The beginners guide to mission statements.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is fundamentally the basis of a company. It is a summary detailing the core purpose, aims and values of an organisation and highlights specifically what kind of product or service it provides, the primary market and if appropriate, it’s geographical region of operation. A mission Statement usually remains unchanged as it contains only the basic fundamentals of the company, however if a company expands or if they become more successful their mission statement might change.

It might become shorter, or their goal may differ slightly than what it was at the beginning if so it is important to keep your mission statement updated. They are extremely useful in keeping a business on track as they communicate a sense of intended direction. This is important because sometimes organisations can get lost in the process of making their company successful, mission statements remind them what they are there to do and what they want to achieve.

And here’s Kev’s thoughts

A mission statement is all about sharing why you do what you do. It’s an opportunity to show your passion for the work that you deliver and, particularly, for the people you serve. For me, a mission statement sets the tone of your organisation and gives you a sense of purpose and direction.

 

Why are mission statements important?

They give the company a clear path to follow. It reminds themselves why they built the company and what it planned to achieve. It is important to stay on task, but sometimes people can get caught up in all the fundamentals of a business they start to steer from their main objective which is where a mission statement comes in.

Three business mission statement examples 

  • Amazon – It’s our goal to be earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
  • ASOS – To become the number 1 fashion destination for 20-somethings globally.
  • PayPal – To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.

Three charity mission statement examples

  • Oxfam – Our vision is a just world without poverty.
  • Unicef – Working to make the world better for children.
  • Charity water – Our mission, charity water is a non profit organisation bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

Whilst researching mission statements I came across a number of really good examples to share with you, however, with the good comes the bad, so here are a few examples of mission statements I found to be especially terrible. This will hopefully advise you on what not to do when writing mission statements.

Three bad mission statement examples

  • Avon – Avon’s mission is focused on six core aspirations the company continually strives to achieve, […]
  • McDonlad’s – McDonald’s brand mission is to be our customers’ favourite place and way to eat and drink, Our worldwide operations are aligned around a global strategy called the Plan to Win, which centre on an exceptional customer experience–People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion.
  • Barnes and Noble – To operate the best omni-channel specialty retail business in America, helping both our customers and booksellers reach their aspirations, while being a credit to the communities we serve.

Quick Tips to a better mission statement

  1. Write from and for the heart.
  2. Keep it simple and use plain English.
  3. Get your team, partners and clients involved in the process.
  4. Be original. Don’t copy anybody else’s mission statement.
  5. Share it far and wide.

I’ll be sharing more posts in our Communication foundations series over the coming weeks. If you come across any great or not so great examples of mission statements we would love to add them to either our hall of fame or hall of shame. And, if you have your own mission statement you’d like to share please feel free to add it to the comments.

About the Author Wendy McCleary

Hi there! I’m Wendy a second year student currently studying English Literature at The University of Dundee. I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to work alongside Kevin as an Intern, offering up my skills to help him with any writing projects he may have.

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