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What Is a Company Creed?

Geisha A. Legazpi
Geisha A. Legazpi

A company creed is a statement that literally defines the underlying principles of a business or organization. There are no hard and fast rules to creating a company creed. The creed may be part of the mission statement, or the two may stand apart. An organization is free to designate a company philosophy as core beliefs or ethical values. The important point is that a company creed articulates what the business stands for, particularly with respect to all those sectors of society that have a stake in the success of the enterprise.

At the start of the Industrial Revolution, it was enough for mechanized businesses to fabricate products that consumers needed at fairly consistent quality and to give a regular salary to penniless former farmhands. Times changed as workers struck for better pay and working conditions. In time, company creeds professed belief in promoting the welfare of an important stakeholder – their labor force.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

The company creed has also been crafted in the service of marketing. There have been times when punchy advertising to spearhead market dominance actually translated to mission statement and core belief. For example, the cola wars really began during World War II, when a soft drink maker declared that every soldier’s hand must be holding a certain brand of soft drink. The company embarked on creating a supply chain that stretched to the battlegrounds of the Pacific, North Africa, and Europe.

Company creeds also pay lip service to compliance. From the late 19th century to the beginning of the 21st, government has been a necessary stakeholder. In many countries, a variety of regulatory agencies saw to curtailing the power and abuses of big business. Trusts, monopolies, price cartels, and deceptive advertising often required intervention in order to protect consumers. The scandals perpetrated by several companies triggered new laws that made it desirable for businesses to declare itself compliant with the law, at least in principle.

In contemporary times, therefore, the wealth of big business is put behind company creeds that exude benevolent company philosophy. To be responsive to the times is to engage in corporate philanthropy, both domestically and abroad. Humanistic management has left an imprint in upholding a fulfilling corporate culture. Mission statements and annual reports are profoundly concerned with minimizing carbon footprints. Much is demanded of good corporate citizenship, and richly detailed corporate creeds reflect this.

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