Companies regularly write lengthy vision statements, mission statements and mottos. Sadly, far too many turn out to be empty emotional BS.

Before Google got humongous they wrote a cheeky, three word, silicon-valley-punk credo for themselves: “Don’t Be Evil”. Having written a lot of long client credos, I loved it because it was only three words. And I loved Google as a business for putting a moral stake in the ground. 

Recently Google has been considering working on lucrative contracts for the Defense Department. Something about using AI and video image recognition for drone accuracy from what I’ve read. It seems lots of folks who work at Google are freaking out. They think that helping drones kill people better falls into the “evil” category just a tad. I’d have to agree.

Establishing a credo can be one of the most powerful things a brand can create. It guides every brand decision and action. It keeps you and your employees grounded in the brand values. Sometimes those values are tested.

Ultimately, Google withstood their test by refusing the Defense projects, demonstrating to the world their credo is meaningful and authentic.

Even if it is only three words.