Purposeful brands … What do they say … and what do they actually do?

February 8, 2019

To refresh the world …
To inspire moments of optimism and happiness …
To create value and make a difference …

Coca Cola’s purpose statement suggests that the brand seeks to do much more than sell soft drinks. But is this a meaningful statement, that drives attitudes and actions inside The Coca Cola Company that you would never find in Pepsico, or is it just a nice marketing-type of line?

Purpose statements, missions and visions, principles and values, brand slogans and advertising lines. We find them everywhere. The danger is that they can become meaningless, marketing fluff.

So when do they really have meaning? When they focus on making life better, when they inspire people to achieve more, when they are shared intent with customers, when they are loved by people inside and out, and when they are delivered at every point, on every day.

Airbnb

AirBnb describes its mission as,

For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses. But really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere. That is the idea at the core of our company: belonging.

Amazon

The Amazon Fact sheet, “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.”

Amazon expands on this with “This goal continues today, but Amazon’s customers are worldwide now, and have grown to include millions of Consumers, Sellers, Content Creators, and Developers & Enterprises. Each of these groups has different needs, and we always work to meet those needs, innovating new solutions to make things easier, faster, better, and more cost-effective.”

And these are the Amazon leadership principles:

  • Customer Obsession
  • Ownership
  • Invent and Simplify
  • Are Right, A Lot
  • Learn and Be Curious
  • Hire and Develop the Best
  • Insist on the Highest Standards
  • Think Big
  • Bias for Action
  • Frugality
  • Earn Trust
  • Dive Deep
  • Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
  • Deliver Results

Apple

Apple’s mission statement seems surprisingly dull and uninspiring:

“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.”

Learn About Apple’s Mission Statement? suggests that this statement which Tim Cook shares with new employees does a better job capturing what the company’s mission is: “Apple has always been different.  A different kind of company with a different view of the world.  It’s a special place where we have the opportunity to create the best products on earth – products that change lives and help shape the future.  It’s a privilege we hold dear.

Disney

Disney Company describes its mission:

The mission of The Walt Disney Company is 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.

Google

When this article originally published in 2014, you could immediately locate the Google mission and company philosophy on the ‘about us’ page.

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

The company philosophy listed the following 10 values that Google holds to be true:

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  • It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  • Fast is better than slow.
  • Democracy on the web works.
  • You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  • You can make money without doing evil.
  • There’s always more information out there.
  • The need for information crosses all borders.
  • You can be serious without a suit.
  • Great just isn’t good enough.

The current About Us Google page captures that mission visually.

IKEA

IKEA refers to its vision and business idea as follows:

At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering 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.

Microsoft

Microsoft says that it believes in what people make possible:

Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Starbucks

Starbucks describes its mission as,

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

And its values include

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
  • We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin explains in its about us section,

“Our mission statement is simple, yet the foundation of everything we do here at Virgin Atlantic Airways… to embrace the human spirit and let it fly.”

Warby Parker

Warby Parker’s history starts with this statement:

Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.”

It then further describes

We started Warby Parker to create an alternative.

By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, we’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price.

We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.

We also believe that everyone has the right to see.

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