Mission statements are much more than a paragraph in the “About Us” section of your website or brochure. They’re the crux of your business, and are used to align and motivate your team, evangelize your product or service, and recruit top talent to your growing company.
Some of the best companies in the world make it a point to fulfill their mission statements—names like Patagonia and Google come to mind. Yet there are companies in every industry, of every size, that live and breathe those purposeful sentences as they plan for the future and operate day to day.
We’ve curated a list of the best mission statement examples to inspire your own, as well as some guidelines about what makes a mission statement truly transcendent.
What makes a good mission statement
There are certain elements that make a mission statement effective, including clear, descriptive language around what the company does; emotive, inspirational language around why the company does this work; and a reference to the people who are making it happen, whether that’s employees, customers, or shareholders.
How long should a mission statement be?
A mission statement should be fewer than 100 words, and between one and four sentences. Keep the message concise and the language direct. This is not a manifesto but an easy-to-remember statement for your employees and customers to reflect upon daily.
The difference between vision and mission statements of companies
While both mission and vision statements should encompass the company’s goals and reflect the company’s values, the two are different when it comes to perspective. A mission statement should reflect why the company exists and the purpose of the work it’s doing now, in the past, and in the future. A vision statement is more forward-thinking, providing context around the future of the business and the direction in which the company is growing.
A strong mission statement should follow a basic formula, including certain elements that inspire and prescribe. Consider the what, why, how, and who of your business, and choose a statement that motivates your employees or encourages your customers to choose your product, every time.
Mission statement examples for businesses of all sizes
While you might know what the best practices are for creating a mission statement, it’s often easier to learn from example. From tech companies revolutionizing corporate communication to nonprofits in the female-empowerment sector, here are some examples of effective, enduring mission statements.
Best mission statement examples from startups
The uncertainty associated with launching a startup calls for a strong, informative mission statement. What better way to instill confidence in new clients and employees than by having a clear, graspable mission to hold on to?
The mission statement: Make work life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.
Why it works: The simplicity of this statement reflects the simplicity of Slack as a collaboration tool, and this alignment is seen across all segments of the company. “When I look at the most meaningful and impactful workplaces, I think there’s a deep alignment between tools, culture, and spaces,” says Deano Roberts, vice president of global workplace Slack, a WeWork member company in New York.
Certainly simplicity, enjoyment, and productivity are common needs when it comes to the workday. But not only are these values widely understood, the statement itself is specific enough to be directive—all Slack employees should be working to make work life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive in their day-to-day operations.
The mission statement: We want every customer in the world to purchase from businesses that offer the best value and best customer service at renewal time.
Why it works: As a website that compares services like gas, electricity, and insurance, Renewal Diary’s mission is rooted in specificity, yet doesn’t shy away from big-picture thinking. Language like “every customer in the world” is exciting to readers, and this helps drive forward the company’s strategy of inviting people to a global platform.
“A startup needs to be instantly graspable. Don’t try to use language that you think would be interesting for investors,” says Fiachra Ó Comhraí, founder of Renewal Diary, a member at WeWork Charlemont Exchange in Dublin. “If you have something simple, don’t try to make it sound complicated.”
The mission statement: The modern slavery due diligence platform.
Why it works: The mission from RightsDD is heavily reliant on value—this is a platform that assesses suppliers, geographies, and products for risk of slave labor. Though it’s not actionable or specific, the statement is a proud declaration of what the company is, inspiring employees to continue their work and validating the company’s existence.
“We have a clear mission, and everything stems from that,” says Oliver Cushing, CEO of RightsDD, a member at WeWork 70 Wilson St in London. “A lot of times, startups are trying to stitch in a social purpose to something that’s not really very social. I think the strength of our conviction helps us communicate. So if you have a great mission, don’t shy away from it.”
The mission statement: To empower and inspire you to live a healthier, more active life. We design products and experiences that fit seamlessly into your life so you can achieve your health and fitness goals, whatever they may be.
Why it works: Fitbit’s mission statement speaks directly to the reader, describing in simple terms what the tech company does (helps users achieve their health and fitness goals) and how it does this (through products and experiences that fit seamlessly into everyday life). The kicker, however, is in its explanation of why—empowering people to live healthier, more active lives.
The language is clear and inspiring for employees, who are investing their time and energy in driving the company forward, and also for consumers, who will feel confident they’re buying from a holistic brand with a well-thought-out mission.
The mission statement: Our mission is to help everyone find their place in the world.
Why it works: The mission of Compass, a company that’s raised more than $6 billion in investment since its founding in 2012, seems far-reaching until you realize it’s working to revolutionize the business of selling homes and renting apartments.
In that light, the mission statement is value-driven and feel-good, giving employees a reason to come to work each day and helping consumers realize this isn’t your regular real estate company.
The mission statement: 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 these creators.
Why it works: With words like “million” and “billions,” there’s no doubt audio streaming platform Spotify is thinking big—and “unlocking the potential of human creativity” is the way it’ll arrive there.
Yet such grandiose statements are made more plausible by focusing on the end result for both artists and users: Spotify is helping artists make a living off the music they create, and allowing users to access and enjoy this music more easily. Plus, with 248 million users worldwide, the brand’s ambitious estimations aren’t too far off.
Great mission statements from legacy companies
These are the companies that live up to their mission statements in everything they do, whether it’s entertainment, internet, retail, or theme parks. As they’ve grown into industry leaders with global impact, these brands have done their best to stay true to their guiding missions.
The mission statement: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Why it works: This is no fluffy wordplay in Patagonia’s mission statement; like the brand itself, which sells sporting equipment and clothing, it’s down-to-earth and rooted in real life. Patagonia’s business is portrayed as a tool in this mission statement, as a way to improve the world and counter the environmental crisis.
The statement is specific, directional, and value-driven. It has a bit of everything that makes a mission statement effective, and clearly presents the what, how, and why. Perhaps most important, it shows the role Patagonia plays within the world’s wider ecosystem—not just in business.
The Walt Disney Company
The mission statement: The mission of The Walt Disney Company is 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.
Why it works: While it’s quite a mouthful, the mission statement at Disney is as expansive as the company itself. The entire statement hinges on people: the people Disney hopes to entertain, as well as the people who make this entertainment possible.
The final statement, declaring Disney the “world’s premier entertainment company,” instills pride in employees and solidifies the company’s place as one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. With an annual revenue that tops $30 billion, this claim is both plausible and inspiring.
The mission statement: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Why it works: With a company as mammoth in size and influence as tech giant Google, homing in on a mission statement that encompasses everything it does, while still being optimistic and specific, is no easy feat.
Yet the behemoth that employs more than 90,000 people across the globe aligns its people and its regional teams with one clearly defined purpose: “To organize information, make it accessible, and make it useful.” As simple as that.
The mission statement: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Why it works: It’s difficult to believe such a multidisciplinary organization like Amazon, which spans everything from selling home goods to streaming entertainment, has had the same mission since its founding in 1995. However, when Amazon started selling books, and then music and videos, its mission even then was to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company.”
This longevity shows the power of an effective mission statement: that it can feel much bigger than a business at its inception, and act as a guiding force in the years ahead, corralling the company in the direction it was founded upon.
The mission statement: To provide an environment where our team members are proud to work, deliver unforgettable experiences to our guests, and generate superior financial returns.
Why it works: This mission statement encompasses everyone affected by Universal—employees first, guests second, and shareholders third. This statement is rooted in reality; i.e., there wouldn’t be a theme park without shareholders, yet it is also inspirational in the use of words like “proud” and “unforgettable.”
With a mission statement as prescriptive as this, it’s no wonder Universal has welcomed more than 10 million people annually for the past three years.
Powerful mission statement examples from nonprofits
A mission statement gives nonprofits an opportunity to put forth a powerful message about their cause—motivating both internal staff and external investors and supporters.
The mission statement: Bright Pink helps to save lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering women to know their risk and manage their health proactively.
Why it works: Informative, actionable, and inspiring, the mission statement at Bright Pink captures, and retains, your attention. While “save lives” packs an opening punch with high-level, big-picture thinking, the “how” that follows—i.e., “empowering women to know their risk and manage their health”—brings plausibility and direction to such a purposeful cause.
World Wildlife Fund
The mission statement: The mission of World Wildlife Fund is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.
Why it works: With such a monumental task ahead, the World Wildlife Fund uses its mission statement to focus the work of its employees and shareholders. By narrowing nature conservation to “reducing the most pressing threats,” the World Wildlife Fund bares its priorities, showing employees, volunteers, and donors the path forward, while still keeping its mission wholly inspiring.
The mission statement: Fight to end period poverty and period stigma through service, education, and advocacy.
Why it works: For the cofounder of “Period, the Menstrual Movement” Nadya Okamoto, who started the nonprofit with her friend Vincent Forand when they were both 16, the mission statement represents a solution to a problem she herself has experienced.
This articulation of “problem and solution” in Period’s mission statement is at once healing and inspiring. Now Period has grown to become the world’s largest youth-run nonprofit, exceeding 150 chapters in more than 30 countries.
Next step: Creating your own mission statement
You might be an entrepreneur establishing your mission statement for the first time, or an existing company updating your mission statement to something more reflective. Whatever the case, WeWork can help you fulfill your mission, providing intentionally designed coworking spaces to drive innovation, and offering flexible agreements to help you scale and evolve.
While the purpose of your company should be the foundation of your mission statement, the additional elements in these examples—the “how”, the “who”, and the “why”—will strengthen and solidify those short, meaningful sentences into something directional and inspiring. With these examples in mind, creating a mission statement for your company should not only feel achievable, but also like an exciting and essential step forward.
For more tips on scaling companies and empowering employees, check out all our articles on Ideas by We.
Caitlin Bishop is a writer for WeWork’s Ideas by We, based in New York City. Previously, she was a journalist and editor at Mamamia in Sydney, Australia, and a contributing reporter at Gotham Gazette.