When was the last time you looked at the Mission, Vision and Values of a company whose brand you loved? You might be surprised at how uninspired they are with zero connection to the elements you most admire about their brand.
It’s a missed opportunity. These are among the most important messages any organization can craft and they should stake out a competitive advantage that differentiates the brand from competitors and inspires customer and employee loyalty.
Here are five widely loved brands whose mission statements – in our humble opinion – fall depressingly short:
“Apple designs Macs, the besst 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.” (Source)
For a company that fancies itself a “lifestyle” brand as much as a technology company, Apple’s statement is devoid of customer references and instead serves as a “brag list” centered on their market position. It’s a real disconnect from the experience one gets walking into any Apple store and woefully uninspired compared to Steve Jobs’ original mission statement: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind."
“To provide customers with authentic products and service that reflect and accentuate the Subaru’s distinctive characteristics and build up a strong relationship of trust with our customers, centering on our philosophy ‘All for the Customer’."(Source)
Subaru is all about adventure lifestyle and going anywhere with confidence. But this statement is a vehicle for nothing but derision. Subaru falls short by not detailing the “distinctive characteristics” it hopes to “accentuate. Instead, we’re left to figure out “why Subaru?” on our own, which is always a missed opportunity. For a company that’s spent millions on its “Love” campaign, this statement barely gets us to “like.” They would have been much better served to ask 10 loyal customers (and Subaru owners are among the most loyal) what they loved best about their cars and mined the responses for a more heart-strings-tugging statement.
“FedEx Corporation will produce superior financial returns for its shareowners by providing high value-added logistics, transportation and related business services through focused operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its employees, partners and suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards.” (Source)
Fedex’s statement – far too long and chock-full of jargon – is anything but inspiring and seems completely disjointed from the company’s former “When it absolutely has to be there overnight” slogan. And any parent who’s seen a FedEx truck barrel down their street at twice the usual speed limit would have immediate reason to call B.S. on the “Safety will be the first consideration” claim.
“Maintaining a global viewpoint, we are dedicated to supplying products of the highest quality, yet at a reasonable price for worldwide customer satisfaction.” (Source)
We get it. Honda makes more than just automobiles: lawnmowers, snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, generators… just about anything that relies on a combustion engine. But this statement is so incredibly generic that nearly any company could safely make these same claims. There’s a reason that Honda buyers love and trust this brand, but it’s sure not included in this dose of bland. They should be able to "dream up" something better than this. Verdict: Lemon.
“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.” (Source)
Disney’s cold and sterile statement would be more at home in their annual shareholders’ report and is completely lacking the magic and “family-fun” vibe that guides the company’s films and theme parks... and packs its coffers year after year. If Walt were alive today, he’d tie whoever wrote this across the tracks of the Space Mountain rollercoaster.
How could these companies do better? For starters, they could look beyond the traditional Mission, Vision and Values framework – a dated construct that fails to inspire and resonate in today’s market. Instead, they could embrace Guy Kawasaki’s Mantra approach or even the new #PurposeWayImpact model from BrandFoundations.
What about your mission? Is it as bland, generic and uninspiring as those above? If so, visit www.PurposeWayImpact.com and see how you can give your employees, your customers and yourself something greater to believe in.