Mission 101 Series
Mission statements should inspire.
It’s clear that mission statements are impactful. They set the tone for your organization and create guidelines for how your organization makes decisions, communicates and operates.
**Update: this article has been updated for 2023 to ensure mission statement accuracy across the organizations listed!**
We’ve also established the difference between a mission statement vs. a vision statement.
If you’ve not read them yet, I encourage you to do so now before continuing on with this article.
Now we are ready to examine mission statement examples.
In this article, we will look at 17 mission statement examples from world-class organizations and discuss them in-depth. By the end, you should be equipped to create your own mission statement that inspires.
Mission Statement Examples
17 18 (a bonus from my company, Awesome Motive) mission statement examples below in accordion format. Click to open and view the corresponding mission statement and commentary.
Some mission statements are better than others. I encourage you to read through each of them to understand why.
Let’s dive in!
Awesome Motive’s Mission Statement
To empower people to succeed.
Our beliefs and values drive our mission. We believe that you should win (and win more often), and we esteem the idea of putting people first. In fact, it’s our first core value: We put people first, always.
Mission statements are derived from core beliefs and values. Because we want to put people in a position to win over and over again, the word empower makes perfect sense.
And when you win over and over again, you succeed, no matter what your parameters for success might be.
Our mission statement explains the WHY of what we do, and it powers every decision we make as a company. Your mission statement should do the same!
Apple’s Mission Statement
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.
Apple is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, but this mission statement falls flat. It’s underwhelming.
Take, for instance, Steve Jobs’ own personal mission statement:
To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.
Jobs saw Apple’s products as a way to advance the human race (WHY). The current Apple mission statement declares what it does (WHAT).
It would appear Apple has made the classic mistake of describing the WHAT instead of the WHY. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
It’s not surprising, then, that Apple and its brand has lost much of the raving fandom from years past.
Think for a moment – how often do you now hear about lines at an Apple store for the latest product launch?
Don’t make the same mistake with your mission statement! Focus on the WHY, not the WHAT.
Google’s Mission Statement
To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
This example is in stark contrast to Apple. It is short, simple and memorable.
Not only that, it is particularly daring. The amount of information available is enormous, and yet Google has determined to organize it, make it useful and all accessible to everyone.
It’s a mission statement that is easy to support because of the impact it can have on the world.
There’s good news for you: Google is one of the largest organizations in the world. If their mission statement can be short and simple, yours can too.
Amazon’s Mission Statement
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work.
Anyone who is remotely familiar with Amazon knows for certain that this mission statement is believable.
Their mission statement is attractive on three fronts:
- Customer obsession rather than competitor focus. Focusing on competitors is a recipe for disaster. As long as you narrow your focus to serving your customers as best as you possibly can, you have a great chance of succeeding.
- Commitment to operational excellence. It’s hard to think of a company that has solved the thorny problems of logistics better than Amazon.
- Long-term thinking. Jeff Bezos has famously said, “Your margin is my opportunity”. They invest for returns that might not be realized until decades in the future.
The key action word is passion. It’s always hard work, but the work is always worth it. It’s evident in how they operate as an organization.
A thought exercise for you as you consider Amazon’s mission statement: How can I make my mission statement impactful and motivational?
Nike’s Mission Statement
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.
*If you have a body, you are an athlete.
Nike’s mission statement is one of the most inspiring mission statement examples we will explore: it’s already baked in!
I love the asterisk beside athlete. Most people think of athletes as professionals. You can’t be one unless you are paid do it.
Nike corrects this assumption with its own belief that everyone is an athlete.
It makes sense. Think about their “Just do it” slogan. It’s not isolating to the pros; it’s accessible to anyone, and it’s backed by a mission statement that is made for everyone.
Wonder why they always have the best / coolest / most popular shoes? When your mission statement is to be inspiring and innovative, it’s hard not to!
Starbucks’ Mission Statement
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
Starbucks has some
loyal crazy fans of its coffee. Those fans commiserate with other fans, and they are die-hard about it.
I don’t drink coffee (maybe I am the crazy one?), but I still like Starbucks (their hot chocolate is top notch).
I see their mission statement play out most in the way coffee is created and delivered at their stores. Although not uncommon at other coffee shops, your coffee always has your name on it. Additionally, you can customize your drink endlessly, and the baristas know how to do it.
It’s rings true of one person, one cup.
And doesn’t it seem like there is a Starbucks on every street corner? One neighborhood is not too far off, either.
Facebook’s Mission Statement
To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Facebook is the most ubiquitous software in the world. Used by nearly 3 billion people, it’s synonymous with people and connection.
Their mission statement is evident in what they have built, but Facebook also serves as a cautionary tale.
Mission statements give present meaning to the actions of your organization. What they don’t do is give present boundaries to the actions of your organization. Your organization’s core values do that.
I have told you before that mission statements are powerful. In some cases, they can be too powerful if proper boundaries aren’t put in place.
In the case of Facebook, they have put themselves in hot water because of the reckless pursuit of their mission. Their ends – to connect people and build community – didn’t justify all their means.
Ask yourself this question: How can I ensure organization’s mission is fulfilled in a way that aligns with my own values?
Tesla’s Mission Statement
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Whatever you may think of Elon Musk, the outspoken CEO of Tesla, you have to respect the brand Tesla has created.
What began as a high-end sports car has turned into a worldwide collection of vehicles that run on clean, sustainable energy.
It’s not difficult to see the alignment between Tesla’s mission statement and what it is doing as an organization.
The word accelerate is intriguing. It quite literally depicts a differentiating feature of Tesla vehicles. Their ability to accelerate ludicrously fast is both exciting and instructive.
Their mission is at the core of what they do. Strive to make your organization’s mission statement central to what you do too.
Walmart’s Mission Statement
To save people money so they can live better.
“Save Money. Live Better. Walmart.”
You’ve probably seen this on TV, heard it on the radio or read about it in an advertisement.
Recall from an article earlier in this series, “What is a Mission Statement?”. I made this point about mission statements:
The effects are also visible in how you communicate. A great mission statement weaves itself into the fabric of organizational communication. Some mission statements are so compelling that they can be found in public marketing campaigns.
There you have it, clear as day. Walmart has woven their own mission statement into a short, simple and memorable marketing tagline.
When you think of Walmart, you think of low prices. Why? Because they have said it is important to them, and they communicate it frequently to their employees and customers.
Discover what’s important in your organization, then communicate it frequently to your people!
Chick-fil-A’s Mission Statement
To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.
I love Chick-fil-A. I eat their food at least once a week. You can’t help but be happy when you experience Chick-fil-A.
More than a fast food restaurant, they are the premier example of exemplary service in the entire food-service industry.
If you’ve ever been to Chick-fil-A, you know their signature line: “My pleasure!”
I worked at Chick-fil-A for a year during college. The fact that I still intentionally choose to eat there speaks volumes.
As a Christian myself, I can’t help but see how “faithful steward” is evident in everything they do. From the way they handle drive-thru lines to the taste of their food, it’s clear they are serious about fulfilling their mission statement.
And no matter what happens at one of their restaurants, you leave with a smile on your face.
McDonald’s Mission Statement
To make delicious, feel-good moments easy for everyone.
Most everyone has eaten at McDonald’s. Classics like the Big Mac and McNuggets draw millions of customers every year.
Their mission statement is inspiring. Delicious might be a bit of a stretch, but for many people, McDonald’s is their favorite fast food restaurant.
McDonald’s is affordable, making the “easy for everyone” quip something that they are uniquely capable of making happen. And everybody knows the jingle “I’m lovin’ it” — and feels good about it.
This mission statement example from McDonald’s is solid. It’s short, easy to remember and evokes just the right amount of feel-good to make you want one of their meals.
Microsoft’s Mission Statement
To empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.
At the time of this writing, Microsoft is the most valuable organization in the world.
As a technology platform, they create massive value for themselves and others.
I believe this is intentional. Bill Gates has said as much. Microsoft’s goal is to create a platform where everyone can win, including Microsoft.
This runs at the heart of their mission statement: to empower people to achieve more.
Impacting every person and organization in the world is inspiring. Your mission statement should inspire too.
Target’s Mission Statement
To help all families discover the joy of everyday life.
Most people that I talk to about Target… love Target.
What’s not to love? They have nice, fashionable items at affordable prices.
Yes, you pay more for an item than at Walmart, but for the people who shop at Target, that’s beside the point. Price is not the primary motivator, and it’s clear why: their mission statement isn’t about price.
It’s about finding more joy in the things you use every day. It’s not a box of diapers. It’s a box of diapers that I purchased at Target. Important distinction.
Who is the primary demographic that shops at Target? Moms. It’s built into the mission statement with the word families. Moms typically shop for the every day items in the home.
I hope by now you are seeing a pattern with the mission statement examples we have reviewed and the organizations that espouse them. There is a correlation between the two.
A great mission statement, like the one we see for Target, is foundational to the success of the organization.
Adidas’ Mission Statement
To be the best sports company in the world.
I’ll admit – that’s quite a tall order. To be the best in the sports world? That’s some stiff competition!
And yet I’ve found it to be true with anything Adidas that I have owned. Whether it be shoes, soccer balls or golf attire, their goods are always top notch.
There’s something about the quality that is just better than Nike or Under Armor.
It’s the subtle, “Hmm, I really like this pullover”, that makes the difference.
This mission statement inspires. In a global economy with plenty of competition, it’s both a call-out to competitors and a call-up to employees and customers.
Who doesn’t want to be part of the best in the world?
Does your own mission statement invoke that type of response?
Coca-Cola’s Mission Statement
To refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness and to create value and make a difference.
Have you ever enjoyed a cold Coke on a hot day? Imagine that first sip… “Ahh!”
The Coca-Cola mission statement is a prime example of transforming a commodity product into a beloved brand.
Remember the “Share a Coke” campaign? What about the “Open Life” campaign?
These marketing campaigns were born directly out of the mission of the organization.
Maybe you offer an uninspiring product or service. Coca-Cola’s mission statement should be a reminder to you that you have the power to set the narrative.
You have the power to create value and make a difference. It starts with a strong mission statement.
Disney’s Mission Statement
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.
Disney is home to some of the most beloved brands in the world. How?
It’s defined in their mission statement: “…through the power of unparalleled storytelling…”
Disney’s mission statement is unique in that it clearly states its competitive advantage. While the mission statement itself is verbose, the actions associated with it are simple: entertain, inform and inspire.
Disney exceeds expectations in everything it does. It’s what you should expect from an organization that is the self-proclaimed premier entertainment company in the world.
A good thought exercise: Does your mission statement set good expectations about how others will interact with you organization?
Patagonia’s Mission Statement
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to protect nature, not bound by convention.
If there ever was a purchase that made you feel good, it’s for a Patagonia product.
Not only is the product incredible… you feel like you are making a difference when you buy it.
Talk about a powerful impact from a mission statement!
We touched on this briefly when discussing Apple’s mission statement. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
You may desire to have a sustainable impact with the way your organization operates. If so, make it a part of your mission statement!
You’ll attract people who believe what you believe, and that forms the strongest relationships of them all.
Here’s another thought exercise: How can I develop relationships with my mission statement?
Netflix’s Mission Statement
To promise our customers stellar service, our suppliers a valuable partner, our investors the prospects of sustained profitable growth, and our employees the allure of huge impact.
Netflix’s mission statement is multi-faceted. It touches on their four key constituents: customers, suppliers, investors and employees.
Recall my article on defining “What is a Mission Statement?”. In it I wrote:
But it doesn’t stop there. Mission statements also give present meaning to all the actions seen outside your organization. Your mission statement, then, has a dual purpose: to unify people inside and outside to your organization’s highest calling.
Netflix is doing this explicitly in their mission statement. It speaks to each type of person in a way that aligns with their view of Netflix.
Although wordy, it’s simple and clear.
I want to challenge you to a few thought exercises. Your mission statement is important. As we’ve discussed before, choosing the wrong words can be disastrous to your organization’s potential.
Reflecting on the mission statement examples from above, consider these questions when creating your own mission statement:
- Why does my organization exist?
- What do I value most in my organization?
- Which action word is best suited for my organization?
- Who should be impacted the most because of what my organization does?
- How will my mission statement be perceived by others?
- How will I go about communicating my mission statement?
I encourage you to write these questions down on a sheet of paper, then answer them and say them out loud. When you do these three things, it will become apparent what sticks and what doesn’t.
From there, toss aside ideas or words that may be valuable but not of utmost importance. Place some artificial boundaries on word length and key ideas to ensure you remain intentional about your mission statement.
We’ll go through the final exercise of creating a mission statement together later in the series. I’ll provide some helpful templates for you to make the process easier.
I hope you have found this exercise of reviewing mission statement examples from world-class organizations to be helpful.
You are now equipped with the knowledge of what makes a great mission statement. And, you are prepared to create (or update) your own.
We’re almost finished with the series titled Mission 101. In the last two articles of the series, we will discover:
- How to Write a Mission Statement (and Make It Compelling) We will go through an exercise to write out your mission statement. I’ll include some helpful templates to give you a starting point, and by the end, you should have all the tools you need to write a compelling mission statement.
- How to Maximize the Impact of Your Mission Statement (7 Ideas) If nobody listens, you’ve wasted your time. Once your mission statement is ready, your work has just begun. We now need to explore the work required to elevate the impact of your mission statement.
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