“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company”
It’s how Amazon has successfully kept you coming back for more, so much so that every time you think of shopping online, the first place you turn to is Amazon.
In over 20 years of operation, they’ve consistently sought to provide you with the best experiences by making it easy for you to find anything you want to buy online.
And now, you trust Amazon. Not just because of the excellent customer service, but because they’ve displayed a purpose, a mission for which you can hold them accountable.
Businesses that seek to build trust with their audience must first showcase their purpose and give their customers something to believe in.
And the best way to do this is by having a well-written vision and mission statement.
In this article, we’d look at mission and vision statements in detail and how you can write one for your organization.
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What are Vision and Mission Statements?
A vision statement is a statement of the long-term goals of your business and its global impact. It is exactly as it sounds, a statement declaring the vision of your business. Businesses use vision statements as a roadmap to feats they want to achieve in the future.
For example, Coca-Cola’s vision statement reads, “to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit.”
In over 100 years of operation, all of Coca-Cola’s business activities have been in line with creating brands and drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. One of the campaigns which clearly explains the vision statement is the “Share a Coke” campaign.
The campaign aimed to create more personal relationships with consumers all over the world by printing the most popular names on millions of Coke bottles. This innovative idea by Coca-cola led to lots of moments of shared happiness among its users.
When it comes to vision for your business, it’s best to stay realistic. Vision statements are aspirations you hope your business achieves because there are possibilities that they can be achieved at first. Then you can inspire your employees to stay on track and work towards getting closer to the business vision every day.
Take a look at this example from the LinkedIn CEO. In a letter to his employees before LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft. He said;
A mission statement, on the other hand, is a statement showing why the organization exists and how it intends to achieve its goal. It is an action-oriented statement that summarizes your company’s unique proposition in the market.
Depending on the line of your business, a mission statement encompasses how you intend to serve your customers and give back to society at large.
Due to its relationship with a vision statement, many companies often write the vision and mission statements together.
For example, Netflix’s mission and vision statement read, “At Netflix, we want to entertain the world. Whatever your taste, and no matter where you live, we give you access to best-in-class TV series, documentaries, feature films, and mobile games. Our members control what they want to watch, when they want it, with no ads, in one simple subscription.”
Ultimately, having a clear vision and mission statement provides a direction for your business, whilst providing clarity for your employees and causing your customers to believe in your brand.
Difference Between Mission And Vision Statement
Primarily, mission statements are statements written that describe the “why” of your business. It tells your customers why you exist, the solutions your business brings and the measures you’ll use to get it done. In other words, mission statements are descriptive and talk about the present.
Vision statements, on the other hand, are about your business goals and achievements you hope to get in the future.
They are meant to inspire your employees and stakeholders to do the job right because there is a place the business aims to get to.
“The vision is about your goals for the future and how you will get there, whereas the mission is about where you are now and why you exist,” said Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global strategic marketing consulting firm.
“The vision should motivate the team to make a difference and be part of something bigger than themselves.”
“A mission statement outlines all the things your company is doing in the present to reach your goal, while a vision statement describes what your company is building toward in the future,” says Masterclass.
Generally, a vision is the “what” of your business’s long-term goals while a mission is the “how” of these goals. This means, while your vision statement states the big dreams of your business, your mission statement is your road map to achieving them.
Creating a vision and mission statement may seem difficult especially because it helps form your business identity, but it doesn’t need to be. Follow these best practices to create the ideal vision and mission statement for your business.
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How to Write Your Mission and Vision statements
Here are 7 steps for creating the ideal mission and vision statements for your brand.
#1. Define your business core offerings
The first step to writing your business mission and vision statements is to answer these questions;
- What problems do I want to solve?
- What solutions am I offering?
- How can these solutions make life better for my customers?
It helps you to first create an identity for your business. It goes beyond having an idea of a cool product and trying to sell the idea to investors. Identifying your business’s core offerings gives you a direction of what your business can achieve and the options available to help you get there.
Under Armour, a sports apparel manufacturing company started because its founder, Kevin Plank was tired of sweating during football practice.
He turned his sweat into a billion-dollar idea that uses microfibre to create sports apparel to keep athletes dry especially during practice. Hence the vision of Under Armour is “to inspire you with performance solutions you never knew you needed and can’t imagine living without.”
Every athlete wants to stay dry and comfortable after long hours of sweat and Under Armour poses as the brand that provides such a solution amidst its other competitors like Nike.
Use your unique proposition to state what makes your business special to your customers and don’t exaggerate it. Stick to the basics, what makes you and why you exist. You’ll find the ideas flowing naturally.
#2. Be specific with your company’s purpose
Your company purpose is why you exist in the market and the core values that guide you to operate differently.
To McKinsey, “Your company’s purpose strengthens resilience and creates value — if it’s genuine. A new framework highlights a detailed approach to embedding purpose throughout your organization.”
To identify your business purpose, Simeon Sinek, an author, speaker, and leadership consultant, developed what he calls The Golden Circle in his 2009 TEDx Talk. The circle consists of three layers: the what, the how, and the why.
According to him, every business knows what they do, some organizations know how they do it, and very few organizations know why they do what they do. Which is where the bulk of the problem lies.
Lots of companies have brand messaging that speaks the what and how ignoring the why. However, to Simeon, businesses should rather focus on the why.
Using Dove, a beauty brand as an example to describe the golden circle, their brand messaging looks like this;
|“We believe beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety.” – THE WHY|
|“That’s why we are here to help women everywhere develop a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential.” – THE HOW|
|“Whatever you’re looking for – products to provide you with the care you need, tips and advice ranging from hair care to skincare, to underarm care – everything you see here is designed to make you feel beautiful.” – THE WHAT|
Understanding the hierarchy of these parts of your business helps you create consistent company mission and vision statements that inspire your customers and causes investors to believe in your brand.
#3. Set a global goal for your business
Map out a clear vision of where you want your company to be in years to come. It should be SMART. This means, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Define what success means to your brand and set a goal with it. For Coca-cola, success means crafting the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit.
Today, after numerous people-centered campaigns, Coca-cola has moved from selling a sugary drink in a bottle to selling happiness.
As of the end of last quarter, September 2022, Coca-cola still made a gross profit of $6.497B, a 7.12% increase year-over-year.
For a long time, nutritionists and health organizations have warned against drinking Coca-cola due to its numerous health risks. But after a long day at work, the first chilled drink you want to take is still a bottle of coke for “a refreshing taste of happiness.”
#4. Market your strengths
Strengths here mean your unique selling point. This is your unique angle to the market and how you intend to woo your customers into trusting you.
If your business cures cancer in one month, boldly state it and back it up with results. Move away from using generic terms like “…the best…” and use words that pique curiosity and distinguish your brand from the rest.
Your vision and mission statements can capture your brand’s strengths and possible plans to take advantage of new opportunities in the future.
The most successful brands know what they are good at and infuse it into every aspect of their marketing and brand messaging. Take for example Tesla, one of their core brand messages is this, “Accelerating the World’s Transition to Sustainable Energy.”
Understanding your business strengths helps you to set SMART goals which birth the ideal company vision and mission statement.
#5. Get external ideas
Another way to write the ideal mission and vision statement is to talk to key individuals in your business. Ask questions, engage in conversations, share your ideas and let people tell you the possibilities that abound for your business.
You can also share your friends into groups and ask them to share their thoughts and ideas for your business with you. They can describe the company’s core offerings and its future using perfect words you may not have thought of using.
You can then use these ideas as a basis to craft vision and mission statements that describe your company’s present offers, future aspirations, and unique methodologies.
#6. Keep it short and direct
After collecting all the ideas from your external sources, work through everything, take out the parts that don’t cater to your business, and refine the ideas (if need be) to come up with the finest of them.
Use short words and sentences to make it interesting. Use simple language to communicate your ideas, and focus on what your business offers to its customers, employees, and society.
A vision and mission statement should be straightforward, short, and clear. This is because most organizations ask their employees to go over the mission and vision statements for a better understanding of the business operations.
If you’d like to replicate the same culture in your firm, keep your vision and mission statements short, making them easier to remember and possible to be repeated over and over again.
The shorter the vision and mission statement, the better for everyone.
#7. Write, revise, and publish
Good mission and vision statements are concise and clear, define business objectives, and serve overall business branding function.
However, you wouldn’t get it on your first trial, so you’ve got to write and revise more till you get to the finest of it.
Start by creating the first draft of your vision and mission statements, then work through it from top to bottom, cutting out general terms and focusing on words/sentences that best describe your business. Words like “best”, “world-class”, and “global standard” are generic terms used by lots of businesses and have little or no definite meaning to them.
Read other competitors’ mission and vision statements to have an idea of how you can write yours. And ensure to write what is realistic, as your customers can sniff bluff from miles away.
After writing, listen to feedback from others and implement them to finetune your texts where need be before publishing for the general public.
Your mission statement changes as your business grows. So, periodically revise your mission statements to align with current business directions.
In 1980, Steven Jobs wrote Apple’s mission statement to be “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
In 2009, when Tim Cook took over running Apple while Steve Jobs was on medical leave, he set the stage for Apple’s new mission and vision statement to reflect the changes in the company from when Steve Jobs started it. Rewriting Apple’s mission and vision statement to now be;
Vision – We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products, and that’s not changing.
Mission – Bringing the best user experience to its customers through innovative hardware, software, and services.
5 Real-life Examples of Mission and Vision Statements Explained
If you’re looking for inspiration to write your mission and vision statements, here are examples from some of your favorite brands
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
For Starbucks, this is both their mission and vision statement, which totally makes sense as it explains the what, why, and how of the business, all in one sentence.
Vision – Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Mission – Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
At one glance, one can easily tell important business factors of Linkedin like its target audience, and core business offering from its vision and mission statement.
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (if you have a body, you are an athlete).”
In one sentence, Nike tells its customers the entirety of the business and who they exist to serve.
Vision – “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and, ultimately, the world.”
Mission – “Spread ideas”
The simplicity of TEDs mission statement makes it the most unique on our list. It’s concise and clear, and if you’ve ever attended any TED event, you’ll know that the organization’s operations are in line with its mission.
“We exist to unite the conditioning community.”
This very short sentence from Gymshark raises lots of questions and while it may make sense to the organization and its employees, it leaves its customers confused. As there is no clear description of how Gymshark exists to serve its customers.
The hardest part about creating a mission and vision statement is coming up with texts that cover the “what”, “why”, and “how” of your business. Regardless, use the steps mentioned in this article to create statements that speak of your business.