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How to Write a Purpose Statement That Serves Its Purpose (With 10 Examples)
If you had 5 minutes – or better yet, 5 seconds, could you describe WHY your organization exists? Would your colleagues describe it in the same way? And more importantly, would they FEEL a strong connection to the company's purpose?
Companies with a clear business purpose statement, and that use their purpose statement to connect with employees, customers, and key stakeholders at a deeper level, have an edge.
Why Company Purpose Matters Even More Today
It’s not a new concept: we tend to feel a bit better going to work or buying a product or service when we know there’s a greater reason for being behind it. It’s often a deciding factor between choosing one brand or company over another. What is new, though, is that the world we live and work in today calls for even more of a spotlight on purpose.
According to a 2021 McKinsey study , nearly 70% of employees are reflecting on purpose because of the pandemic. And, based on a PwC survey , 83% of employees rated “meaning in day-to-day work” as important to them. This has a downstream impact on hiring, morale, retention, and performance.
Your purpose statement is the foundation for how you can attract and retain talent, differentiate your culture, accelerate performance in a competitive, crowded marketplace, and re-energize employees who may be fatigued, apathetic, or skeptical.
The same McKinsey study found that employees who say that they live their purpose at work are:
- 6.5 times more likely to report higher resilience,
- 4 times more likely to report better health,
- 6 times more likely to want to stay at the company, and
- 1.5 times more likely to go above and beyond to contribute to the company (which is the employee engagement outcome many leaders and teams try to achieve).
For these reasons and more, our team believes that every organization should have a purpose statement and should know how to use it to tell your story on the inside and out for business impact so employees, customers, investors, shareholders, potential employees, and customers, and your many other stakeholders and partners see that they have a place in your company’s purpose.
What the Purpose Statement Is
A company purpose statement is its reason for being. It should answer these questions: Why do we exist beyond making money? What would the world lose if we didn’t exist? It goes beyond who you are and what you do. It’s your why and the impact your organization has on others.
Here are six characteristics of great purpose statements:
- Articulate the movement they’re ultimately championing and/or why the company is on the journey they are
- Are grand and aspirational while also believable
- Are differentiated so when viewed together with the mission, vision, and values of your company they are unique to your organization
- Are specific and create clarity, so they mean something to your company
- Are memorable and repeatable
- Have a tone and content that reflects the culture of the organization and fits them like a glove
Done right, company purpose statements are an important aspect of decision-making inside an organization so that it’s consistent with the company’s purpose.
10 Company Purpose Statement Examples
Here are 10 purpose statement examples across a variety of industries with a few thoughts on what makes them strong:
- AT&T: We create connection. This is both aspirational and ties to the company and its products and services over the years – which makes it believable. While it isn’t specific to a product, it creates clarity about what the company sees as its ultimate reason for being – to create connection. This is what we mean by “fitting like a glove”.
- Charles Schwab Corporation: To champion every client's goals with passion and integrity. It speaks to the larger reason for being a company in the financial services industry. It is specific to the movement it focuses on (championing clients’ goals) and it reflects the culture of the organization (passion and integrity). It’s both aspirational and believable.
- CVS Health: Bringing our heart to every moment of your health™ This captures the essence of the company’s focus around people’s lives and health. It’s memorable and repeatable and is used as a tagline. It ties in its brand as well (the heart), which also speaks to company culture and its intended service experience.
- Kellogg’s: Creating better days and a place at the table for everyone through our trusted food brands. You see the statement, company name, think of the products, and know that they go hand in hand. It speaks to the movement the company is championing (better days and a place at the table for everyone). It is grand and aspirational while also being believable. It’s specific and speaks to its industry (trusted food brand).
- Ford Motor Company: To help build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. This is grand and aspirational as well as entirely believable. If you run the screen of “what would be at risk if the company didn’t exist?” the mind goes to images of people not being able to get to their jobs, school, to travel, and be where they want to be. In reading this purpose statement, you learn quite a bit about the company and what it stands for (build a better world, be free to move, help people pursue their dreams).
- Virgin Atlantic: Everyone can take on the world. It speaks to the culture of the company, is easy to remember, and is memorable. It’s aspirational and yet feels believable in the sense that its products and services actually help people “take on the world”. There’s a swagger to this phrase that exudes confidence, feels empowering, and feels right at home with the brand. When you see this purpose statement and think about the company and what it’s all about, you can see (and almost feel) how they belong together.
- McDonald’s: To feed and foster communities. It’s memorable, repeatable, and naturally ties to the business it is in. It also signals in a believable way that its aspirations go beyond food and are also about building communities.
- NIKE: To move the world forward through the power of sport. It’s clear, easy to remember, and specific to the business. You know the industry right away which helps differentiate them (power of sport). It’s aspirational (moving the world forward) and also believable. When you read the purpose statement, you can visualize the essence of the company and its products that help people move.
- Novartis: To reimagine medicine to improve and extend people's lives. It’s specific to the industry (healthcare) and speaks to why the company exists (reimagine medicine) and its higher level reason for being (improve and extend people’s lives). It’s clear and easy to remember.
- Kroger: To feed the human spirit™ This speaks to its industry and focus as a business (food). It’s easy to remember and repeat, reading like a slogan. It’s also aspirational in that it speaks to feeding more than the “person” but also the “human spirit”.
How a Purpose Statement Fits Into Your Company’s Mission, Vision, and Values
Purpose is one of several elements of your organization’s DNA that make your company uniquely you. Together, these define who you are as a company and what you stand for. They serve as your North Star for your business – what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.
- Purpose statement: An organization’s reason for being (beyond making a profit) and how the products/services benefit people. It answers the questions for your customers and employees: why do we exist and what would the world lose if we didn’t exist? It has an external focus and remains constant over time. Purpose statements could be centered on society, customers, or community. All the other elements of the DNA tie back to the purpose statement.
- Mission statement: The mission states what the company will do to realize its business purpose. It comes from the perspective of inside the organization. The key elements to the mission statement are that it states the type of business/work you do today, is forward-looking, and speaks to your capabilities. It focuses on what you do and how you do it. A mission statement guides decision-making and informs business strategy, and it could evolve over time while your organization’s purpose remains the same.
- Vision statement: Paints a picture of what our company’s future looks like if we’re successful. It answers the question. It’s a statement of where the organization is heading. It’s future-oriented and aspirational. It’s also connected to the hearts and minds of people and captures hopes and dreams.
- Values and behaviors: These make up the desired ways of work (or culture) that employees need to live to advance the purpose, mission, and vision. Values describe the principles that are expected of employees, and behaviors are the tangible, observable, measurable elements that can be implemented. Both values and behaviors are intended to help employees know what’s expected of them and to guide how they show up at work. They define the company’s culture and personality, and answer the question: What does our company look like in action? Values and behaviors can happen in pockets but are aspirational for others.
Put another way…
- The purpose GUIDES you.
- The mission FOCUSES you.
- The vision INSPIRES you.
- The values ALIGN you.
- The behaviors MEASURE you.
These elements of a company’s DNA form a strategic framework that helps employees know what matters most for the organization, and how day-to-day business plans and tasks fit into the larger whole and greater good. It’s also an important way for employees to see how their sense of purpose fits (or doesn’t) with the place they work.
It’s like a stack of jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together to form a cohesive picture for everyone to see and share in common.
How to Know When You Need to Update Your Purpose Statement
Because the purpose statement guides your company, it’s important to regularly calibrate between your purpose statement and changing dynamics to ensure they stay connected in all the right ways. Here are some defining moments in a company that signal when it’s time to review your purpose statement and determine whether it’s time to update it:
- New CEO / leadership team: With new leadership comes new perspective on the business. It’s a time when leaders are evaluating the business, weighing options, and setting new directions for the company that will make an impact. It’s important to also evaluate the purpose statement of the company and line it up.
- Merger and/or acquisition: This is a major change to your company that warrants a calibration to your purpose statement (and mission, vision, and values) as new entities, teams, products, and services are at play. It’s a good time to evaluate whether the purpose statement remains true to the company in its new state. At a minimum, it’s critical to drive awareness of your company’s purpose with employees, customers, and other stakeholders so they fully understand and appreciate it.
- New strategy: Purpose statements and company strategy must go hand in hand so if your company has a new strategy (or is working on a new strategy ), check that the purpose statement is still consistent and relevant.
- Significant transformation: Congruency between the company’s purpose and actions is essential. When big changes are happening in a company it’s key to calibrate so the transformation efforts continue to sync and support the company’s purpose and strategic direction. And, if the transformation is changing direction for a company, then the purpose statement (and mission, vision, and values) may need to evolve.
- Recruitment, retention issues, or other people-related issues: More than ever, employees want to work for companies that share a common sense of purpose and values. If your organization is struggling to recruit and retain employees, check your purpose statement and see if it’s as relevant and compelling as it needs to be.
- Heightened competition: Employees, customers, and investors look for differentiation and companies with an edge. Your purpose statement says a lot about your company – who you are, what you stand for, why you exist, and what’s at risk if you’re not there. When competition is fierce, it’s time to look at your purpose statement to see if it defines you accurately, speaks to your aspirations, and helps you stand out.
- Annual strategic planning: Make it a habit to check your purpose statement (along with your vision, mission, and values) annually in the context of your company’s strategic planning, so the most important elements of your organization guide decision-making for key priorities and plans for the year. It’s the ultimate litmus test to see that priorities and plans support your company’s purpose statement (and overall DNA). And, if they don’t line up, to have strategic conversations about what’s changing and why and whether it warrants updating your purpose statement.
How to Write a Purpose Statement
Apply these principles as you consider your approach to developing your company’s purpose statement:
- Make it a strategic business exercise – that sets the direction for your vision, mission, values, and strategy and is the foundation for how people know you as a company. Keep it from being a word-smithing exercise.
- Be intentional – Dig deep to understand the origin of the company and follow that thread through to who you are today, and why you will continue to exist in the future.
- Let leaders set the tone and involve others with purpose – The purpose statement should be shaped by the leadership team and key influencers in the company and then vetted and fine-tuned with employees so that they have shared meaning and ownership. This is bigger than any one person or team writing the purpose statement.
- Iterate – Work a smart process and let the process work so as people’s thinking evolves, the purpose statement captures it.
- Connect to your culture – Let the essence of your culture come through in how you describe the essence of your company.
- Go beyond the ordinary – If you lined up your purpose statement with others in your industry (or even other industries), check that it stands out from the rest.
- Have a plan – This is how you’re going to create the purpose statement and what you’ll do to introduce it to your key stakeholders inside and outside the company.
Steps to Writing Your Purpose Statement
Whether creating a purpose statement from scratch or refreshing an existing one, follow these steps to guide you. How you approach writing your purpose statement may vary depending on where you are as an organization, your starting point, and your culture.
- Intake Compare your current purpose statement with how your organization shows up in internal and external artifacts to see what’s consistent and what’s not. Ask: What’s similar and what’s different that we should consider for the new purpose statement?
- Develop Your Roadmap Determine your plan of action to get to a purpose statement that your organization is fully aligned around. Ask: What are the key steps and milestones to drive toward?
- Identify Your Stakeholders and Engagement Plan Map your plan for who and how you’ll engage people from across your organization in the process. Consider who your champions will be, who will be hands-on in co-creation, and who you want to involve along the way to preview or test concepts. If there are many stakeholders, consider a working group or committee of representatives to advance the work in a more manageable way. And then involve others to preview and test the committee’s work. Ask: When the purpose statement is drafted, who do we need to have on board so they support it and what’s the best way to get those people involved?
- Conduct Stakeholder Listening Based on your engagement plan, hold listening sessions with key stakeholders to understand their thoughts on the business and how that translates to the company’s purpose. Summarize what you’re hearing. Ask: What are the common themes and where are there different points of view that warrant more conversation and alignment?
- Co-create the Purpose Statement Gather all the key stakeholders to co-create the purpose statement together in a hands-on, interactive way. Have a facilitator lead the session and leverage all the work done in Steps 1 through 4. You can walk out with a solid draft of the purpose statement that the group is aligned around and that’s ready to test drive with others. Ask: Do we have a purpose statement that we all understand, believe in, and can champion?
- Test the Purpose Statement Involve other stakeholders for input and buy-in. Get the draft purpose statement in front of employee groups and see what they say. You can also have key groups of leaders and working group members test drive the purpose statement with their teams. Ask: What resonates, where is further clarification needed, and in what ways do we see this purpose statement being lived in the company?
- Discuss and Refine the Purpose Statement Use the learnings as fodder for discussion with your core working group and champions about what changes to make in the purpose statement and to inform your communications before you revise and finalize the purpose statement. Ask: What feedback warrants changes to the purpose statement? What concepts will require more communication to help people understand?
Key Learnings from Developing Purpose Statements
We’ve worked with many clients to create their purpose statement (and their mission, vision, and values as well). Here are four things to keep in mind:
- The process is as important as the statement – How you engage people and bring them along on the journey is just as important as what the final words are of your company’s purpose statement. You need a purpose statement that will guide the company – and its people – for years to come and that requires involvement from people.
- Involve skeptics – Some may think of this work as a word-smithing activity or that culminates in posters that no one ever reads. To those people, we say … let’s get you involved in this process so we can make sure that doesn’t happen. Build a plan that is skeptic-proof. I’ve heard from many leaders as they go through this process that they were skeptical about this work at first and then became the biggest advocates of the purpose statement they created and the process that was taken to build it.
- Avoid shortcuts that may cause shortcomings – On paper, a purpose statement is just a few words but getting a room full of people (let alone a whole company) to align around the meaning behind the words looks easier than it is. We believe in a “go slow to go fast” approach that by working a smart process you’ll get to a better outcome faster and that will have lasting power. Watch out for shortcuts that can cause shortcomings – for example, skipping listening or testing may save a few days, but you lose out on important insights and cut people out of being involved who could have become champions.
- Embrace input – It can be nerve-wracking to draft a purpose statement and then take it to pockets of the organization for input not knowing if it will be liked or overhauled. However, it’s better to bring people along on the journey and get input before things are finalized for prime time. In addition, when people are engaged earlier, they tend to be more positive. We worked with a client to preview their company’s DNA (including the purpose statement) with more than 1,000 people. The reception was extremely positive and where there was feedback, it was hugely helpful. Most importantly, when it came time to roll out the final content, people were on board and ready to champion it because they had been a part of the process.
You’ve Crafted Your Purpose Statement – Now What?
Having a clear purpose statement is a big step to celebrate. It’s also just the beginning as you think about how to embed it into the organization. Consider these next steps:
- Define your terms – A purpose statement is just a few words, but every single word matters and needs to mean something. Have specific definitions for each word so people in your organization know what it means and use the terms consistently.
- Align the rest of the strategy to the purpose statement – The purpose statement anchors many other components of your company’s strategic framework so everything needs to ladder back to it, including the mission, vision, values, culture, business plans and priorities, and KPIs and metrics. Identify where there are connections to make and/or disconnects to address. Create a strategic framework that shows visually how all the pieces connect together.
- Plan the rollout and activation – Have a plan for how to communicate the company’s purpose across the organization. Think of it in terms of launching, activating, and sustaining so you can embed the purpose in how people think and work. Make it part of the everyday storytelling inside and outside the company. This takes time, consistency across voices and channels, and purposeful communication.
Case Study: A Purpose-Driven Function
We worked recently with a large function in a global organization through these steps. The function originally needed help to roll out and embed their new strategy to its 7,500 employees, but early on it became clear that before employees could align around a strategy, they first needed to come together with one shared purpose. Working these steps led to many defining moments, including:
- During discovery, an employee survey led to useful insights that guided the leadership team’s focus and helped them address some opportunities, and it served as a follow-up loop for communicating the purpose and strategy.
- Leader listening uncovered a wide range of perspectives on the organization’s purpose and path forward. This was critical to uncover early on, so the work to follow could bridge the gaps and bring the leaders together as one aligned team.
- The process of co-creating the purpose statement worked. It got some grumbles at first. “Really, we need to break up into groups and do flip chart exercises?” Yes... and did they ever rise to the occasion. In a few short hours, the group co-created a purpose statement and started using it in the same meeting to make some critical business decisions. It was an instant payoff and the leadership team knew it. They later described that as a defining moment for their leadership team and their company.
- Leaders played an active role in talking about the purpose statement with their teams and ensuring a common understanding of the meaning of each element of the purpose.
- Next-level leaders (directors and above in this case) became immersed in their purpose, mission, vision, values, and strategy at an offsite meeting where every moment of the day was designed purposefully to bring the company’s DNA to life in ways that made it real, relevant, and actionable for them, so they could take the same experience and energy back to their teams to get them grounded in it.
- The purpose statement took on a life of its own as leaders enrolled their teams in it. They held rallies, decorated their sites with signage, gave employees swag, made it part of everyday conversation, and even got teams writing songs about the purpose statement. It took hold because people got inspired and excited about it.
To learn how we helped another organization define its new DNA following a merger of equals, check out this case study .
Be purposeful when creating your company’s purpose statement so that it’s strategic, you have organizational buy-in, and it’s tied to business goals for the best outcome. Follow these steps so that your organization has a purpose statement that effortlessly describes why you exist and guides your company for the future in a way that sets you apart, and that employees, customers, and other key stakeholders know and believe in.
As you reflect on your company’s purpose statement, would it benefit from being updated?
This quick guide covers a methodology you can use to co-create your purpose statement and maximize leader and employee buy-in. Download Maximizing Strategy Development & Rollout with Top Leaders today!
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Other posts you might be interested in, 4 steps to harness the power of purpose and drive business transformation – guest blogger, tapestry's jennifer leemann, 4 ways leaders can take control of the great resignation, show you care: 4 must-have strategies to build feedback channels in your organization, subscribe to the leadercommunicator blog.
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Best Purpose Statement Examples From the Fortune 500
Home - Blog - Best Purpose Statement Examples From the Fortune 500
Published on August 16, 2021
The best purpose statements weave values into the corporate DNA.
Nearly every company has a mission statement, but what about a purpose statement? Among the Fortune 500 companies, 424 have a mission statement. This is expected: Missions are mainstays in corporate governance frameworks. However, less than a quarter of Fortune 500 companies have gone out of their way to write a purpose statement.
Purpose statements are founded on what companies and organizations do best to advance or improve people’s lives. Companies that excel at purpose move beyond a statement of social responsibility . They reinvent themselves from the inside out, based on their purpose, then measure their impact.
While some view purpose as a reputation-enhancing initiative , other companies have it woven into the DNA of who they are . While neither is inherently superior, this contrast is clear from the placement of companies’ purpose statements. In presenting purpose statement examples, we noted that presenting purpose as part of “Our Story” is different from detailing it only in an environmental, social and governance (ESG) report.
We have identified the emerging space for brand purpose in The Purpose Report . Purpose should be leveraged. Consumers care about purpose-driven initiatives and want companies to care too. 4 in 5 people surveyed believe a brand or company should have a purpose beyond making money. Companies that incorporate brand purpose into their corporate governance stand to gain.
The best purpose statements weave values into the corporate DNA. These purpose statement examples reflect statements found on Fortune 500 company websites, not necessarily reality. Each reader must examine a company’s culture, content and actions to understand whether a company is purposeful.
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What is an example of a purpose statement.
A purpose statement can be a corporate branding slogan incorporated into logos or a positioning statement deep within a corporate social responsibility report. Many Fortune 500 purpose statements are featured on the company’s website home page or About section, and here we’ve linked to each of them. These purpose statements show how major companies value their products as a social good in themselves, independent of the values and principles that produced them.
Customers purchase goods and services as means to an end, and a purpose statement captures that ultimate end goal to improve their lives and the lives of others. They may not be labeled as such, but they reveal the change we want to see in the world.
These companies find their purpose meaningful enough to explicitly share it with the world:
ABM Industries : To take care of the people, spaces and places that are important to you.
Advance Auto Parts : To execute our mission: Passion for customers … passion for Yes!
Advanced Micro Devices : Technology enabling a better world.
Aecom : Built to deliver a better world.
Allstate : We help customers realize their hopes and dreams by providing the best products and services to protect them from life’s uncertainties and prepare them for the future.
Ally Financial : Our giving back efforts are focused on reducing barriers to economic mobility through financial education, affordable housing, workforce preparedness and digital job training.
American Family Insurance : We’re dedicated to inspiring, protecting and restoring your dream.
AmerisourceBergen : We are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures.
Applied Materials : We are dedicated to conducting our business in an environmentally and socially responsible way, taking action to protect the health and safety of workers, customers and neighboring communities.
Aramark : Our purpose revolves around our mission to enrich and nourish lives: We strive to create a better world by considering the company’s environmental, economic, social and ethical dimensions.
Archer Daniels Midland : We unlock the power of nature to enrich the quality of life.
Assurant : We protect what matters most.
AT&T : Inspire human progress through the power of communication and entertainment.
Bank of America : To help make financial lives better through the power of every connection.
Bank of New York Mellon : Powering global investments to help our clients succeed.
Becton Dickinson : We will consistently provide superior products and services in pursuit of our purpose of advancing the world of health.
BlackRock : To help more and more people experience financial well-being.
Booz Allen Hamilton Holding : We empower people—our colleagues, our clients, our communities—to change the world.
BorgWarner : BorgWarner chooses to be a leader — in serving our customers, advancing our technologies and rewarding all who invest in us.
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Campbell Soup : Real food that matters for life’s moments.
Cardinal Health : To improve people’s lives by merging innovation and technology with healthcare.
CarMax : To drive integrity by being honest & transparent in every interaction.
Casey’s General Stores : To make the lives of our guests and communities better every day.
CDW : To help our customers achieve their goals by providing them with the technology advice and products they need, when they need them.
Centene : Transforming the health of the community, one person at a time.
Charles Schwab : To champion every client’s goals with passion and integrity.
CHS : To create connections that empower agriculture.
Coca-Cola : Refresh the world. Make a difference.
Cognizant Technology Solutions : We innovate to find a better way—for the clients who depend on us, the customers who rely on them and the communities who count on us all.
Commscope Holding : We create lasting connections.
Corteva : To enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come.
Coty : To celebrate and liberate the diversity of your beauty.
CSX : To capitalize on the efficiency of rail transportation to serve America.
CVS Health : Helping people on their path to better health.
Danaher : Helping realize life’s potential.
Dick’s Sporting Goods : We create confidence and excitement by personally equipping all athletes to achieve their dreams.
eBay : To empower people and create economic opportunity for all.
Ecolab : To make the world cleaner, safer and healthier – helping businesses succeed while protecting people and vital resources.
Eli Lilly : Lilly unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world.
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Entergy : To grow by providing customers with low-emission, reliable energy at reasonable cost; superior service; a strict focus on safety; operational excellence and engaged employees.
Equitable Holdings : Helping our clients live their lives with confidence is at the core of who we are as a company and individuals.
Erie Insurance Group : To provide our policyholders with as near perfect protection, as near perfect service as is humanly possible and to do so at the lowest possible cost.
Expedia Group : To bring the world within reach.
Fiserv : To deliver superior value for our clients through leading technology, targeted innovation and excellence in everything we do.
Fluor : We transform the world by building prosperity and empowering progress.
Foot Locker : To inspire and empower youth culture
Ford Motor Co. : To drive human progress through freedom of movement.
Fortive : Essential technology for the people who accelerate progress.
Fortune Brands Home & Security : To fulfill the dreams of home.
Arthur J. Gallagher : Tomorrow starts with confidence. What will tomorrow bring? How will you face it? And most importantly, what can you do today to make sure you’re positioned for success? Wherever you grow, we’ll be there.
General Electric : We rise to the challenge of building a world that works.
General Mills : To make food the world loves.
W.W. Grainger : We keep the world working.
Graybar Electric : Graybar strives to be a profitable, progressive business that provides employees with long-term career opportunities and the financial means to achieve a high quality of life, both while working and into retirement.
HD Supply Holdings : To improve our associates’ lives and equip them with the tools needed to provide exceptional customer experiences every day.
The Hershey Co. : Giving underserved children the skills and support they need to be successful.
Hess : To be the world’s most trusted energy partner.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise : To advance the way people live and work.
Hormel Foods : Inspired people. Inspired food.
Huntington Bancshares : To make people’s lives better, help businesses thrive, and strengthen the communities we serve.
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Ingredion : We bring the potential of people, nature, and technology together to make life better.
Intel : To create world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every person on earth.
Interpublic Group : Interpublic is committed to operating sustainably.
IQVIA Holdings : Our solutions enable life sciences companies to innovate with confidence, maximize opportunities and, ultimately, drive human health outcomes forward.
JLL : We shape the future of real estate for a better world.
Kellogg : Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.
Kohl’s : To inspire and empower families to lead fulfilled lives.
Kroger : To feed the human spirit.
M&T Bank : To make a difference in people’s lives.
MASCO : Delivering better living possibilities.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance : To help people secure their future and protect the ones they love.
Mastercard : We work to connect and power an inclusive digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible; Connecting everyone to Priceless possibilities.
MetLife : To help our customers navigate life’s twists and turns.
Molson Coors Beverages : Uniting people to celebrate all life’s moments.
Mondelez International : We empower people to snack right.
Newell Brands : To make life better every day for hundreds of millions of consumers where they live, learn, work and play.
Newmont : To create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining.
NRG Energy : We bring the power of energy to people and organizations.
Office Depot : It’s all about doing the right thing – for our shared planet, our valuable communities, and the future of how we service and support our customers.
Oneok : Grow our businesses safely, profitably and in an environmentally sustainable manner while maintaining financial strength.
Owens & Minor : Owens & Minor insists on inclusion, support, and respect.
Owens Corning : Our people and products make the world a better place.
Parker-Hannifin : Enabling Engineering Breakthroughs that Lead to a Better Tomorrow.
Pfizer : Working together for a healthier world.
Phillip Morris International : To deliver a smoke-free future.
PPG Industries : Achieve superior shareholder returns.
Principal Financial : To give you the financial tools, resources and information you need to live your best life.
Procter & Gamble : We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.
PVH : We power brands that drive fashion forward – for good.
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Ralph Lauren : Our purpose at Ralph Lauren is to inspire the dream of a better life through authenticity and timeless style.
Realogy Holdings : Opening Doors – an all-encompassing description that reflects a larger idealistic motivation for coming to work each day.
Robert Half International : To help people find meaningful employment and businesses identify the talent they need to grow.
Rush Enterprises : To provide superior customer service with every interaction and support our customers whenever and wherever they need us.
S&P Global : We accelerate progress in the world by providing intelligence that is essential for companies, governments and individuals to make decisions with conviction.
Securian Financial Group : Helping our customers build secure tomorrows.
J.M. Smucker : Feeding connections that help us thrive – life tastes better together.
Southwest Airlines : Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.
Stanley Black & Decker : For those who make the world.
Starbucks : As it has been from the beginning, our purpose goes far beyond profit. We believe in the pursuit of doing good.
State Street Corp. : We help create better outcomes for the world’s investors and the people they serve.
Target : To help all families discover the joy of everyday life.
TD Ameritrade Holding : We exist to transform lives and investing for the better.
Tech Data : To continuously satisfy the world’s ever-evolving demand for technology.
Truist Financial : To inspire and build better lives and communities.
Tyson Foods : Raising the world’s expectations for how much good food can do.
Union Pacific : The people of Union Pacific deliver North America’s safest, most reliable and most efficient supply chain solutions.
United Airlines : Connecting people. Uniting the world.
Verizon Communications : Verizon’s core purpose is to give people the ability to do more.
VF : We power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet.
Walgreens Boots Alliance : We help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives.
Wells Fargo : To help our customers succeed financially.
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How to Write a Purpose Statement for Your Company (+31 Examples)
Looking for tips on how to write a purpose statement for your company? Curious about what a purpose statement is, why it’s important, or even how it’s different than a mission statement?
Wherever you are in the process of understanding, identifying, or writing your company’s purpose statement, we have the information and insight you need to take the next step.
Articulating your business’s purpose in a clear, concise purpose statement is key to creating a more impactful brand . This is because purpose gets right to the heart of why you do what you do as a business. It speaks to profound reasons why employees and customers want to be associated with your brand.
In what follows, we’ll take a look why a purpose is so critical to your business’s success. We’ll unpack a purpose statement definition, look at purpose statement examples in the world’s most successful brands, and see how you can define a powerful purpose statement for your own brand.
What is a Purpose Statement?
The difference between a purpose statement and a mission statement, the benefits of a strong purpose statement, 5 qualities of a strong purpose statement, how to write a purpose statement, 31 purpose statement examples, the takeaway.
A purpose statement is a short sentence that describes the reason a company exists beyond making money. It is the singular answer to the most fundamental question an organization faces: “Why?”
Why does your business exist? What drives you to get out of bed in the morning to go to work? Why do you work long hours or make sacrifices to keep your business moving forward?
Purpose is the primary driver that motivates an organization, especially during difficult or challenging times. It is the impetus behind the action that leads to the impact .
Also known as a core purpose, business purpose, or company purpose, a purpose statement is an essential component of the brand compass , a strategic messaging system that also includes vision , mission , and values .
So, what’s the difference between a purpose statement and a mission statement?
The answer is fairly straightforward. Where a purpose statement describes the simple, profound idea behind why an organization exists, a mission statement is a more detailed account. Your mission statement outlines what you plan to do as an organization, how you plan to achieve it, and whom you’re doing it for.
You can think of your purpose statement as describing the emotional or philosophical motivation behind your business, while your mission statement is a strategic roadmap for your business’s success.
Organizational purpose isn’t just for environmentally or socially conscious brands, either. A well-crafted purpose statement that powerfully communicates your organization’s raison d’être is one of the best ways to connect with those you serve on a more profound, human level.
As we’ll see below, connections like these are a powerful way to boost brand loyalty among customers and employees alike. Let’s take a closer look some of the most immediate benefits of a strong purpose statement.
Attract & Retain Top Talent
Today’s employees are looking for more than competitive salaries and attractive benefits packages. The best talent out there wants to work for purpose-driven companies. This makes purpose an indispensable component to effective employer branding .
This fact has been borne out by multiple studies of late. Take the findings from Porter Novelli’s Purpose Perception Study , which surveyed 1,200 adults ranging in age from 18 to 69.
The study found that:
- 78% of employees are more likely to want to work a purpose-driven company
- 72% are more likely to be loyal to that company
- 72% are more likely to forgive that company if it makes a misstep
Not only does clearly defining and communicating your company purpose put your business in a more competitive position in the labor market, it also ensures that the employees you do hire will stick around longer. Reduced turnover means more cohesive company culture and better brand alignment . It also means the investments you make in your workforce will have larger, longer-term dividends.
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The benefits of a clearly articulated purpose don’t end with attracting talent and building culture. Business purpose is a powerful driver when it comes to employee productivity.
The simple truth is that inspired employees are more productive employees. As we’ve already seen, purpose gives your team motivation that goes beyond a paycheck and a benefits package. It gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
When workers have a purposeful reason for putting in long hours that goes beyond mere financial compensation, they are more likely to see personal sacrifices as worth it. A more cohesive company culture filled with more motivated employees naturally leads to a more inspired, more productive team.
Inspire Your Customers
Where employees want to work for purpose-driven brands, customers want to buy from them. We see evidence of this fact borne out in study after study.
Porter Novelli found that purpose matters in important ways to vast majorities of consumers:
- 66% of customers consider a company’s purpose when making purchase decisions
- 78% are more likely to remember a company with a strong purpose
In today’s marketplace, it’s simply no longer good enough to compete on the basis of cost or quality alone. Today’s customers expect more from the businesses they engage with. They want to align themselves with brands that share their values. That starts with purpose.
Brands with a clearly defined, authentic sense of purpose will always have an edge in our increasingly socially conscious consumer landscape.
Meaningfully Differentiate Yourself from the Competition
Speaking of competition, your core purpose is one of the most profound ways to set your brand apart from similar brands in your industry.
Not only are customers more likely to recognize, remember, and engage with a purpose-driven brand, they’re also more likely to purchase it over the competition. In fact, 71% of customers say they would purchase from a purpose-driven company over the alternative when cost and quality are equal.
The fact is, if you haven’t clearly defined your purpose statement, you can’t very well build a purpose-driven brand. And if you haven’t built a purpose-driven brand, you’re missing out on a fundamental opportunity to create meaningful competitive differentiation , connect with customers, and gain market share.
The numbers don’t lie. Both internally and externally, business purpose is an essential ingredient of business growth.
So, what separates a strong purpose statement from a less effective one? There are five qualities that every good business purpose statement should have.
A strong purpose statement is:
Purpose starts first and foremost with authenticity. The two ideas are inextricably linked. So, what does it mean for a company purpose to be authentic?
An authentic purpose statement is one that is borne from an honest accounting of who you are as an organization, where you started, and where you’re headed. It is a genuine sentiment that reflects your true character and values and that’s aligned with your brand positioning .
An authentic purpose is ultimately also a human idea. It isn’t about your own business’s growth but about the change you hope to affect in the world. Which is a good segue to our next essential quality of every strong purpose statement.
A strong corporate purpose isn’t just honest and genuine, it’s also deep and meaningful. Your purpose should mean something—both to those within your organization and to those you serve.
A profound purpose is an idea that makes people think. It should convince both your customers and your employees that you stand for something beyond quarterly reports and balance sheet figures.
Many brands find profound purpose in environmental and/or social impact, but not every purpose has to be centered on an ESG-oriented value proposition . A profound purpose can be as simple as making the world a happier, safer, or more enriching place.
The best purpose statements aren’t just authentic and profound, they are also inspiring. Your purpose, remember, is the reason you do what you do as an organization. It is by its very definition a motivational idea.
Describing that motivation in a way that inspires people to act is the best way to get the most mileage out of your purpose statement—and build brand equity in the process. Your purpose statement should inspire your employees to find deeper meaning in the work they do, giving them the impetus they need to push through challenging times.
Your business purpose statement should also inspire your customers. Not just to buy your products and services (although, as we’ve seen, that’s one of the most tangible benefits of a well-crafted purpose), but also to associate themselves with your brand. Customers inspired by purpose will always be your best brand advocates.
A quick Google search will turn up business purpose examples of all shapes and sizes. This includes long, run-on sentences that unpack not just why a company does what it does, but also what, how, and for whom. As is the case with nearly all writing, however, the best of the bunch are the shortest ones.
A purpose statement should be as concise as possible for two reasons. One, your organizational purpose is the answer to one question and one question only: why? Second, the shorter the statement, the more powerful it becomes.
You’ll see this firsthand in the purpose statement examples we’ve collected below. While we limited our list to the best purpose statements we could find, you’ll see that even among these highlights, the shortest and simplest statements outshine the others.
Take Netflix’s “To entertain the world” or Kroger’s “To feed the human spirit.” Both leave little room for doubt when it comes to the profound reasons why these companies exist—and do so in as few words as possible.
The final quality of a strong purpose statement is clarity. After all, your corporate purpose can be as authentic and concise as possible, but if it’s vague or ambiguous it won’t be very meaningful or inspiring to those who hear it.
A clearly stated core purpose is one that isn’t too abstract or philosophical. It doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to plainly answering the question “why?”
We’ll explore more about how to craft a clear, concise purpose statement in our next section, but suffice it to say that when it comes to communicating the singular reason your business exists, clarity is kind.
Think of the five essential qualities above as the ultimate criteria for the final draft of your purpose statement. But one of the keys to writing a strong purpose statement is not to worry too much about checking all of the boxes when you first get started.
Let’s take a closer look at what the process looks like when you’re ready to write your company purpose statement.
So how do you write a business purpose statement of your own? We’ve boiled it down to three simple steps that are sure to result in an effective and impactful statement.
1. Identify Your Purpose
The first step in the process is brainstorming and ideation. This is the “no bad ideas” phase, where the goal isn’t to worry about conciseness or clarity, but rather to come up with a handful of ideas to choose from.
Put together a small team of your most creative minds in front of a whiteboard and start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why do we exist as an organization?
- Why do we do what we do as a business (beyond making money or increasing shareholder value)?
- What positive change are we looking to affect in the world?
- Why do we get out of bed in the morning to go to work (beyond a paycheck)?
- What is it that drives us to put in extra effort or push through challenging times?
- Why do we work long hours or put up with the occasional unruly customer or make any of the sacrifices we do to keep our business moving forward?
Once you have a handful of ideas, try to identify a single idea or theme that is behind them all. The goal is to get to the heart of why you do what you do.
Pro tip: if you think you’ve put your finger on it, ask “why?” again. Is it to better your community? To make people happy? To make the world a safer place? You’re looking for a central, profound idea behind everything you do.
Imagine yourself as the precocious, insatiably curious kid, who keeps asking why until you get to the heart of the matter.
2. Articulate Your Purpose
Once you think you’ve hit on the idea that is at the root of why you do what you do, the next step is to craft it into a purpose statement.
Now, because purpose statements are essentially answers to the question “why?” most of them take a similar format.
So, “Why do you do X?”
“We do X to Y”
Or, more simply:
Purpose statements that start with an infinite verb like this are by nature actively oriented. And actively oriented statements will always be more inspiring and motivational than passively oriented statements.
Try following a similar format with your purpose statement. In the sentence, “We do X to Y,” what are your X and Y?
Maybe you “sell electric vehicles to keep people moving.” Or maybe you “design cutting-edge apps to navigate the world.” Or perhaps you “produce fertilizer to make the world a greener place.”
Whatever your answer might be, whittle it down to just the Y:
To keep people moving.
To navigate the world.
To make the world a greener place.
Remember, when it comes to purpose statements, the shorter the better. Try to boil it down to a single idea and aim for no more than 6 or 7 words. Don’t worry about the “what” or “how.” The goal is not a statement that says “To do X because of Z so that Y.” You’re just looking for “To Y.”
3. Communicate Your Purpose
The final step of any good purpose statement is to use it as inspiration throughout your business. As we’ve already seen, purpose should be at the very heart of everything you do as an organization.
From your business model to your branding to your marketing and beyond—all of it makes more sense and is more impactful when you start with “why.”
Internally, your purpose statement should be an integral part of brand compass messaging that your entire team is familiar with. It should be documented in your brand guidelines and be used as a cornerstone of internal communications.
Externally, your organizational purpose should be the starting point for your brand story . As we’ll see in out next section, the world’s most compelling brands are those with purpose-driven brand experiences .
Customers instinctually gravitate towards brands with an authentic sense of purpose that shines through in everything from their brand messaging to their brand design .
Purpose has become increasingly more important to Fortune 500 brands like those listed here. Let’s take a look at how these brands have articulated their purpose statements—and leveraged them to build more meaningful connections with those they serve.
AT&T’s Purpose: “To connect people to greater possibility – with expertise, simplicity, and inspiration.”
BlackRock’s Purpose: “To help more and more people experience financial well-being.”
Coca-Cola’s Purpose: “Refresh the world. Make a difference.”
CVS’s Purpose: “Bringing our heart to every moment of your health.”
Intel’s Purpose: “To create world-changing technology that improves the life of every person on the planet.”
Kohl’s Purpose: “To inspire and empower families to lead fulfilled lives.”
Kroger’s Purpose: “To feed the human spirit.”
MetLife’s Purpose: “To help our customers navigate life’s twists and turns.”
Ralph Lauren’s Purpose: “To inspire the dream of a better life through authenticity and timeless style.”
Target’s Purpose: “To help all families discover the joy of everyday life.”
Verizon’s Purpose: “To give people the ability to do more.”
Walgreens’ Purpose: “More joyful lives through better health.”
Walmart’s Purpose: “To help people save money so they can live better.”
REI’s Purpose: “To awaken a life-long love of the outdoors.”
Amazon’s Purpose: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company.”
Netflix’s Purpose: “To entertain the world”
Disney’s Purpose: “To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling.”
Google’s Purpose: “To organize the world’s information”
Zappos’s Purpose: “To deliver WOW.”
Red Bull’s Purpose: “To give wings to people and ideas”
Lyft’s Purpose: “To improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.”
Adidas’s Purpose: “Through sport, we have the power to change lives.”
Apple’s Purpose: “To empower creative exploration and self-expression.”
Chobani’s Purpose: “To make better food for more people.”
IKEA’s Purpose: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
Lego’s Purpose: “To inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.”
SAP’s Purpose: “To help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”
Microsoft’s Purpose: “To empower every person and organization on this planet to achieve more.”
Airbnb’s Purpose: “To help people to belong anywhere.”
Tesla’s Purpose: “To accelerate the planet’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Patagonia’s Purpose: “To save our home planet.”
A powerful purpose statement is one of the best ways to foster brand loyalty and build brand equity. By identifying your organization’s reason for existing beyond making money and articulating a clear, concise, and authentic statement that communicates that reason, you can set the stage for creating deeper connections with customers and employees alike.
Take inspiration from the growing list of Fortune 500 brands, whose business purpose examples are listed above. Few things are more powerful than purpose when it comes to creating a profound brand experience that speaks to audiences on a deeply human level.
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How to Develop Your Company’s Purpose Statement
If you aspire to lead or start a company, you’ll play a crucial role in driving its vision, goals, and plan for success. A purpose statement establishes the foundation you need to do that effectively.
While some degree programs touch on the topic of purpose statements, you might not realize how this concept can apply to your future career .
Here’s how you can take the skills you’ve learned from your business degree and use them while writing an effective company purpose statement.
What is a Purpose Statement?
The first step to understanding a purpose statement is to distinguish it from a mission statement because each plays a different role in your business plan .
Mission Statement vs. Purpose Statement
A purpose statement is a single statement that defines the reason your company exists—beyond simply making a profit. It also illustrates how your product or service positively impacts the people you serve. Once your purpose is established, you’ll need a series of goals to drive that purpose. That’s where the mission statement comes in.
First and foremost, a mission statement is actionable. It explains the path you need to take to reach your purpose. So, while a purpose statement is focused on the future, a mission statement is rooted in the present.
Unlike a company mission, your company purpose isn’t something that can be completed or checked off a list. A purpose statement illustrates the ongoing pursuit to push your company forward.
What Does a Purpose Statement Do?
A purpose statement sets expectations, both internally (for leadership and employees) and externally (for customers and investors). It acts as your company’s blueprint for the future and helps guide all the decisions you make—from how you manufacture your products to the words you use in your marketing.
Your purpose also influences your customer. In fact, 63% of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose, according to recent research.
The study found that companies that stand for something bigger than what they sell, communicate their purpose, and demonstrate commitment are more likely to attract consumers and influence purchasing decisions.
Leaders around the world are taking note of the rise of purpose-driven companies , too. Lise Kingo, CEO and executive director of the UN Global Compact, stated, “The idea of business as an agent of change and a purveyor of positive values is gaining traction and legitimacy around the world. With a growing number of companies taking steps to be more responsible in how they treat employees, communities, and the planet, we are seeing business emerge as a real player and solution-provider in the quest to put our world on a better course.”
Beyond attracting customers and increasing your bottom line, clarifying your company purpose is important for these reasons:
1. Distinguishes Your Business from Competitors
One important role of your purpose statement is to define what makes your company unique. After all, your competitors might be able to replicate your product or service, but they’d be hard pressed to duplicate your unique purpose.
People can be genuinely inspired if your company has a solid purpose. When customers and employees understand what drives your passion and ignites your purpose, they’re more likely to get on board with it.
2. Helps Meet Goals
A strong purpose statement sets a path for how your company will move forward, which will help you see and set clear goals. These goals should go beyond financial performance; they should also measure how your purpose is progressing toward the social impact you’re trying to make.
3. Informs Company Culture
A recent employee survey by Harvard Business Review found that only 28% of employees felt connected to their company’s purpose, and 34% thought they were contributing to their company’s success. According to the article, a lack of purpose among employees can create a negative company culture where employees feel unmotivated and unaligned.
So how do you avoid this?
Creating a purpose-driven culture starts with clear communication between employees and leadership—as well as listening and being open to feedback. When everyone understands and supports the company's purpose, it creates a united front where everyone from the top down is working toward the same goals.
Furthermore, multiple studies show a purpose-driven culture is a positive one. This is because employees feel more engaged and motivated when they can connect the work they do with how it contributes to the organization’s purpose .
How Do I Write a Purpose Statement?
Creating a company purpose statement is no small task. It requires a deep understanding of why your company exists and where it hopes to go in the future. If you’re still feeling stuck, here are some steps to take as you're developing your company's purpose.
Step #1: Define what you do.
But more specifically, lay out what your company does to solve a particular problem for your customers.
Step #2: Pinpoint your passion.
Think about what inspires the work you do. For example, are you passionate about creating sustainable products? Do you strive to be the most innovative? Are you focused on serving local communities?
Step #3: List your values.
Understanding the things your company is passionate about will help you come up with specific values that align with your purpose. Those values might include things like sustainability, innovation, integrity, quality, etc.
Step #4: Create a draft.
Once you’ve defined what you do and why you do it, take pen to paper and start drafting ideas for your purpose statement.
As you’re writing, make sure your purpose statement is:
- Short (about 1-2 sentences)
- Easy to understand
- Aspirational (but not vague)
Step #5: Get feedback.
Ask others in your organization to review what you’ve written and consider their feedback as you hone your purpose statement.
Step #6: Leave room for growth.
Keep in mind that a purpose statement is a constant work in progress, and changes will happen as your business evolves.
Examples of Effective Purpose Statements
Use these company purpose statements to draw inspiration from:
- Southwest Airlines lets its personality shine through in its purpose statement: “Connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”
- Kellogg’s and Coke keep it short and sweet: “Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.” – Kellogg’s, “Refresh the world. Make a difference.” – Coke
- If you’re looking for an example of an empowering purpose statement, here’s Dove’s: “Discovering the value of 'real' beauty and improving self-esteem worldwide.”
- Both The Red Cross and Whole Foods have purpose statements that make an emotional connection: “Our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing of both people—customers, Team Members, and business organizations in general—and the planet.” – Whole Foods, “To protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being .” – The Red Cross
- Crayola and Lego lean on their ability to inspire: “Encouraging children to be creative, and enabling parents to inspire them.” – Crayola, “To inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.” - Lego
Now that you know what a company purpose statement is, why it’s important, and how to develop your own, you’ll be ready to put this important business skill into practice in your own organization.
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Statements of Purpose for Businesses
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A statement of purpose is an integral component of your small business's overall strategic operation plan. This document contains your company's core philosophy and values, from which you measure the worth of all business decisions and strategies. Crafting an understandable and attainable statement of purpose helps you and your management team to create policies and measure the success of your company as a whole.
Statement of Purpose Definition
The statement of purpose for your small business defines your company's core goals and purpose. According to Web Marketing Today, an Internet marketing website, the statement also forms the basis for your small business's brand and the promises your company intends to make to consumers. A statement of purpose isn't as broad as a mission statement, which seeks to incorporate business strategies and procedures into the document. Instead, a statement of purpose focuses primarily on the short message that will guide your company in formulating its business practices and procedures, without spelling out what those methods will look like when your business opens its doors.
Avoid Vague Statements
Just because your small business's statement of purpose doesn't include your company's plans for business operations, doesn't mean you should be vague in crafting its language. Your company's statement of purpose shouldn't simply be "make money." The statement of purpose should describe the way in which your small business wants to become successful while carving out a place in the local business community. Focusing the statement with specific language can help your management team come up with strategies and methods to accomplish the goals your statement of purpose sets.
Think About Customer Need
Thinking about the needs your small business is fulfilling for customers can help you craft a statement of purpose that positions your company strategically, as opposed to functionally, according to Web Marketing Today. This allows your mission statement to transcend just creating products and instead focus on providing services for customers. A statement of purpose focused on function allows your business the flexibility to meet consumer needs regardless of the products your company currently offers for sale.
Creating Attainable Goals
An unattainable ideal, including the pursuit of perfection, doesn't make for a good statement of purpose because your employees and management team can't adequately judge if its practices are working towards that goal. It's perfectly acceptable to create a lofty goal for your small business, but this goal should also be within the realm of possibility. This allows your management personnel to gauge the worthiness of proposed business plans and the success of current business strategies.
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Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.
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The Poetry of Purpose: Inspirational Purpose Statement Examples
Discover what an effective purpose statement is, read insightful purpose statement examples, and learn how to drive your career, projects, or business.
Directing a business, a project, or even your own career can be an uphill battle if you lack a central point of focus and purpose.
What do you hold onto when priorities seem muddled? How do you lead your team toward shared goals? How do you assure clients that you’re on the same page as them?
That’s what a well-crafted and clearly defined purpose statement is for.
Whether you’re drafting a purpose statement for personal development, a project, or a business, this guide is made for you. Dive in to get a sharper understanding of what a purpose statement is and how to write one — plus, inspiration from insightful examples.
What are purpose statements?
A purpose statement or vision statement explains your “why.” It helps others understand why you do what you do.
However, a purpose statement isn’t just about setting goals or making plans — it’s also about giving those goals and plans real meaning. It’s what adds soul to the process.
There are three main kinds of purpose statements: personal (for you), project (for a specific task), and business (for a company). Each of these is crafted to address the unique needs, challenges, and aspirations of its particular area, but they all share the same aim: to bring about clarity, direction, and motivation.
Personal purpose statement
A personal purpose statement highlights what drives you, your goals, and what you truly care about. It covers not only where you want to go but also why you want to go there and the principles you’ll honor along the way.
A personal purpose statement has transformative power, bringing clarity to the chaos, direction amid distractions, and an unwavering foundation when life’s storms hit.
A helpful tip to help you craft your purpose statement is to reflect on moments in the past when you felt most fulfilled or when you made a difference, no matter how small.
With a personal vision statement, every choice and step you take is anchored to something bigger. Crafting one can improve your quality of life, filling your days with purpose, depth, and contentment.
Project purpose statement
A project purpose statement includes a clear declaration of the intent and goals of a project. It provides detailed information about the project objectives, the method that will be used to achieve them, and the values the project aspires to uphold.
Clearly defined objectives lay out the expected outcome of the project. Whether it’s the development of a new software solution or the unveiling of a new product line, these objectives need to be communicated so everyone involved has a clear understanding of what to aim for.
The method, or the plan of action, is where the project scope is defined. The scope outlines the specific steps, the extent of the work to be done, and the limits of the project. Defining the project scope helps manage expectations and ensures that resources are used efficiently and the project remains on track.
Values serve as the ethical cornerstone of a project. They set the guiding principles for decision-making so that the project upholds its integrity in the face of challenges.
One of the main benefits of a project purpose statement is its ability to bring clarity and alignment, which increases team engagement. In fact, 78% of adults are more likely to want to work for a company that leads with purpose. A project purpose statement ensures all involved stakeholders are on the same page, which is essential for building trust and motivating team members.
Business purpose statement
A business purpose statement defines a company’s core values, goals, and mission. It goes beyond profit margins and product lines to capture the overarching ethos and culture that the business champions.
A business purpose statement is instrumental in integrating strategies for team collaboration . Having a clear vision and values ensures that everyone in the company, regardless of their position, shares the same objectives. This unified approach fosters a more cohesive, efficient, and motivated work environment in which everyone feels they are contributing to a shared goal.
Moreover, when a company is clear about its purpose, this resonates with customers. Notably, 71% of consumers prefer to buy from a company with a strong purpose.
Purpose statement vs. value statement vs. mission statement
“Purpose statement,” “value statement,” and “mission statement” are common buzzwords in the workplace. But how do they differ? Let’s take a quick look at each of them, using the golden arches of McDonald’s as our guide.
A purpose statement addresses the reason a company exists. It is the driving force for what a company hopes to ultimately achieve. McDonald’s purpose is “to feed and foster communities,” which emphasizes its commitment to not just serving food but also positively impacting communities.
A mission statement is about the present moment and how the company operates day-to-day to fulfill its purpose. It’s more specific and action-oriented than the purpose statement. McDonald’s mission , “Making delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone,” shows that its daily objective is to provide enjoyable and convenient meals.
A value statement articulates the principles and beliefs that guide a company’s actions and decisions. It represents the company’s core ethics.
Here is McDonald’s value statement:
Serve: We put our guests and people first.
Inclusion: We open our doors to everyone.
Integrity: We do the right thing.
Community: We are good neighbors.
Family: We get better together.
These values outline the principles that dictate how Mcdonald’s conducts business and interacts with stakeholders.
Purpose statement examples
Ever stumbled upon a phrase or slogan from a brand that made you nod in agreement or even see the company in a new light?
That’s the power of an inspirational purpose statement. Looking at purpose statement examples is like window shopping for ideas and inspirations. It can guide you in finding your own words and direction.
Moreover, reading the purpose statements of businesses you admire can help you consider your own priorities and goals.
Personal purpose statements
A personal purpose statement offers a clear view of what fuels your passion and shapes your choices. Merging this clarity into your work can lead to more meaningful experiences and connections.
Here are some examples:
- “I am committed to maximizing my daily output and making the most of my day doing productive tasks.”
- “Building bridges, not walls, in teamwork is my mantra; I believe in harnessing collective strength through collaboration.”
- “Every challenge is a stepping stone, and I aim to achieve success by facing every obstacle head-on.”
- “Clear, open, and effective communication is the foundation of all my interactions, as I value clarity and mutual respect.”
- “I prioritize meaningful relationships, nurturing trust, understanding, and growth in every personal and professional connection.”
Why are personal purpose statements effective?
These statements provide clear direction and intent. They’re concise yet powerful because they convey the individual’s core values and principles in each respective domain.
Project purpose statements
A project purpose statement explains the core objectives and values of your initiative. It paves the way for more structured, impactful, and meaningful outcomes.
Here are some guidelines for writing your statement:
- Productivity: “Our goal is to work smarter and boost our daily output by 20% by optimizing existing workflows.”
- Delivery: “We aim to deliver our products on time, making sure 95% of our orders get to our clients when promised.”
- Time management: “With meticulous planning and execution, we will reduce turnaround time by 15%.”
- Teamwork/collaboration: “Our project should include the contributions of every team member, leading to a collective achievement of our goals.”
- Innovation: “To drive forward-thinking solutions in the 21st century, we will push the boundaries of what’s possible and encourage continuous improvement.”
Why are project purpose statements effective?
When employees understand a project’s value, they feel a heightened sense of purpose and are more committed.
Business purpose statements
A well-written business purpose statement inspires trust, loyalty, and motivation within not just the team but also customers. Sixty-three percent of employees say that they feel motivated in companies that clearly define and communicate value to customers.
Take a look at these real-world examples:
- Satisfying customers: Amazon’s vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- Business values: Patagonia believes in “building the best product, causing no unnecessary harm, and using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
- Taking care of employees: Starbucks promises “to nurture and inspire the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Commercial success: Apple aims “to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.”
- Innovation: Tesla, the pioneer of electric vehicles, is on a mission “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Why are purpose statements effective?
Purpose statements like these resonate deeply with both employees and consumers. With 66% of consumers factoring in a business’s purpose during purchase decisions, clear objectives and values hold great sway.
How to utilize purpose statements
While crafting a powerful purpose statement is important, you need to weave it into the very fabric of your organization to maximize its impact. It’s not enough to simply have a purpose statement — the real magic happens when it’s applied and practiced daily.
As we dive deeper into this section, we’ll explore practical ways to breathe life into your purpose statement and make it a tangible force that drives your business.
Using personal purpose statements
Personal purpose statements can give you daily motivation and guidance in the workplace. Here are some strategies you can implement to integrate your personal purpose statement into your professional life:
1. Mindful morning rituals
Win the morning, win the day.
Start your day off by reflecting on your purpose statement. Use Motion to set a recurring reminder each morning, prompting you to read and meditate on your statement. This practice will help set the tone for the day and align you with your core purpose.
2. Task prioritization
Every task carries its own weight and significance. So move the ones that align most closely with your purpose statement to the top of your to-do list.
Motion can help you automatically prioritize your daily tasks based on your goals so you’re consistently focused on what matters most to you.
3. Reflective reviews
At the end of the week, use Motion to track and review the progress you’ve made. This is an easy way to reflect on your accomplishments and assess how they fit into your personal purpose statement. It not only gives you a sense of achievement but also provides insights into areas that need improvement.
Using project purpose statements
Having a well-defined project purpose statement and integrating it into the way you manage your teams, tasks, and workflows can help you stay aligned with your core purpose.
Seventy percent of employees say that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. This makes an effective project purpose statement essential for getting your team on board and improving their sense of purpose.
Here are some strategies you can use to integrate a purpose statement into your projects:
1. Frequent reiteration
At the beginning of each meeting or brainstorming session, revisit the project’s purpose statement. A brief reminder can keep everyone focused and on track.
2. Visual displays
Incorporate your purpose statement into project documentation, dashboards, or even as a pinned note in a collaboration tool.
For example, Motion lets you attach documents, spreadsheets, pictures, and more to a project or task. Having your project purpose statement visible can serve as a constant touchstone on which to base your decision-making.
3. Communication alignment
Leverage communication tools, like Motion, to announce your purpose statement and gather feedback.
Open and public communication ensures that everyone understands and buys into the purpose, fostering a collective commitment.
Using business purpose statements
Implementing an effective business purpose statement means aligning all employees, directing the company, and sharing the vision with clients and potential customers.
Consider the following strategies to integrate your business’ purpose statement:
1. Employee onboarding and training
From day one, introduce new hires to the company’s purpose statement. Make it a central part of their onboarding orientation.
Use Motion’s meeting assistant to schedule regular training sessions with the team. Doing this can help emphasize your business purpose statement’s significance and help everyone uphold it.
2. Marketing and branding
Your external communications, whether advertising, PR, or social media, should reflect your purpose statement. This not only attracts customers that agree with it but also reinforces your commitment to it. Once it’s out in the open, there’s an added responsibility to consistently deliver on it.
3. Regular feedback
Set aside times during quarterly or annual reviews to revisit the purpose statement. Encourage feedback on how well it’s being integrated, and identify where improvements can be made. This process helps refine its application over time.
Motion helps you realize your purpose
A strong, clear, and tailored purpose is essential to have at every level.
With tools like Motion, you can ensure that your purpose statement comes to life in your everyday life and professional life, projects, and every aspect of your business.
If you can remember your priorities, integrate them into your actions, and communicate them clearly, your purpose statement can be your true North Star.
At Motion, our purpose is to empower individuals like you to navigate the complexities of life with confidence and clarity. We believe that everyone has the potential to achieve greatness, and it starts with harnessing the power of productivity.
Put your purpose statement into action by signing up for our 7-day free trial .
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Dos and Don’ts for Writing a Statement of Purpose
- Identify your purpose or goal. In writing a purpose statement, you need to have a purpose.
- Create an outline of topics you want to include in your statement of purpose.
- Balance the discussion of topics. Talk about yourself, but not too much to the point of making it sound like an entry in your diary. You may also see bank statement examples .
- Write simply and clearly. Make your sentences short, use simple language and write in the active voice.
- Keep it short. If instructions regarding the length are specified, follow them. If not, make your statement short.
- Proofread your composition. Check for spelling, grammatical, or any errors and improve your writing. Or ask someone else to proofread your work for you. You may also like a statement of work examples .
- Use overly and difficult words. Make your writing understandable. You may also check out business statement examples .
- Write too much cliche. Don’t. They’re called ‘cliche’ for a reason.
- Write long sentences and paragraphs. One, you’ll bore your readers. Two, you’ll tire them.
- Submit a draft. Always review and revise your work countless times before submitting it. You might be interested in need statement examples .
- Plagiarize. If you want to impress people, impress them using your effort, and your work.
1. what do you mean by a statement of purpose, 2. what should you write in a statement of purpose (sop).
- Your introduction, goals, and interests
- A summary of the previous graduate career
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- Your long-term career goals.
3. How Can You Write a Good Statement of Purpose?
- Do not make any grammatical mistakes
- Use strong and clear language
- Keep your SOP concise
- Maintain a positive and confident tone
4. What Mistakes Should You Avoid While Writing An SOP?
- Do not work on your SOP in the last minute
- Do not have a weak introduction and conclusion
- Do not use informal language
- Do not exceed the word limit
- Do not include irrelevant information.
5. How Long Should a Statement of Purpose (SOP) be?
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Dynamic Purpose Statement Examples for Business and Nonprofits
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Every company has a purpose. Articulating that purpose in a statement is a bit harder than you might think. Get a clear idea of what a purpose statement is and how to create one. Inspect dynamic examples of real-life purpose statements for nonprofits and businesses.
What Is a Business Purpose Statement?
If you’ve ever looked into a company, you’ve probably seen their mission or vision statement . But did you notice their purpose statement? A purpose statement answers the question of why a company exists. It will tell the consumer if you are trying to make the world a better place, provide freedom or keep everyone fed.
A purpose statement is important because it gives you something to work toward and determines your overall purpose for being in business. The wording of the purpose statement can vary, but it should guide the actions of the company.
Purpose Statement vs. Mission Statement
Purpose and mission statements are often confused or used interchangeably. However, the two terms do have slightly different functions.
- A mission statement clarifies the actions of your company, including what it does and who it serves. For example, “Our mission is to serve low income families with free online educational services.”
- A purpose statement answers the “why” in “why are you in business?” For example, “To encourage the passion to learn through ethical and honest means.”
As you can see, the mission statement describes what a company does and the purpose statement says why it does it. To make it even more confusing, some companies also throw their vision statement into the mix too. A vision statement provides an outline of the company’s priorities and future goals.
Creating a Company Purpose Statement
You might think that creating a purpose statement is easy. However, packing the reason for your company’s existence into just the right words can be a bit harder than you might think. Before creating a boring business purpose statement, it is important to:
- Research what other companies are doing that works
- Keep it short and concise
- Really dissect why your company exists
- Use powerful and thought-provoking wording
For example, an education company might have a purpose statement like:
Inspiring individuals to greatness and feeding their souls, one class at a time.
Not only is this short and concise, but it also sends a powerful message about why the company exists. By contrast, a boring purpose statement for an educational company might look like:
ZYX’s company feels the need to provide education that is inspiring to those around us and provide knowledge through our classes.
Not only is this one clunky, but it also totally misses the mark in trying to be dynamic and powerful. You can see why the company exists, but that is about it.
Corporate and 501c3 Purpose Statement Examples
Examples are the best way to highlight strong and dynamic purpose statements for business. Use some of the best real-world corporations and 501c3 purpose statement examples to inspire you.
We fulfill dreams of personal freedom – it’s our purpose, and we take it seriously. And while freedom means different things to different people, it’s a bond that brings Harley-Davidson customers, employees, dealers, suppliers and enthusiasts together.
Harley-Davidson is all about providing freedom. Their purpose statement makes you visualize the wind in your hair as you ride. The freedom of the open road. They go on to clarify how that freedom works to bring them and their customers together, making their purpose pack a punch.
Whole Foods Market
Our purpose is to nourish people and the planet.
In Whole Foods Market ’s purpose statement, every word is important. It clearly defines their connection not only to the planet but also to their customers through food. Using “nourish” rather than “feed” shows their commitment to healthy, nutritious food.
We champion every client’s goals with passion and integrity, as if they were our own.
At Charles Schwab , their purpose statement effectively works to make you feel safe. Not only are they highlighting their passion and integrity, but they’re also telling the world about their commitment to personalized service.
We serve the world by making food people love.
General Mills purpose statement is short and clear. They want to create food that people will enjoy, including reaching a global audience. The clarity and use of wording make the purpose statement dynamic even though it’s short.
To connect People to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.
In this purpose statement, you can see Southwest ’s commitment to meeting people's needs. They also further clarify the importance that they place on affordability. Their clear purpose leaves no questions about their goals.
To transform lives through learning and growth.
Using strategy and innovation, Jump Associates works to help businesses learn how to change and grow. Their purpose statement uses only a few words to effectively define their existence. Rather than just saying they want to help grow business, they say they want to “transform lives.” This gives their company’s purpose an inspirational quality .
To change the way the world defines and views disabilities by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day.
Easterseals offers a straightforward purpose in an active voice for their nonprofit. The magnitude of their purpose statement makes both their work and their existence sound inspiring.
To work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path.
UNICEF makes an appeal to you emotionally through the dynamic wording of their purpose. In one sentence, they create a vivid image of the world that they are working to create, pulling you in to help their cause.
We envision a financially inclusive world where all people hold the power to improve their lives.
This purpose statement from Kiva elicits a robust view of the world that the nonprofit lending company wants to see. Their existence to find lending sources for underserved populations is distinctively defined. It also appeals to your emotions through the phrase “power to improve their lives.”
Stating Your Purpose
The purpose of your company is important and should be clearly defined. It should use powerful wording, while also being as clear and concise as possible. Don’t confuse a business purpose statement with a personal statement. Find out how they are different.