MIssion and Vision:

 
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Do you know the difference?

We've all seen them.

The plaques displayed in the lobbies of corporate offices proclaiming the Mission or Vision or both - thoughts that are supposed to inspire us and give us pause for reflection.

When it comes to our companies, the ones we work for, the ones we build, do we need Mission and Vision statements? What role or roles do they serve? What do they have to do with branding, marketing and culture?

When taken seriously and not just created for token phraseology, they are words that contain much power.

Together they form a backbone for a company culture and direction.

Done right, they are navigational tools that can keep us on track and by concerted actions, become genuine expressions of our collective intent as a company.

I tend to see a vision as a north star. A big, exciting, inspirational point in the sky. We may never quite get there, but it lays out a path that is worthy of our efforts. It talks of a future, perhaps idyllic, but one that we would all love to achieve.

Vision statements should not change as a result of market trends or fads. It could be SOUTHWEST's vision of:

“Dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit”

or IKEA's:

“To create a better everyday life for the many people”

and HABITAT FOR HUMANITY:

“A world where everyone has a decent place to live”

and DISNEY's

“to make people happy”

is simple and yet incredibly ambitious.

Visions carry our hearts and minds in their words.

Missions are really all about the here and now. What we actually do.

Concise, missions describe actions, focus thought, tell us how we get things done.

We can all relate to TED's mission of

Spreading Ideas” 

and PAYPAL's

“To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”

GOOGLE:

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

PUBLIC BROADCASTING SYSTEM (PBS) follows its mission

“To create content that educates, informs and inspires.”

And Warby Parker:

“To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.”

Building businesses and creating brand momentum in a market is all about what's inside of you as a company.

Start from the culture and grow outward.

That is a dramatically great way to travel into the future.

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Gerard Schweitzer