How To Write the Perfect Mission Statement With AI (Including Examples)
Table of contents
A good mission statement connects your company to its customers, shareholders, and staff with a clear and concise picture of your company’s values and goals. It’s an essential part of any company’s brand identity.
But many companies struggle to create a concise and compelling mission statement that resonates with employees and customers, balancing clarity with depth, simplicity with substance.
Over the past 10 years, my work as a copywriter and account manager has allowed me to collaborate with companies in a number of different industries—from finance and food and beverage to entertainment and travel and tourism. As a result, I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of company values, objectives, and the mission statements that describe them.
In this article, I’ll outline the techniques I’ve learned that top companies use to articulate their mission in a clear, compact, and engaging way. I’ll also highlight some of the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them. Plus, we’ll learn how you can use AI to refine your mission statement and make the whole process simpler and quicker.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a short, official description of one to three sentences that defines your company’s purpose and main objectives. That is, how it improves lives or contributes to the world.
Creating a mission statement early on in your company’s history will help keep everybody focused, engaged, and on course. But it’s never too late to start. As the saying goes, The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
A good mission statement will:
- Make clear to your customers, stakeholders and employees what your company hopes to achieve.
- Inform company culture by inspiring employees and fostering a sense of purpose and community.
- Provide internal guidance for decision-making and innovation.
- Serve as a key piece of your overall marketing strategy and be proudly displayed on your website, printed materials, and more.
These are all pretty abstract concepts, though. It’s not always clear how to achieve this or where to start.
Before diving in, let’s look at some real-world examples of good mission statements from industry leaders.
7 impactful mission statement examples from industry leaders
“To inspire humanity—both in the air and on the ground.”
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
“Our mission: Spread ideas, foster community and create impact.”
“To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
“Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
“We're in business to save our home planet”
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Keep these statements in mind as we go through the rest of the article. They illustrate many of the techniques you’ll see below.
5 Tips for writing captivating mission statements
1. Identify your core values and purpose: how do you improve the world?
Your mission statement is a reflection of what your company stands for.
For now, try not to focus too much on the technical aspects of your product or service. Think of it as a means to an end.
For example, Starbucks wants to “inspire and nurture the human spirit”; Nike wants to “empower athletes”; and Patagonia wants to “save our home planet”. You’ll notice there’s no mention of coffee, shoes, or outerwear just yet.
Instead, think carefully about how you want to create change in the world. Who does your company help and why? What are you trying to achieve?
Here are a few ways to start crafting ideas:
- Ask a handful of highly engaged employees to describe, in their own words, your mission and how you impact the world.
- Imagine a world without your product or service. What’s different? Who loses out?
- On the flip side, if you successfully completed your mission, what would the world look like? How are people’s lives better?
- Think about where you sit in the “big pictures” of human experience: Communication; Health; Lifestyle; Happiness; Education; Culture; Technology; Innovation; Environment / Sustainability; Economy; Society; Politics; Relationships; Personal Growth. Does your company help people get closer to any of these key goals?
Write down all these ideas. Don’t worry about full sentences or how things sound. We’ll come back to them later.
2. Mention or hint at your product or service
As mentioned above, your mission statement isn’t meant to give a comprehensive description of what your company does on a day-to-day basis.
It’s meant to inspire, engage, and clarify your goals—both for yourself and others.
That being said, it’s a good idea to mention or allude to your product or service. You can do this outright or more subtly. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
In the case of IKEA, their mission statement makes it immediately clear that they sell home furniture at an affordable price.
But you can also do this more subtly, like Starbucks:
The only hint they provide that they’re a coffee company is the mention of “one cup”. The focus is still on their purpose (inspire and nurture), values (the human spirit), and goals (one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time).
Equally, Tesla aims:
Here, the use of the word accelerate is the only hint at cars, and sustainable energy merely alludes to the fact they create electric cars and home batteries. Both are carefully placed, though, to evoke a feeling that aligns with their product.
Take inspiration from these mission statements to refer to your product or service in just a few words. Get creative with it!
- Decide whether you want to state it outright or use a more subtle hint
- Get your team involved: ask them to summarize what you do in one sentence or even one word
- Use brainstorming techniques to map out verbs, adjectives and adverbs that relate to your product or service (mind-mapping and slip-writing are great for this!)
- Pro AI tip: Use an AI-powered brainstorming tool like Ayoa for new ideas and questions connected to your brand.
Use these later when we pull everything together, along with your earlier ideas.
3. Think about your goals for the future
Having a vision for the future is essential to any company’s success.
What are you working towards? Maybe you want to be the best in your field, challenge the status quo, or bring new innovation and invention to your field.
Take a look at JP Morgan’s mission statement:
Their goal has more to do with the company itself than anything else.
American Express takes a similar approach:
The good news is, you’re allowed to have a big vision for your company! Doing so can inspire employees and drive faith among shareholders. If you’re going to take this route, don’t be afraid to dream big.
To do this yourself:
- Consider what goal you want your company to reach in the future. How does this impact what you’re doing now?
- Map out where you see the company in 5, 10, and 20. Which of your company’s goals are likely to remain the same?
- Look at what your competitors are doing: how will you set yourself apart in the future?
- Think about your employees, too: what do you want your company to look like internally?
4. Put it all together
Now that you’ve identified your purpose, vision, and values, it’s time to start writing.
Refer to your notes from the exercises above and decide which are most important to you. Start combining ideas and expressions and pay attention to which ones fit together well. Your mission statement should only be about two or three sentences long—but don’t worry if you have a dozen ideas on your plate right now. We’ll cut things down in the next step.
Here’s how to do it:
- Play around with combinations or sentences and expressions. You can do this physically by printing them out, cutting them up with a pair of scissors, and moving them into different combinations. It’s surprising how well this simple trick works to inspire new ideas!
- Pro AI Tip: Wordtune’s Spices feature is a great way to look at different sides of the same idea: use Define, Analogy, Counterargument, and Inspirational Quote for inspiration.
- Group together similar ideas and then try to find a single “rule” or “concept” that fits all of them. AI can help you with this. For example, you can give ChatGPT a list of ideas and ask it to “Use abstraction to come up with a general that fits these characteristics.”
This step is all about whittling your ideas down to just a few core concepts that represent your company’s mission. Try to find common themes, and be sure to leverage the power of AI to help you do so.
5. Simplify, focus, edit, and refine
It’s tempting to use flowery and overly sophisticated language to describe your company’s mission. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of “over-explaining”: using more words than necessary to say something simple.
But as we’ve seen, a good mission statement is short and simple.
For example, TED’s full mission statement is three sentences long—but they also have a short, punchy version that uses only nine words to great effect:
This short summary works because it outlines their purpose (“spread ideas”), goals (“foster community”), and a positive outcome (“create impact”).
To get to the final version of your own mission statement:
- Condense your final thoughts into coherent statements. Keep combining groups of words to form a variety of full sentences. Aim for one to three sentences when you’re done.
- Pro AI Tip: Paste a longer version of your mission statement, with everything you want to include, into Wordtune. This can include everything you brainstormed above. Then select everything and hit “Shorten'' — Mix and match the suggestions to find one that works. The Rewrite feature can also help you find the most concise way to get your message across
- Follow the basics of concise writing: use simple language, avoid repetition, keep jargon to a minimum, use active voice, and use descriptive verbs and adverbs.
- Come up with several versions of your focus statement and see which resonate most with employees and, if possible, customers. Keep what works, chuck what doesn’t.
A strong mission statement is an essential part of a strong brand identity. It connects your company to existing and potential clients, employees, and shareholders.
Start by identifying how you impact the lives of your customers, mention or allude to your product, and think about your company’s future. Mix and match these ideas using brainstorming techniques, then refine everything with the help of AI.
Include your mission statement on your website, in business proposals, and on marketing materials. Share it internally, too: it’s there to inspire and engage your employees.
And if you’re just starting out, use your new mission statement as a springboard to creating your business plan.
What’s the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?
A mission statement defines a company’s values, objectives, goals, and how it will reach those. A vision statement illustrates the future of a company: what it will look and feel like.
Why do businesses need a mission statement?
Mission statements serve three essential functions. They guide internal decision making and innovation. They energize and motivate employees with a common goal. And they convince customers and shareholders of your company’s intrinsic value as a force for positive change.
How long should a mission statement be?
A mission statement should be between one to three sentences long and no more than 100 words.
What are the three parts of a mission statement?
A good mission statement should include three components: a company’s purpose, its values, and its objectives.