Klarer Kurs: Die Magie eines starken Unternehmensleitbildes

Clear course: The magic of a strong corporate mission statement

Some time ago, the CEO of a large medium-sized company in the sustainable energy sector called us to report problems in his company’s communication:

His communication team had been maxed out for years, many were disillusioned, there were tensions and conflicts, brand communication was not working, which is why reach and visibility and turnover were shrinking.

During our site assessment, it quickly became clear: the company had gigantic potential, but after years of rapid growth, it did not know exactly who it was, what it stood for at its core, what distinguished it from its competitors, what its raison d’être was or, in other words, its why, its purpose, its why.

Because the company lacked a defined self-image and a clear compass, “our communication is floundering and fuming”, as the CEO put it. In short: the company needed a strong mission statement.

In our work with purpose brands from German SMEs, including large family-owned companies, the same pain points always emerge when a sharpened mission statement is not formulated:

  • Lack of identity and direction: Without a defined mission statement, companies have difficulty finding their identity and long-term direction.
  • Problems in communication: Without a mission statement, internal and external communication is disparate and inconsistent, leading to confusion among target groups, stakeholders and employees.
  • Low motivation: without a common fixed star, communication teams usually lack the intrinsic drive and commitment that are crucial to the success of communication and the company.
  • Negative culture. As a result of lack of identity, lack of direction and lack of motivation and enjoyment in the work, teamwork suffers. Tensions and conflicts arise in the teams, high levels of sick leave and high turnover – there is a threat of a cultural and economic downward spiral.
  • Lack of customer loyalty: Customers are more loyal to companies that share their values. Without a clear mission statement, it is difficult to establish this connection.
  • Weak employer brand: Because there is no defined purpose that goes beyond pure performance and turnover targets, it becomes difficult to attract and retain high-calibre employees in the long term.
Unternehmensleitbild: Der gemeinsame Fixstern am Horizont

Corporate mission statement: The common fixed star on the horizon

Mission statement – for many this sounds rather vague, like something hanging on the office wall or gathering dust in some drawer.

But in our ever faster and more complex world of work and business, a strong and clear mission statement is the compass that guides an organisation through troubled waters. It is the essence of what a company stands for and where it wants to go.

And thus the mission statement is also the central driving force for strategically oriented, holistic and effective corporate communication.

Such a mission statement consists of the following key elements:

  • Vision: The vision is an inspiring picture of the future of the organisation. It communicates where the organisation is going, why it cares and what it wants to achieve.
  • Mission: The mission statement describes the purpose of the organisation, why it exists, how exactly it wants to realise its vision and what contribution it wants to make in the world.
  • Guiding values: The core values are the basic principles by which the company acts. They define the culture of the company and are the basis for all decisions and interactions.
  • Goals: Clear and measurable milestones that the company wants to achieve on the way to realising its vision.

A solidly developed mission statement helps companies in many ways

Vision, mission and values define the identity of the company and give it a clear purpose. The mission statement motivates employees because they understand the meaning of their work and can identify with the company’s goals.

And the mission statement attracts the right people: Investors, partners, customers, employees – not least because they share the values and goals of the company.

The advantages for communication are particularly great. Because from its mission statement, an organisation can derive a consistent attractive message and communicate it across departments, teams and channels. Both internally and externally.

This creates (again) a consistent attractive image of the brand. And instead of the enormous amount of energy that teams previously had to expend to somehow orient themselves in their storytelling, holistically targeted and thus resource-saving processes and structures are now possible in communication.

Schrittweise Entwicklung eines Unternehmensleitbilds in fünf Etappen

Step-by-step development of a corporate mission statement in five stages

In our development of mission statements for purpose brands and international non-profit organisations, we have had very good experiences with a five-stage process:

1. Location determination: First, we look at how communication is currently positioned, what has already been developed in the past, what the competition is doing, what the long-term goals are and what challenges the company has to overcome.

2. Participation: In the participatory approach, we involve employees at all levels in the process right from the start. It is crucial that they have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas early on, because after all, they are the ones who are supposed to fill the vision with life later on.

3. Definition: Formulating the vision is usually a matter for the top management. We support the top management in this. Mission statement and guiding values, on the other hand, are usually developed in pilot groups across hierarchies and departments, following the participatory approach, so that the emerging mission statement is based on the joint insights and input of all employees.

4. Communication: Once the mission statement has been developed, it must be communicated clearly and convincingly. Internally, because all employees should understand how they have contributed and can continue to contribute to living the mission statement. And externally, in order to reach and convince the different stakeholders and target groups.

5. Implementation and adaptation: The mission statement is not a static document. t is integrated into the corporate culture as well as into communication – and regularly reviewed, adapted, recalled and deepened in meetings, agile workflows and recap workshops. In this way, we ensure that the mission statement remains relevant, serves as orientation and is lived as an expression of the corporate culture with motivation and joy.

Leitbild entwickeln: Unternehmensvision, Mission Statement, Leitwerte – mehr Klarheit in der Kommunikation, mehr Freude und Engagement für gemeinsame Ziele

Developing a mission statement: Corporate vision, mission statement, guiding values – more clarity in communication, more joy and commitment to common goals

When the new mission statement was developed and introduced in the company of the CEO from the sustainable energy sector after a few months, the company experienced a real transformation.

The employees themselves participated in the development, recognise themselves in it, feel correspondingly more connected to the company since then and work with more commitment and joy for the common goals.

They now like to talk a lot about “our company” and about the contribution they make – beyond the mere products and services – “together for a better world”.

Of course, communication and storytelling have also benefited enormously, because the mission statement provides concrete orientation and practical support for topic selection, topic planning and topic development.

Based on the mission statement, we subsequently supported the company in sharpening its target groups and core messages; the CEO says: “Working on our mission statement and the strategic building blocks developed from it has untied a knot that had been tied for years – in our communication and in the entire company.”

And the company is now also much more attractive on the labour market. Highly qualified young employees in particular want a job with meaning. And the mission statement defines and communicates this meaning.


A solidly developed mission statement is the compass that guides an organisation through the challenges and uncertainties of today’s world. This is because it defines identity, clarifies communication, motivates employees and engages stakeholders and customers.

Developing a mission statement takes time and commitment, but it is an investment that pays off in the form of sustainable success.

For us at STORYWERK, the company of this CEO from the sustainable energy sector is a prime example of how a modern, strong and authentic mission statement can help establish a new culture, take communication to the next level and bring a stumbling brand back to sustainable success.

Tips from STORYWERK vision expert Michael Obert: Develop a strong mission statement.

Without a mission statement, communication is shaky – and if communication is shaky, the brand and the teams crumble – and if the brand and the teams crumble, the future of even the most successful organization is at risk.

My recommendation: participative mission statement development that involves all levels of the organization step by step.

A multi-stage process could look like this:

  • Development of a strong vision (a matter for the boss)
  • Development of a strong mission statement (participatory)
  • Define core values, inner compass of the organization (participative)
  • Develop management principles (management level)
  • Concrete roadmap on how the mission statement can be lived and communicated

Dive deeper? In a free strategy meeting, we clarify what is important for you and how we can best support you.