Friday, December 17, 2010

Circuit City - Mission Statement

Circuit City is the next brand mission statement I'm evaluating.  Since Circuit City went bankrupt and liquidated in 2009, that casts an interesting light on this analysis.  The credit crisis has caused a lot of businesses to go under, but Circuit City also had a bunch of mismanagement and poor decisions—laying off salespeople and not staying current with the tech industry. That latter one is anathema for an electronics retailer. The business of electronics retailing has moved primarily online, and Circuit City did not, at the time of close, have much to offer in sales opportunities on the web. And after laying off their sales people, the question becomes: where are you selling your product?

I suspect that's in large part why their business failed—they weren't selling. They weren't where their customers were (online), and they also were pretty half-assed about where their customers weren't (in their stores), so it's not difficult to make that leap to a conclusion on why they shut their doors.

Let's take a look at their mission statement:

"To make sure that we are all working in the same direction, each of us must live and breathe Circuit City's values and use them as a guidepost for our actions and decisions."

To further clarify that mission to all of its employees, the company outlined its corporate values in detail...

Our Associates are our greatest assets. We expect every Associate to demonstrate that they respect and value others for their efforts, their knowledge, and the diversity that they bring.

We are a product of our experiences and those around us can benefit from our lessons learned. Pass on to others what you value and learn.

What's in it for you? We foster an environment of engagement where associates are invested and involved in the future of the company. What you do matters.

Use your fresh perspective to look, ask, and learn. We never stop looking at the way we approach our business and ways to simplify processes.

Maintain the highest integrity
We expect all of our associates to maintain the highest of ethical standards. Our integrity must never be compromised. Integrity is the foundation onto which all other values are placed."

Yawn.  And what?  Nowhere in this does it say "We want to hit electronic sales out of the park like Renteria in the seventh inning.  We want to wipe our competition off our boots.  We want to develop a cutting-edge, contemporary website that allows our customers to find and buy what they're looking for efficiently.  We want to make Best Buy look like your grandpa's radio store."

There's no plan in here for success.  This doesn't sound like a competitive plan, or even one that will meet with any success.  It's entirely elementary.  Respect, education, engagement, simplification, and integrity are all great values, but I'd expect to see them at any company.  What will set Circuit City apart?

Apparently, not enough.


  1. They're confusing company values with a vision statement. They fail business 101.

  2. What Mike said, plus it's just too damn wordy. When I served on the BoD of my former choir ( we re-wrote our vision and mission statements, spending months distilling them to their very essence. We came up with eight words for vision: "To heal our world with music and words". Now it's even more refined: "Healing our world with music and words". The mission statement was a bit longer and had a comma but was still one sentence. Every singer knew what it was and its particular meaning for her or him.

    It's difficult for a member or employee to internalize a six-clause paragraph of 180 words and keep it as an active guide for each workday. That mission statement sounds like it was written by an equivocating committee of pathological micro-managers. No wonder CC is gone.