If you spent some time visiting several Fortune 500 web sites, how many of those do you think would clearly state their purpose and value to humanity? How many would have people in their brand somewhere? How many would talk about the passion they have for making the world a better place and how their actions bring that about?
I did that one year ago and there are some but not many. Mostly I found that those that have people in their brands and language do not have a ‘purpose’ statement. About ten years ago I did the same sort of study when I was with Nokia and found that a number of Japanese companies had a long term view and something like a ‘purpose’ statement – what was their role in this world, what benefit to humanity where they here to bring about.
The main objective of the company was to design and create innovative products, which would benefit the people. http://www.sony.com.au/section/sonysstory
This is not a mission statement, i.e. how to conquer some hill, but why do it anyway. Nor is it a vision, what could it all look like in some years’ time, if we all rally and make it happen (strategy – how). The focus is on the why.
One could say that all companies have people in their minds and brands to some extent: Facebook – making it easy to connect with friends, Google – making all things findable on the net [used to be: making it easy to find things on the net] and so on. There are many however for whom the purpose and product have disconnected because the ‘product’ is so entrenched in the society. The question of value to humanity is no longer considered to be of importance. I’d say the car industry has fallen into that trap and the banks just keep ignoring us, except for yet another credit card offer. (more…)
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