What is Credo

Credo is a Latin word meaning "a set of fundamental beliefs or a guiding principle." For a company, a credo equates to a mission statement, belief(s), principle or purpose. For example, Johnson & Johnson have a storied credo developed by their founder and known as "Our Credo." The famous Johnson & Johnson credo is a good example of a company values that guide collective action.

BREAKING DOWN Credo

Former chairman Robert Wood Johnson created the Johnson & Johnson credo 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. Johnson & Johnson's credo strives to instill values of fair pricing, reasonable wages and creating an atmosphere of innovation by listening to workers' ideas. The company also believes management should be ethical and responsible citizens. Johnson & Johnson viewed its credo as more than a moral compass. The company established its credo well before environmental, social and governance issues became highly visible, important factors in company perception.

Other Company Credos

Some companies have long credos or mission statements, similar to that of Johnson & Johnson's. Other firms opt for shorter, easier-to-remember  credos that still define its corporate culture. For example, the 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."

JetBlue follows the company credo of "We're always up for good" and is a part of the larger "JetBlue For Good" theme. JetBlue describes its mission as one to inspire humanity, both up in the sky and down on the ground. Another corporate credo example is Disneyland's one of "The happiest place on Earth."

The Importance of a Credo

Companies have a credo to help define the brand, purpose and values of the business. Many corporations focus on putting customers first in creating a credo. This lets consumers know they are important to the company ahead of revenue and profits. Credos focused on customer service are especially important for the hospitality industry and restaurants. A credo guides employee behavior by focusing workers on a leading example of the company's purpose and influences collective actions across the firm. Without a defined purpose, corporations often falter or lose direction and languish over long periods of unproductive time, or lost years.