DEFINITION of 'Credo'

Credo is a Latin word that means "a set of fundamental beliefs or a guiding principle." For a company, a credo is like a mission statement. For example, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, established the "Three Basic Beliefs" as his company's credo. These beliefs are Respect for the Individual, Service to our Customers and Strive for Excellence.

BREAKING DOWN 'Credo'

Another famous corporate credo comes from Johnson & Johnson. The household products company's credo was created by former chairman Robert Wood Johnson in 1943. The first two sentences of the credo refer to how the company serves the needs of doctors, nurses and patients by making high-quality products. Beyond that, Johnson & Johnson's credo strives to instill values of fair pricing, paying employees a decent wage and creating an atmosphere of innovation by listening to the ideas of workers. The company also believes management should be ethical and responsible citizens.

More Company Credos

Some companies have long credos or mission statements, similar to that of Johnson & Johnson's. Other firms opt for shorter credos that are easy to remember. T-shirt company Life is Good uses the credo "Spreading the power of optimism" to define its corporate culture. Clothing retailer Patagonia says it exists to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."

InVisionApp simply says, "Whether you're working with pixels or code, details will make the difference." JetBlue, the discount airline company, espouses the credo "Up for good." Then, the airline goes into three short paragraphs about bringing humanity to the skies. Disneyland's credo for employees is "The happiest place on Earth." This means employees should give visitors to the park the happiest experience possible when interacting with them.

Ritz-Carlton's credo is "Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." This simple credo refers to how employees show customers of the hotel chain respect and dignity, no matter what.

Why Have a Credo?

Companies have a credo to help define the brand, purpose and values of the business. Many corporations focus on putting customers first when it comes to creating a credo. This lets consumers know they are important to the company ahead of profits and making money. The idea is customers come first, and when a firm takes care of customers, the profits flow. Credos that focus on customer service are especially important for the hospitality industry and restaurants. A credo assists employees by giving them something to believe in by focusing on the company's purpose. Without a defined purpose, corporations falter by losing sight of what matters the most to workers.

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