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Branding 101: How (And Why) to Develop Your Company’s Vision, Mission, and Values

  • February 13, 2017
  • Written by Community Futures Saskatchewan

Do you ever wish that your business came with a roadmap to success, complete with directions to get there?

You aren’t alone. The good news is that, with just a bit of time and energy, you can create a business roadmap in the form of vision, mission, and values statements. These three things form a compass that steers everything from marketing to sales, consistently guiding your company in the right direction.

Use the following information to hone your company’s vision, mission, and values, and start building a successful brand.

The Difference Between Vision, Mission, and Values Statements

The three terms are often used interchangeably but are quite different.

Vision Statement: An inspirational message that demonstrates what reality would look like years from now after the company achieves it goals, according to SHRM.

  • Example: “A world where everyone has a decent place to live” is non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity’s vision statement.

Mission Statement: A description of what your company does and its direction. What are your priorities? What are your methods to accomplish those priorities?

  • Example: Outdoor gear company Patagonia’s mission is to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Values Statement: What your company believes in. This is your company’s moral compass that steers decision-making, such as pricing or customer service standards.

  • Example: Retailer L.L. Bean teaches employees to “Sell good merchandise at a reasonable price, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more.”

For the businesses mentioned above, these statements aren’t just touchy-feely words to make their companies sound good. Their vision, mission, and values form their brand identity, a summation of how they want to be perceived by customers. Because their identities are focused and well-defined, they know exactly how to market their brands to consumers.

Brand Identity Guides Marketing Efforts

Think about a famous brand like Nike. In just a few seconds, you can recall what it stands for: achieving greatness, leading a healthy lifestyle, and having the courage to go after your dreams.

It’s not surprising, then, that Nike uses famous athletes to market its brand. They embody strength, vitality, and unbreakable determination—characteristics that everyday, non-professional athlete customers admire and want to have themselves.

And what is Nike’s mission statement? To “Bring inspiration and innovation to every *athlete in the world (*if you have a body, you are an athlete).”

Talk about a seamless brand identity. Nike knows their brand inside and out, and they consistently project that brand throughout their marketing in order to speak to the right customers. Their brand starts with a mission and then becomes a story that consumers emotionally connect with and buy into again and again, to the tune of $32 billion USD in sales worldwide.

Take a page out of Nike’s book. Spend time developing a vision, mission, and values that you genuinely believe in, and that employees and customers can emotionally buy into. You probably already have an idea of how to describe your company and what your ideal customer believes in. Simply write everything down, look for common themes, and revise until you have a few short statements that best represent your brand.

Align Brand, Marketing, and Behavior for Success

Research completed by Gallup shows that when a company’s behavior aligns with its brand identity, and customers resonate with that branding, they spend 47% more money than customers who do not believe in the brand.

What does this mean? It is not enough to just write down your vision, mission, and values statement; you need to go one step further and act in accordance with those beliefs. Your audience must see that your actions support what you claim to believe in.

Nike, for instance, creates advertisements reminding women of their strength and highlighting women who are working hard to achieve their dreams. The company also partners with organizations to promote youth sports and physical activity in schools. These actions demonstrate that Nike genuinely believes in its mission and follows through on its promises.

The lesson here… if customers notice any incongruity between your business’ soul and its actions, they will lose faith in your brand and become unwilling to support your company. That goes for employees as well, who can become disengaged and severely damage your business’ bottom line.

Building a solid brand foundation of vision, mission, and values, and then using those foundational elements to guide your company’s actions, can prevent employee disengagement and customer dissatisfaction. And when employees and customers are happy, your company is on the way toward long-term financial success.

After developing your company’s brand, it’s time to set goals that can lead to success.

Download Community Future’s FREE E-BOOK, The Ultimate Goal-Setting Guide for Entrepreneurs!