Unilever’s corporate mission and vision statements are founded on the underlying purpose of the consumer goods business. These corporate statements reflect the strategic approaches that the company takes in order to achieve and keep its position as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of consumer goods. Unilever’s corporate mission statement characterizes the organizational outputs of the business. On the other hand, Unilever’s corporate vision statement offers a description of the future condition that the company aims to achieve. In this way, the mission statement defines the strategic decisions needed in order to arrive at what the vision statement visualizes for the consumer goods company. These factors align with Unilever’s purpose statement, which indicates the underlying reason for the company’s operations. The business characteristics identified in the SWOT analysis of Unilever are linked to the company’s business purpose, corporate mission statement, and corporate vision statement.
PURPOSE. Unilever’s purpose is “to make sustainable living commonplace.” This corporate statement emphasizes the importance of sustainability in the daily lives of consumers around the world through their use of the company’s consumer goods. Such a business purpose directly relates to Unilever’s corporate social responsibility strategy. The sustainability status of the company’s business practices and consumer goods is underscored. Also, the purpose statement is a response to the trends (opportunities and threats) relevant to the industry, as shown in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of Unilever. In this context, the company’s corporate vision and mission statements extend the business purpose to characterize the business, its manufacturing operations, and its products.
Unilever’s Mission Statement
Unilever’s corporate mission is “to meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people look good, feel good and get more out of life.” This corporate mission statement has details on what the consumer goods business does and what it needs to do to satisfy its purpose. The following are some of the main points of Unilever’s corporate mission:
- Goods for daily use
- Various aspects of consumers’ lives
- Positive effect on quality of life
The mission statement shows that Unilever provides products for daily use. The company manufactures goods for nutrition, hygiene, and personal care. These products are not just for consumption, but also for the purpose of improving consumers’ quality of life by helping them “look good, feel good, and get more out of life.” In line with the business purpose of sustainability, this corporate mission statement is also known as the Vitality mission, in which Unilever’s goal is to bring vitality to life. The details of the corporate mission statement provide the basis for the “product mix” element of Unilever’s marketing mix or 4P. For example, product characteristics and resulting branding are based on how these consumer goods are for daily use. Also, the “product design” area of Unilever’s operations management is partly based on these details of the corporate mission statement. For instance, cost limits and quality requirements in operations are based on the product specifications resulting from the corporate mission. Furthermore, the business groups in Unilever’s organizational structure or corporate structure reflect the kinds of products described in the mission statement.
Unilever’s Vision Statement
Unilever’s corporate vision is “to be the global leader in sustainable business. We will demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance, consistently delivering financial results in the top third of our industry.” This corporate vision statement prompts the company to be a leading consumer goods business, especially in terms of sustainability. The following are some of the main points in Unilever’s corporate vision:
- Leadership in sustainability
- Purpose-led and future-fit model
- Superior business performance
The vision statement directs business development toward leadership in sustainability, despite the strong competitive pressure shown in the Porter’s Five Forces analysis of Unilever. To achieve its corporate vision, the company addresses the competitive threats of consumer goods firms, such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, and General Mills, as well as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull. Unilever’s BRU coffee also competes with instant or home-brew coffee products from food and beverage firms, like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’. The corporate vision statement also emphasizes purpose and future-fitness, which are qualities that relate to Unilever’s organizational culture or corporate culture. For example, the purpose-led and future-fit business model specified in the vision statement enables the consumer goods company’s growth culture. Moreover, even though Unilever’s corporate vision puts emphasis on sustainability, it also requires superior business performance. The company must achieve sustainability, as well as the financial soundness of its operations in the consumer goods industry. Unilever’s generic strategy for competitive advantage and strategies for intensive growth facilitate this business performance superiority that the corporate vision statement requires. The consumer goods corporation continues its multinational business development toward the attainment of this corporate vision.
Additional Considerations – Unilever’s Corporate Mission, Corporate Vision, Business Purpose
Unilever’s business purpose directs attention to sustainability in people’s lives. This direction encompasses the lives of consumers and the employees of the consumer goods business. The purpose goes deeper than the mundane nature of the company’s products. The company’s consumer goods, such as Dove shampoos and Vaseline lotions, are part of consumers’ daily routines. However, these same consumer goods help fuel the company’s sustainability objectives and programs. The business purpose is reflected in Unilever’s vision statement, and less so in the corporate mission statement.
Unilever’s corporate mission statement provides an overview of what the company does in order to move forward to its desired future. Specifically, the corporate mission indicates that the company’s goods must be applicable to the daily needs of consumers. The regular utility of many of Unilever’s products shows that the corporate mission somehow reflects the “commonplace” quality stated in the business purpose. Based on these characteristics, the mission statement is quite satisfactory, especially in guiding the consumer goods business organization on what products to produce and how these products should affect target customers.
Unilever’s corporate vision statement shows the goal of leadership in business sustainability. High financial performance is also an objective included in the consumer goods company’s corporate vision. The use of the term, “sustainable,” is a direct reflection of Unilever’s business purpose, which emphasizes the same term. Considering this alignment, the corporate vision statement helps guide the consumer goods business from its basic reason for existing (the business purpose) toward its future-oriented goals and objectives. The focus on sustainability leadership also makes the vision statement applicable to long-range strategic planning, and ensures the statement’s appropriateness to the consumer goods business for many years to come.
- Bocken, N. M., Harsch, A., & Weissbrod, I. (2022). Circular business models for the fastmoving consumer goods industry: Desirability, feasibility, and viability. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 30, 799-814.
- Derqui, B., Fayos, T., & Occhiocupo, N. (2022). The virtuous cycle of trust. Unveiling clues to successful innovation in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry. European Journal of Innovation Management, 25(6), 1036-1056.
- Fitzsimmons, A. B., Qin, Y. S., & Heffron, E. R. (2022). Purpose vs mission vs vision: Persuasive appeals and components in corporate statements. Journal of Communication Management, 26(2), 207-219.
- Larranaga, A., & Valor, C. (2022). Consumers’ categorization of eco-friendly consumer goods: An integrative review and research agenda. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 34, 518-527.
- Niedermeier, A., Emberger‐Klein, A., & Menrad, K. (2021). Which factors distinguish the different consumer segments of green fast‐moving consumer goods in Germany? Business Strategy and the Environment, 30(4), 1823-1838.
- Reid, S. E., & Crawford, C. B. (2022). Crafting the Vision Statement. In Entrepreneurial Vision (pp. 263-276). Springer, Cham.
- The Unilever Compass.
- Toh, S. Y., Tehseen, S., Mahmoud, A. B., Cheok, J., Grigoriou, N., & Opute, J. (2021). Mission statement effectiveness: Investigating managers’ sensemaking role. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 27(2), 329-345.
- U.S. Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration – Consumer Goods Industry.
- Unilever PLC – Form 20-F.
- Unilever PLC – Our Approach.
- Unilever PLC – Our History – 1980-2010 – A bold change of strategy.