Vision statement – what is it? How important is it? Who needs it? When should it be created and by whom? Ultimately, how can you craft the best one for your organization?
These are some of the questions this article seeks to explore. Further down the line, we will look at some perfect examples from big brands, to get you inspired to write a vision statement for your own brand.
What is a vision statement?
In order to write a vision statement that truly expresses your brand, first we will need to understand what it is.
A vision statement is a written or verbal expression of an organization’s future goals. These objectives can be considered in the near future or in the long-term (often the case).
Much like a mission statement, a company’s vision statement serves as an important management tool that guides the policies, procedures, decisions and ultimately expectations of an organization.
It is created and shared with internal employees as well as external stakeholders to sell them on your ideas and encourage cooperation.
Much of everything a mission statement stands for is also covered by a vision statement. They’re both remarkably similar, and some companies have even had to use the same purpose statement to double for both their vision and mission statement.
Related as they are, though, vision and mission statements are still two different concepts with significant individual characteristics. Let’s consider some of the differences.
What is the difference between a vision and a mission statement?
The vision and mission statements of an organization are both equally useful, as they complement each other and guide the company.
The primary difference between them is that the mission statement explains why your company exists, what it does, and sometimes where it is at the moment, while a vision statement explains what the organization aims to achieve in the future.
The main difference is that while one speaks of the present, the other talks about the future – actionable vs aspirational.
Also, while a vision statement focuses on inspiring and guiding the employees of a company, the mission statement has a broader bandwidth as it concerns itself with both the members of a company and the external community. The difference here is in the scope of concentration.
On the other hand, however, their main similarity is that both need to guide the direction of your company as well as align with your brand’s core values and culture. These elements all make up your firm’s identity and differentiation factors.
Once your company’s vision and mission statements and its core values are determined, the real work starts. It’s now time to create strategic plans and begin executing your projects.
But how can you write a vision statement for your organization – one that encapsulates all your company’s foresights into an actionable, powerful statement? Before we go into that, let’s take a good look at some great vision statement examples from major brands.
What are some good vision statement examples?
Below are five vision statement examples from the world’s top-player brands. We will also attach their mission statements to further highlight the differences between the two concepts.
The aim of this section is to inspire and guide you to create the most punchy and interesting vision statement for your organization.
Example #1 on how to write a vision statement: Amazon
- Vision statement: “To be the Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”
- Mission statement: “To serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.”
Take note how brief and clear these Amazon purpose statements are.
Also, did you notice how the brand’s core values (customer obsession, highest standards, affordability, accessibility, convenience, etc.) are skillfully woven around this vision and mission statements, particularly around Amazon’s prime theme of “customer-focused service”?
These brand statements did not only a great job, but are also walking the talk. That is the goal: aligning belief to action.
Example #2 on how to write a vision statement: Apple
- Vision statement: “To make the best products on Earth and to leave the world better than we found it.”
- Mission statement: “To bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative computer hardware, computer software, and services.”
Short and straightforward! Among other values that connect Apple’s vision and mission statements together, three qualities stand out and these are the company’s passion for innovation, quality services, and user experience.
And we love how they communicate their purpose in a short and straightforward way.
Example #3 on how to write a vision statement: Nike
- Vision statement: “To do everything possible to expand human potential.”
- Mission statement: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Nike’s purpose statements are strongly tied to its brand values of inspiration, innovation, leadership, distinction, among other excellent virtues, thus emphasizing its position as a leader in the sports sector.
We love how they both specially hammer on the ability of this company to turn athletes into their best versions. In fact, some of the best athletes from every sport in the world are directly under Nike sponsorship: Christiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Rafael Nadal, and Tiger Woods, to mention just a few.
Lessons from the Nike purpose statements: keep things concise and precise. Let these brand statements complement each other and weave them around your organization’s core values.
Example #4 on how to write a vision statement: PayPal
- Vision statement: “To make the movement and management of money as simple, secure and affordable as possible.”
- Mission statement: “To democratize financial services to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or economic standing, has access to affordable, convenient and secure products and services to take control of their financial lives.”
Consistency in belief and action toward their vision and mission statements has put PayPal in an enviable position among its peers. A 2021 ranking (the latest) by Forbes lists PayPal among the 10 best payment gateways of 2021 and tags the company as “unmatched by other payment platforms”.
In their own words: “PayPal is a favorite among consumers. The platform has a massive user base—nearly 300 million users—unmatched by other payment platforms.”
What can be drawn from here: You can also keep your vision and mission statements descriptive like PayPal’s. More importantly, talk the talk, walk the walk.
Example #5 on how to write a vision statement: Facebook
- Vision/mission statement: “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
Facebook is an example of a company that uses the same (or alternates between its) vision and mission statement.
The social networking giant focuses on making its social platform an important part of community development, efficiently aligning this vision/mission to its fundamental values of empowering people, enabling community building, and connecting the world.
You can also adopt Facebook’s approach. A brand can use the same purpose statement to express its mission and vision to stakeholders.
How to write a vision statement in 5 simple steps
Writing your company’s vision statement can seem like a daunting or tiring task – in fact, it can be. It will be communicated to every member of your organization and other external stakeholders, and it will greatly impact the trajectory and ultimate success of your business.
Writing one can be exciting, too.
A vision statement takes time and effort to write. When it is properly written, effectively communicated, and efficiently maintained, it provides the motivation and the pathway your company needs to meet its goals.
To grease the process, keep these steps in mind in order to write a vision statement that actually expresses the essence of your brand.
1. Decide who writes your vision statement
The first step in order to write a vision statement is to decide who will take on that task.
When you’re starting out, chances are that you and your partners will be responsible for writing the vision statement of your company. Immediately you begin hiring, you may have to ask managers and other staff members to contribute more insights.
Consider interviewing a range of persons within and outside your company to help create a vision statement that integrates and communicates directly to the whole organization.
2. Project your future goals
The second step in order to write a vision statement for your organization is to project your future goals.
Visualize your company five, ten or more years in the future. The future results you picture (your vision for the future, your breakthrough as an organization) should be properly represented in your company’s vision statement.
Note that you should keep things strictly down to the vision itself; there’s no need to detail steps on how you plan to apply solutions.
Below are some questions that can help streamline the process and clarify your vision:
- What is the direction we want the organization to go?
- Realistically, what can we achieve?
- What problems do we intend to solve through this organization?
- What changes can be effected in the lives of individuals and for the industry through us?
- How will things be different or better if our vision is achieved?
- What keywords or phrases describe us, the type of organization we are, and the results that we want?
3. Specific, please
The next step to write a vision statement is to get as specific as possible.
Avoid a generic vision statement, one that sounds like any company could own it. Such won’t offer enough encouragement for your team.
A vision statement works the best when it is particular and describes a future desired outcome that can be provided by your company only. A dull vision will only produce similar results.
For this reason, it’s recommended that you be bold, or even risky in expressing your company’s vision statement. “Fortune favors the brave,” they say.
4. Keep it short and simple
In order to write a vision statement that is presented accurately to your audience, you will have to keep it short and simple.
Even though it’s generally agreed that a vision statement should be specific, it’s equally important to not be too detailed. How much information is needed?
Just enough to summarize the primary, ultimate desired future of your organization, capturing the core of this end goal. The key is to keep it concise, clear, and to-the-point. The best way to do that is by jotting down all your ideas, and then narrowing things down to the essentials.
The best vision statement examples often highlight just one or two key points, making it easy to understand and fulfill. Avoid technical jargons, and try to use the present tense.
Shoot for clarity, not catchiness. Your vision statement will be better understood and more impactful when you keep it simple and inspirational.
5. Revisit and update as needed
Since it is an organization’s future desired goal, a vision statement will always be attained someday. It is dynamic in nature, not static – think of it like a living, breathing document!
When the vision is reached, new milestones have to be set, so there’s a need to continue moving forward. Regularly review and update your organization’s current purpose.
After you have written a vision statement that expresses your ultimate future goal(s), make sure it is clearly communicated. Your organization’s purpose will be more effective when your whole organization takes it seriously.
Allocate the right and sufficient resources and time to ensure maximum output for the vision you have set. Invest in seminars and training, launch a new product, offer incentives, enter new markets, explore other sectors where opportunity may be waiting.
Invite everyone into the process and make sure that everyone buys into your vision and aligns with your organization’s values.
Don’t forget – seek, recognize, and reward outstanding contributions from members of your staff, consumers, partners and every other stakeholders.
Now that you know how to write a vision statement, you may be wondering how to write a mission statement as well. If that’s the case, check out our article on how to write a mission statement.