wework-mission-statement-vision-statement

WeWork Mission Statement and Vision Statement In A Nutshell

WeWork vision is that of providing a better day at work for less. And its mission is to elevate the world’s consciousness.

Quick intro

The aim of this piece is to show you how you can understand and imply a business model or a claimed business model from the language used in the mission and vision statement of any company.

It is in no way a judgment on whether the WeWork business model is viable. That only time can tell.

WeWork, at first sight, might seem a real estate company which primarily makes money by arbitraging from the spaces it rents from the landlord and what it charges to its tenants.

However, WeWork defines itself as space-as-a-service platform.

And in part, we can understand what that means by looking at its vision and mission.

WeWork vision and mission dissected

wework-vision-and-mission

Source: WeWork Financial Statements

The vision really helps us see the long-term goal of the company. And the mission helps assess how the company intends to reach that vision.

We have spent the last nine years building a founder-led, community company and executing on our vision of providing a better day at work for less.

More for less value proposition

The vision moves around a key long term goal of “providing a better day at work for less.”

wework-more-for-less

Source: Claimed results delivered by WeWork to its members

When a new player comes to an existing industry, rather than playing according to existing rules, it can try to redefine them by expanding the boundaries of an existing industry. This is called a blue ocean strategy.

The aim of a blue ocean strategy is to create an uncontested market where competition is made irrelevant. In WeWork case, the company claims to move beyond the boundaries of a traditional real estate company.

Indeed, WeWork is neither a real estate company nor a service company or a co-working space.

That is a hybrid between those two industries and it tries to leverage on a platform business model.

The key to this kind of strategy is about breaking the trade-off between cost and value and offer a value proposition revolving around the concept of more for less.

blue-ocean-strategy

The company highlighted:

We envision a future in which our global platform is a one-stop shop where members have access to all of the products and services they need to enable them to work, live and grow.

Three concepts that jump right away from the articulation of its vision:

  • Platform
  • Members
  • And community

Let me explain why those are important concepts and what they imply from the business modeling standpoint.

Understanding the term “platform” in WeWork vision and mission statements

First, when WeWork highlights the concept “platform” the company is claiming to be way more than a real estate company and it is claiming to be able to use technology and data to enhance its business model.

Indeed, platform business models are most of all driven by three things:

  • Users’ data or any sort of data which the platform can capture which is proprietary
  • A technology able to analyze, and leverage that data to create a competitive advantage for itself or for its members
  • Network effects, as usually, this implies strong scalability. Even for a company that relies mostly on managing physical spaces, claiming to build a platform business model makes it prone to scalability

From the business standpoint claiming to have a platform business model is also a way to enhance its valuation. In fact, today investors and venture capitalists mostly finance platform businesses, that have high growth potential.

The meaning of “members” to understand the revenue generation model

From the concept of “members”, we can understand that WeWork business model is driven by a subscription business model which they call space-as-a-service.

And to make this model work out, the company had to build a set of services and products around this subscription model, which should enable the companies that rent space with WeWork to have a sutained advantage.

Thus, in theory, a member which becomes part of WeWork is not just buying real estate space, but it is about a set of additional services that justify a membership model.

As WeWork highlighted in its financial statements:

Our global platform provides members with flexible access to beautiful spaces, a culture of inclusivity and the energy of an inspired community, all connected by our extensive technology infrastructure.

WeWork has to leverage its platform business model to provide “beautiful spaces” to help members build communities.

WeWork is a community-building company that might leverage data and technology, rather than a real estate company.

As WeWork explained further in its financial statements:

We have begun to build a suite of We Company offerings and develop a network of third-party partners to address our members’ needs.

With the support of our global footprint, our partners are presented with a unique opportunity to reach new customers and efficiently expand their businesses to new markets. While we are in the early stages of our platform journey, we are excited by the initial results and inspired by the potential.

The company highlights how the physical spaces are just a foundation to a business model that leverages on community building and a set of services for companies part of their network:

Our physical spaces are the foundation of our global platform and allow us to deliver differentiated products and services as we scale, further realizing our vision to deliver a better day at work for less.

WeWork mission statement dissected

We are a community company committed to maximum global impact.

Our mission is to elevate the world’s consciousness. We have built a worldwide platform that supports growth, shared experiences and true success.

Usually, a mission statement represents a more practical statement compared to the vision. However, in the WeWork case, it seems that the mission statement is as hyped as the vision statement.

Beyond the buzz, we can extract a few key concepts which help us emphasize its business model.

First, “elevate the world’s consciousness” which might sound more like a religious credo, rather than the foundation of a company worth billions.

That can be justified by the fact that WeWork is navigating in unknown waters.

Therefore, it is trying to create a culture around its business model. Sounding more like a company looking to proselytize than a business trying to make money.

Yet do not be fooled, WeWork is a business and as such it has to make sense from the financial standpoint.

Value proposition from the customers’ standpoint

From WeWork S-1 form, we can extract some of the case studies showcased, that in some way can help us understand what members value about WeWork platform.

It is important to highlight that those cases are cherry-picked, thus not representative of all the customers that the company has. However, it might be a useful exercise to understand some of the elements that members find valuable. And the WeWork identifies with.

I’ve selected three examples.

salesforce-wework-case-study bytedance-wework-case-study dropbox-wework-case-study

Source: WeWork S-1 Form 

One common theme that seems to come up from these case studies is the flexibility of the solution that enables companies that are investing in growing quickly their teams to rely on WeWork as a partner that helps them keep their flexibility.

This means those members are looking for cheaper ways to scale while trying to manage the culture of their growing organization.

Key takeaway

In this article, we dissected WeWork vision and mission statements. It is important to highlight that companies use those statements for both internal and external reasons.

On the one hand, vision and mission help founders and key stakeholders to align around the same objectives and they help create a unique identity. Thus, working as the propeller for the company’s culture.

On the other hand, vision and mission also help explain to outsiders what the company is about. Thus, enabling the company to give a certain perception.

In WeWork’s case, it is interesting to notice how the mission seems to be plenty of buzzwords and grandiose claims. That might be justified by the fact that the company is indeed trying to open up a new market space, as as such it is trying more to proselytize.

On the other hand, WeWork is a business and a company which at the time of this writing is valued billions. If WeWork business model will prove viable that is something we’ll see in the coming years.

For now, we analyzed its vision and mission to emphasize how from those simple statements you can understand the perception that a company has of itself. The kind of identifies that it is trying to create internally. And also how the company wants to be perceived by outsiders.

Read next: 

Business resources:

Read: Mission Statement Examples.

Mission Statement Case Studies

Adidas Mission Statement

adidas-mission-statement
Adidas’ mission is “To be the best sports brand in the world.” Adidas AG is a German multinational initially founded in 1924 by Adolf Dassler who developed spiked running shoes out of his mother’s house. Today, the company is the largest sportswear producer in Europe and the second largest globally behind rival Nike.

Uber Mission Statement

uber-mission-statement
Uber’s mission statement is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.

Tesla Mission Statement

tesla-vision-statement-mission-statement
Tesla’s vision is to “create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles,” while its mission is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” Tesla used a transitional business model as its ecosystem grows.

Amazon Mission Statement

amazon-vision-statement-mission-statement (1)
Amazon’s mission statement is to “serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.” Amazon’s vision statement is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” 

Apple Mission Statement

apple-mission-statement-vision-statement
Apple’s mission is “to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.” And in a manifesto dated 2019 Tim Cook set the vision specified as “We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.”

Netflix Mission Statement

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Netflix’s core mission, strategy, and vision are that of “improving its members’ experience by expanding the streaming content with a focus on a programming mix of content that delights members and attracts new members.”

Coca-Cola Mission Statement

coca-cola-vision-statement-mission-statement
Coca-Cola’s Purpose is to “refresh the world. make a difference.” Its vision and mission are to “craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better-shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities, and our planet.”

Starbucks Mission Statement

starbucks-mission-statement-vision-statement
Starbucks highlights its mission as “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” And its vision is to “treat people like family, and they will be loyal and give their all.”

Microsoft Mission Statement

microsoft-mission-statement
Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. With over $110 billion in revenues in 2018, Office Products and Windows are still the main products. Yet the company also operates in Gaming (Xbox), Search Advertising (Bing), Hardware, LinkedIn, Cloud, and more.

Walmart Mission Statement

walmart-vision-statement-mission-statement
Walmart’smission can be summarized as “helping people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.” While its vision is to “make every day easier for busy families.” Walmart defines “busy families” as the bull’s eye of its business strategy.

Nike Mission Statement

nike-vision-statement-mission-statement
Nike vision is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” While its mission statement is to “do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.”

Google Mission Statement

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Google mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Its vision statement is to “provide an important service to the world-instantly delivering relevant information on virtually any topic.” In 2019, Sundar Pichai emphasized a renewed mission to allow people “to get things done!”

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