Are mission statements – static expressions of why a company exists – passe, irrelevant, a mere formality, or worse, dead? Are they viewed with cynicism – as a collection of empty words and phrases that live in a new-hire orientation deck, employee handbook, on a company website or a wall in the company break room?
Have mission statements lost their meaning or has corporate culture evolved beyond the mission statement?
Do your employees deserve something more?
It’s time for purpose in action
We believe the next generation of leading companies will adopt and activate a brand mission that does more than use words to convey what their company is and why it exists – this brand mission will unite employees around a shared cause. Used as both a rallying cry and a strategic organizing principle, a well articulated brand mission translates a company’s core purpose into heartfelt action designed to affect change in support of a broad community of stakeholders.
A brand mission – purpose in action – moves a company from a statement of why it exists toward the impact it will create.
Leveraging market awareness and brand equity to stand for something bigger than a product or service, brand mission becomes the philosophical backbone that guides the company’s core narrative and culture initiatives. It becomes the lens through which companies define and activate their brands through engagement and involvement efforts, ensuring consistency and relevance across every channel.
Prioritizing customer well being over short-term profits
CVS Health is a prime example of a company that aligned its purpose with action. In September 2014, the company became the first national retail pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products in their stores. Why? Because selling cigarettes conflicted with the company’s brand mission of helping people on their path to better health. This one policy decision – disrupting access to tobacco – provided the company with a bold and principled platform to positively affect public health. Despite sacrificing more than $2B in short-term annual sales, this decision created a springboard for sales growth in key areas aligned with the company’s business and ultimately positioned CVS as a bonafide healthcare company culminating in the recent acquisition of insurance provider, Aetna.
And now, all of the company’s programs – from its charitable giving efforts to its corporate social responsibility platform, Prescription For A Better World, to its employee volunteer initiatives are anchored in a clear and actionable brand mission that goes far beyond the traditional mission statement or set of core values and towards producing massive intangible benefits.
The brand mission answers the question: Why do we exist and how can we use our corporate brand as a force for good?
In reality, healthcare is a natural environment to foster an authentic brand mission. After all, many companies in this industry are founded on a human-centric cause. Therefore, this industry should be leading the world in what it means to have a brand mission, but it is not.
Solving problems with science and technology matters, but it is not enough to fully impact the wellbeing of patients.
The onus is on every company to elevate their thinking beyond their products and prices to demonstrate how they show up and invest in some of the most challenging problems that impact human health.
A Brand Mission Credo
Leading companies that use their brand mission to put patients at the center of their universe will:
Is your company brand synonymous with your core purpose and the passion you bring to your work? Does your brand inspire loyalty in employees and customers?