Mission statements have come a long way since they were popularized in the 1980s as a way for companies to articulate who they are. Today, these declarations of intent are also likened to a mantra toward professional success, appearing throughout an organization’s most valuable assets, from marketing campaigns and promotional material to its business website.
When starting a business, you'll want to craft your own, unique mission statement. But before you do, we recommend you first review what a mission statement is and some helpful guidelines to writing one. Then, check out our selection of the best mission statement examples, created by some of the most influential companies and corporations many of us swear we could not live without.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a brief description of an organization’s purpose and how it serves audiences through the types of products or services it provides them with. It may also include your core values, philosophies, business ethics or goals, all of which can help to reflect your uniqueness and what sets your business apart from others.
By writing your company mission statement, you're able to define the cause behind your brand. Then, you’ll be able to use it in your business proposal as well as in your elevator pitch. Think of a mission statement as a form of corporate communication, that allows you to establish your transparency and leadership as a brand to both stakeholders and your users or customers.
Furthermore, a good mission statement is effective in acting as a guiding light for the way in which a company conducts itself. This means that the statement should become a key part of your company and corporate culture to make sure everyone is aiming for the same goals. It will help employees understand the value of what they do.
Mission statements and vision statements are often confused because many organizations will use the two terms interchangeably. However, a company statement focuses on the day-to-day activities of the business thus declaring what you’re doing to pursue your cause, while a vision statement describes what your company wants to be in the future. A mission statement is a chance to establish your leadership as a company and as a brand.
A mission statement is also not to be confused with a company slogan, which is often a tagline used in marketing and advertising campaigns. It may end up being more commonly associated with a company or brand than its mission statement however.
Tips for creating a great mission statement
As you start writing a mission statement, you’ll want to first answer some vital questions that will help you define the purpose of your business or brand. These include “What does your business do,” “Who are your customers,” “Why does your company do what it does,” or “What sparks the passion behind it?”
Afterwards, you will be better equipped to sit down - whether with your team or alone - and draft up a mission statement that will motivate your brand and drive your business’s success. Here are some key points you’ll want to consider:
1. Make it plausible and attainable. Your mission statement should be achievable by giving you something tangible to work on, such as having a business plan. It should fall between what you’re already doing and what you can work toward. Something like this one from American Express, "Our mission is to become essential to our customers by providing differentiated products and services to help them achieve their aspirations"
2. Be inspirational. Let your company’s personality shine through your mission statement. It should reflect the ideas that make your company different from others. That said, you’ll want to write yours in a way that not only makes it unique, but identifiable so that it strengthens your brand identity and perception. At this stage you can also ask yourself if you plan to use your mission statement to be not only inspirational, but also to establish your social responsibilities as a company? For some brands this is a priority, for others less so but this is the time to decide for your brand. For non-profits this is often easier, than for profit corporations. Take the Make a Wish foundation's statement as an example, "Together, we create joy, happiness and magical memories through life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses." Or UNICEF'S, "UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential." Caterpillar also gets it right with this one, "to provide the best value to customers, grow a profitable business, develop and reward people, and encourage social responsibility"
3. Use clear and simple language. Keeping it short and simple will help you convey all the important elements of the mission statement, like core values, to employees and customers alike. In order to make sure there won’t be room for any misinterpretation or misunderstanding, avoid using buzzwords or flowery language. Additionally, aim for 20 words or less to get to the point. Don't neglect the grammatical aspect of your statement, make sure it contains no mistakes and reads properly. Take this example from Pinterest, "Our mission is to give everyone the inspiration to create a life that they love." It's short, just 15 words long but it creates an inspirational punch that it's hard not to connect with. Another short but impactful one is from Uber, “We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion."
Mission statement vs. vision statement
A mission statement and a vision statement are both important for businesses, but they serve different objectives. A mission statement is a brief description of the company's purpose and what it does, whereas a vision statement is a more aspirational document that describes its long-term goals.
A good way to put it is that a mission statement describes the business in the present, whereas a vision statement describes the business in the future, giving employees and customers a sense of what the company is working towards. A good vision statement answers questions like "What do we want to achieve in the future?" "What kind of impact do we want to have on the world?" and "What are our long-term goals?"
Best mission statement examples
So, we’ve gone over the basics of a mission statement, as well as guidelines for crafting a solid one for your business. Now we’re ready to unveil some of the best mission statement examples to use as inspiration for your own.
01. WIX: “Create your own professional web presence—exactly the way you want.”
At first glance, Wix’s mission statement encapsulates what website builders do: help people create an online space for themselves. While this declaration seems simple and to the point, it’s also effective as it places an emphasis on its users who are truly succeeding in building the website of their dreams.
02. Google: “To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
It sounds like an impossible goal to meet, but Google has managed to collect all the information in the world and put it into a free space. As part of its ongoing mission, the company is always working to find new ways that will improve getting the answers you’re looking for in seconds. That also means making the platform accessible to all who come to search their queries.
03. TED: “Spread ideas.”
This concise declaration by TED, which stands for Technology, Education and Design, not only happens to be the shortest mission statement on the list but also one of the most memorable ones to date. For a media organization built on boundless content, TED is able to convey, in two words, the essence of what it does - spreading ideas in the form of discourse.
04. Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Being completely self-aware in its mission statement, Tesla does not shy away from its core value: to enhance the use of clean energy across the globe. This statement mirrors the hard work Tesla puts in on a daily basis to “accelerate” its mission to bring a culture of sustainability to the automobile industry.
05. LinkedIn: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
LinkedIn wants to help professionals become more successful and efficient by facilitating ways for them to build meaningful connections. This is what the social media platform sets out to pursue since it officially launched in 2003. These days, almost every professional across most fields uses LinkedIn to grow their career, some of whom have flourished to become thought leaders.
06. Asana: “To help humanity thrive by enabling the world's teams to work together effortlessly.”
This personalized mission statement example lets us grasp Asana’s unique approach as a business. It wants to express warm sentiment to its audience, which is kind of unexpected coming from a tech company. It also lays out an inclusive goal to expand its reach to the “world’s team,” leaving no one out.
07. Forbes: “To convene, curate and cover the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world.”
Forbes isn’t just a publication, it’s a brand. Its mission statement shines the spotlight on those selected individuals it caters to - influential leaders and entrepreneurs - and what that should mean to the rest of us. If we aren’t paying attention to Forbes, then we should really start doing so, as to not fall behind in this ever changing world.
08. Microsoft: “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
This sounds more like a motivational poster on high school walls rather than a mission statement brought to you by the multi-billion dollar corporation Microsoft. It conjures up the image of a utopian society promoting unity and transparency. Essentially, Microsoft believes in us so that we can elevate our world to a better position.
09. Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Personally, this mission statement example hits home. For many, it's impossible to think of a morning without a cup of coffee. Starbucks is not only dedicated to its customers but has the intention to also reach customers’ communities, taking a vow in the people and places it serves.
10. American Red Cross: “To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
American Red Cross has been around for over a century. It’s an established organization that is synonymous with helping people in times of crises. Nonetheless, its mission statement is solid as a rock and resonates with a brighter message of hope, unity and humanity.
11. MoMA: “To share great modern and contemporary art with the public.”
The Museum of Modern Art is an international gem. Artists and art lovers alike flock to its pristine structure in Midtown, New York, but this institution wants its audience to know through its mission statement example that MoMA’s doors are open to all. Art is for everyone.
12. Peace Corps: “To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals: To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.”
Some organizations don’t just dream big, they act on it. The Peace Corps enjoys an outstanding reputation as being an entity of volunteers who are making a difference through their service and commitment to “world peace.” Its mission statement clearly defines the group’s goals and inspires others to embrace those same values.
13. The Walt Disney Company: “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.”
All of Disney’s core values are on display in this lengthy mission statement. In it, you can also find elements that are typically seen in a business plan, including the different products and services (storytelling and iconic brands) and management and organization (world’s premier entertainment company). This is why The Walt Disney Company is a global powerhouse.
14. Twitter: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.”
Presidents can’t seem to go a day without Twitter and neither can we. The social media giant has forever changed our way of communicating with the rest of the world as it has elegantly stated in its mission statement, “share ideas and information… without barriers.”
15. Airbnb: “To create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and we are focused on creating an end-to-end travel platform that will handle every part of your trip.”
Belonging is a big part of Airbnb’s story. The company wants to regain the feeling of a community and rebuild trust in one another that existed hundreds of years ago when “cities used to be villages.” That’s why, when you do business with Airbnb, you’re also being welcomed into an extensive network of other like-minded people with whom you’ll connect.
16. Casper: “To awaken the potential of a well-rested world.”
The use of “awaken” in Casper’s mission statement is a great play on words that reflects what they do: create high-quality mattresses and pillows. Casper is indeed an award-winning sleep company solely focused on a single goal, as highlighted in its mission statement, that supports a “well-rested world.”
17. Ikea: “To 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.”
Like its products, Ikea tries to be as straightforward with its approach. In its mission statement, we understand that this is a business that wants to be accessible and flexible to just about any budget.
18. Prezi: “To reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act.”
Think about your last presentation and whether it captivated your viewers or not. Prezi wants to push the envelope on the act of presenting. It boldly sets out to change the way we share information in the hope that we can engage our audiences on a whole new level.
19. Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
When you shop at Patagonia, you’re also making an investment in the greater case of environmental protection. This is part of a popular shift where more individuals are concerned with ecological sustainability when it comes to production and consumption. During their shopping experience, Patagonia customers want to know that they are not only receiving but also giving back.
20. Sony: “To fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity.”
At its core, Sony is a company based on innovation. It has banked on its ability to see things differently than the rest. Yet, Sony also wants to reach and fill our hearts, as it eloquently insinuates in its mission statement.
21. Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Nike knows that we can’t all be athletes, but this sports company thrives on its ability to inspire us to find the inner athlete in ourselves. Then, Nike adds in its follow-up message, “If you have a body, you are an athlete,” making a definitive call for inclusion in the sports and fitness arena.
Common mission statement mistakes to avoid
When you are coming up with your mission statement, it is important to be aware of potential pitfalls. Make sure to avoid these 3 common mistakes:
Making it too long. Your mission statement should be concise and to the point, no more than a few sentences long. Many people think that the more they write, the clearer their message will be, but the opposite is true. Sometimes less truly is more. Coca Cola, one of the largest brands in the world gets it right with their short but telling statement "refresh the world, make a difference." Amazon also opted for a very short one, "to be Earth's most consumer-centric company." This sums up their commitment to customer service.
Making it too vague. Your mission statement should be specific and actionable. It should not be so vague that it is impossible to measure your progress. A mission statement like "to make the world a better place", for example, gives you almost no clue what the company is for or what they want to do. A more effective mission statement might be "to provide clean water to people in developing countries."
Not being unique. Your mission statement should be unique, written only with your company in mind. It should never be a copy of someone else's mission statement. This helps you stand out from the competition and make a positive impression on your customers and employees.
What to do with your mission statement
Once you have your mission statement ready, it’s time to debut it to your team. This will ensure that everyone understands your company's purpose and how their work contributes to achieving that purpose.
Your mission statement should also be a guiding force for your decisions. When you are faced with a decision, ask yourself how it aligns what you have already written. For example, if your mission statement is to "provide quality education to all children," you wouldn't make a decision to cut funding for after-school programs. If the decision doesn't align with your mission statement, then it may not be the best use of your time and resources.
As your company grows and changes, it's important to review your mission statement to make sure it's still relevant. If it isn't, then it may not be as effective in guiding your decision-making or motivating your team.
You can review your mission statement on a regular basis, such as once a year or every two years. When you review your mission statement, ask yourself the following questions:
Does the mission statement still accurately reflect our purpose?
Is the mission statement still inspiring and motivating to our team?
Is the mission statement still relevant to our current goals?
If you answer "no" to any of these questions, then you may need to revise your mission statement.
Mission statement examples FAQ
What is a good mission statement example?
A good mission statement is clear, concise, and memorable. It should be specific enough to guide decision-making, but general enough to allow for growth and change. A good mission statement should also be inspiring and aspirational, and should motivate employees, volunteers, and donors to work hard to achieve the organization's goals.
Here are some examples of good mission statements:
Wix: “Create your own professional web presence—exactly the way you want.”
Google: “To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Ted: “Spread ideas.”
What are the 3 parts of a mission statement?
A mission statement typically has three parts:
What the organization does: This is the most important part of the mission statement, and should be clear and concise.
Who the organization serves: This part of the mission statement should identify the organization's target audience.
How the organization makes a difference: This part of the mission statement should describe how the organization's work benefits its target audience.
How do I write a mission statement?
Here are some tips for writing a mission statement:
Start with a brainstorming session: Get together with a group of people who are familiar with your organization and its work. Brainstorm a list of words and phrases that describe your organization's purpose, values, and goals.
Write a draft mission statement: Once you have a list of words and phrases, start to write a draft mission statement. Be sure to keep it concise and to the point.
Get feedback: Once you have a draft mission statement, get feedback from a variety of people, including employees, volunteers, donors, and board members. Make sure your mission statement is something that everyone can support.
Revise and finalize your mission statement: Once you have received feedback, revise your mission statement as needed. Be sure to finalize your mission statement before you share it with the public.
What are mission statement mistakes to avoid?
Here are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a mission statement:
Making it too long. A mission statement should be concise and to the point. It should be no more than a few sentences long.
Using jargon or buzzwords. A mission statement should be written in plain language that anyone can understand. Avoid using jargon or buzzwords that your target audience may not be familiar with.
Making it too vague. A mission statement should be specific and actionable. It should not be so vague that it is impossible to measure your progress.
Not being unique. Your mission statement should be unique to your organization. It should not be a copy of another organization's mission statement.
Not being aspirational. A mission statement should be aspirational. It should inspire your employees, volunteers, and donors to work hard to achieve your organization's goals.