#M4BW A special kind of mission statement–the purpose statement
The new 18th edition of Essentials of Marketing has added content related to the emergence of a purpose orientation. A growing number of firms are reaping benefits from focusing on more than profit. This triple bottom line orientation appeals to a segment of customers, allowing them to charge premium prices and build more brand loyalty. Purpose-driven firms also find they can attract and retain employees and build brand equity and corporate reputation. Some argue that purpose-driven firms lower their market risk. Some of these benefits may (not conclusive data yet) also allow them to be more profitable. The purpose statement (like a mission statement) provides firms with direction. The following paragraphs appear in Chapter 3 of the new edition and introduce the idea of a purpose statement
Some organizations have replaced their mission statement with a purpose statement, an aspirational reason for being, inspiring action, and which benefits customers, employees, investors, and society at large. This definition follows from the triple bottom line and purpose orientation introduced in Chapter 1. A purpose statement adds three elements to the mission statement. First, it is aspirational laying out something ambitious and often abstract for the organization to pursue. Second, it delivers benefits to a range of stakeholders—beyond just investors or customers. Finally, the purpose statement motivates stakeholders to action.
In response to changes at Microsoft, the company’s mission statement has evolved to be more of a purpose statement. When Bill Gates was CEO of Microsoft, the company’s mission statement was clear and focused, “A computer on every desk and in every home.” Over time, Microsoft began to offer more products–a wide range of devices (including Xbox video gaming device) and services (Azure cloud storage)—but also sought to inspire customers, employees, dealers, and shareholders. The new purpose statement “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” gave Microsoft direction when it created Xbox adaptive controllers for gamers with physical disabilities that limit mobility (“helping every person . . . achieve more”). For more examples of purpose statements and actions inspired or opportunities pursued by following their stated purpose:
- SAP’s purpose statement “To help the world run better and improve people’s lives” inspires SAP’s Ariba software helps companies identify and track potential slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains (people’s lives”).
- IKEA’s purpose statement “To create a better everyday life for the many people” inspires IKEA to make durable, sustainably made furniture and housewares at the lowest possible cost (affordable “for the many people”).
- Airbnb’s purpose statement “We help people to belong anywhere” directs its response after charges that some of its members discriminated against other users, Airbnb required hosts to pledge to a nondiscrimination clause (“belong anywhere.”)