Last Updated on 3 April 2013

POINT: John Moore

The true purpose of a mission statement is to help a company make appropriate business decisions. It’s a decision-making compass for a business and not a marketing blueprint.

For example, the old Starbucks Coffee mission statement included six guiding principles to help the company make appropriate decisions. One principle stated: “Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.” That helped guide Starbucks to make better business decisions about internal company culture matters and H.R. stuff.

Another principle in the old Starbucks Coffee mission statement stated “Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.” That helped Starbucks make more responsible financial decisions as the company grew its business.

If a company’s mission statement shouldn’t serve as a marketing blueprint for a business, what should play that role?

A company’s Brand Style Guide, which we’ve previously discussed, should serve as the marketing blueprint for how a company expresses its Identity, Personality, and Authenticity.


A mission statement is company’s declaration regarding the reason they exist. The overarching goal of the company. A mission statement is typically aspirational, yet realistic and goes beyond the notion of “selling more of our stuff.”

A mission statement should serve as a company’s Ten Commandments – the set of laws that guide’s company behavior. A compass pointing towards the company’s true North.

The problem many companies have is that their mission statement isn’t active. It serves nothing more than words on paper.

The marketing (building awareness and trial) of a brand should be conducted in a manner consistent with the mission statement.

If marketing efforts are not aligned with the mission statement compass, the company isn’t being true to itself or its declared purpose.

Among the reasons company’s may falter include:
(a) not having a mission statement, and
(b) not following the mission statement they have.