to the product itself.
The mission: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Why it works: Patagonia's mission statement lays out exactly what it does and what the public can expect from it.
While the organization may attract criticism when it makes a political statement, its mission statement makes no secret of what it stands for.
Patagonia’s actions and value have a direct correlation to its mission.
The sporting goods provider is famously known for environmental protection and taking a stand to fight climate change, and it backs this up by donating 1% of its sales to grassroots environmental groups and engineering its stores and products to leave a minimal footprint.
The mission: To aid in the betterment of our planet through cycling.
Why it works: Trek’s statement works well on three levels.
First, it keeps it simple. As a creator of bicycles and cycling apparel and accessories, there’s little ambiguity into what Trek does when it puts the word “cycling” up front in its mission statement.
Second, with the lead in of aiding “in the betterment of our planet,” Trek is defining what drives it. Scroll through the company’s website, and you’ll learn that it believes “the bicycle is a simple solution to the world’s complex problems.”
Trek’s actions support this with heavy involvement in social responsibility and sustainability. It’s involvement with organizations like DreamBikes “provides teens in disadvantaged neighborhoods with hands-on, paid job training to open up future employment opportunities and make a difference in their lives.”
In addition to building green facilities and working to reduce production waste, Trek has also worked to restore the native forest around its headquarters.
Trek’s mission statement is consistent with its values and actions and by doing so stays true to itself. Consumers reward companies that are authentic and will notice when a company takes action that goes against its mission. Trek shows that it practices what it preaches.
The mission: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Why it works: Nike’s mission both tells the story of what the brand does and sets the bar for future corporate strategy.
The statement is broad and leaves space for interpretation, but also reflects the values and purpose Nike adheres to.
The company further explains, “Our mission is what drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.”
Why it works: Retail platform Etsy combines simplicity with its purpose to build a statement that can guide the brand’s strategy while appealing to its customers. The statement, as Etsy puts it, does double-duty: “It guides our day-to-day decisions while inspiring us to think big for the long term.” The juxtaposition of “commerce” and “human” spins a rather cold word with the personal. By doing this, Etsy is setting up the perceived problem—that the business world can be impersonal and scary—so that it can solve it by making it approachable.
Don’t Be Boring
We move from the clever and the simple to mission statements that are cumbersome and structured—not exactly what you’d expect from companies known for their innovation and customer fanaticism. These statements don’t totally miss the mark, but they aren’t exactly inspiring either.
The mission: 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.
What needs work: Apple’s telling us what it does and what it’s accomplished, but this statement leaves little space for aspiration. Compared with the company’s previous mission statement—“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind”—as it is now, this mission reads more like a fact sheet than something that could be used to guide corporate strategy or inspire anyone.
The mission: 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.
What needs work: Given how Disney has famously prioritized its immersive experiences and putting the customer first, this mission statement certainly could use some help from the Imagineers. While it doesn’t completely fall short—working to be “one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information” is ambitious and aspirational—this lacks the personality and fun the brand is known for.
The mission: Our mission is to make Target your preferred shopping destination in all channels by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional guest experiences by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise.
What needs work: Target does a good job here of addressing the customer directly but falls short on inspiration as it devolves into a laundry list of corporate objectives. The language it uses isn’t full of insider vocabulary, but it does stray toward the land of the buzzwords. A mission statement should be able to stand the test of time and show off a brand’s sense of purpose, something that can easily be degraded by using jargon. Target is also using precious real estate to discuss its brand promise, which departs from the purpose of the mission statement. Having a brand promise is a good thing and should relate to the mission, but both elements should be able to stand on their own.