The aim of this short lesson is to equip you with the tools and inspiration to write your own purpose statement. A well defined and positioned purpose statement will empower your team to unilaterally deliver your product or service with heart.
What is a purpose statement?
A purpose statement is the highest declaration of reason for doing what you do. It sets the tone of its very being from founder level to the outside world. The why is above your vision and mission. What is the reason you are doing this? More often than not there’s a real emotional tug to this question which when answered properly can help you connect well with your audience. How will you make a difference to their world? The purpose statement should be actively lived, breathed and help to build customer trust.
A purpose statement is typically short and crystal clear. One sentence should be enough. Many companies and charities are turning to purpose statements to clarify their reason for existence and to think beyond working for profits.
“In an ever more competitive world people are not just looking for a product or service to buy, they’re also looking for companies they trust and believe in.”
Ever heard of the golden circle? It puts the ‘why’ into your business. Looking at the “Why” before the “How” and the “What” is the most important first step. Why is at the heart of everything you do. The purpose is at the highest level of everything you do.
We have collated 3 purpose statement examples together with our thoughts, to give you an idea of their power. We take a look at Timberland, Patagonia, Brand Meadow (our very own) and Ella’s Kitchen.
Timberland weave their purpose into their products, having a clear goal to use 100% sustainably sourced cotton, planting trees, hope, jobs, clean air and unity.
“We aren’t just planting trees, we’re planting hope, jobs, clean air, and unity.”
Their purpose statement:
“At Timberland we strive to make the world around us better through our dedication to sustainable products and innovations, greening initiatives, and services to our communities.”
We thought long and hard about this. We work with charities and SME’s that deliver good services or products. At top level we want to empower people to design well, so that our platform contributes to a “better world”.
“Empowering good design for a better world.”
Patagonia’s purpose statement
Patagonia is an excellent example of a company with a strong purpose. They don’t just write it or say it they do it. Their purpose is in their DNA, so from the newest recruit to top dog, everyone is living and breathing. They have onsite child-care facilities and have donated all of their Black Friday profits to environmental causes.
“To build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Ella’s Kitchen purpose statement
Ella’s kitchen strive to introduce healthy eating habits forever:
“to create healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime”
We have outlined a few simple tasks to get you on your way to having a clear stated purpose statement. These tasks can be done alone or better still together with friends and colleagues.
We have created a set of editable worksheet templates to help you run a workshop on setting your vision, mission and purpose. These are available for free with our 14 day Meadow trial.
1. Make it authentic
First of all, make sure that you are an authentic purpose driven business and that your business genuinely represents your beliefs rather than what you think you should be. In fact, your purpose should be the most important reason for being, even above profit and give a real sense of belonging to your company.
2. Get people you value in a room
Get your team together, or if it’s just you get your closest friends and family to help you.
3. Reach for a large piece of paper, the bigger the better
Draw a circle in the middle with the word purpose. Briefly answer the following questions as a team:
Questions to help you:
4. Write your thoughts down on a piece of paper
Following the above exercise do the following;
Use the Meadow Purpose statement template (coming soon) to refine your statement further
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Mission, vision or purpose statement?