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Strategic planning helps to set priorities, allocate resources, and ensure that everyone is working towards common goals and objectives.
Vision statements, together with mission statements, core values and brand personality are the core components of a brand strategy.
Vision Statement is a one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired end-state.
A vision statement is a short phrase describing the future your brand is ultimately working towards.
It simply refers to the ideas behind a brand that help guide the future and captures the change resulting from a brand's work.
In this article I feature some of the top brands and their vision statements.
Looking at other successful brands is a great source of inspiration.
It doesn't mean that you have to copy them—not at all, your vision should be unique to your brand.
But you can get inspired and understand what vision statement is all about by looking at examples of famous brands we all can relate to.
Vision statements and mission statements are complementary but unique.
Elements of both are often combined to provide a statement of the company’s purposes, goals and values.However, sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.
Check the graphic below for quick distinction between both:
Who write mission and vision statements?—Typically, senior managers will write the company’s overall statements.
Then other managers at different levels can write statements for their particular divisions or sub-brands.
When the brand vision clicks, it will reflect and support the brand strategy.
When, on the other hand, the vision is absent or superficial:
A sound brand vision will enable strategists to make better judgments as to whether something is “on brand.”
Starbucks conceptualizes the future position a business wants to be in:
To be the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world.
Starbucks' vision statements is probably why the multi-million dollar coffeehouse chain has soared to success.
After all, the real essence of a brand can only be captured by its mission, vision statements and values.
After carefully examining the Starbucks' vision statement, it’s clear that like other growing companies, has ambitious goals to become the finest coffee markers in the world.
Starbucks echoes its desire to lead from the front and by example through superior coffee products.
If you have a clear vision of where your brand is heading, then you can make meaningful decisions along the way.
The vision statement adopted by Nike reflects exactly what the company has been known for since its beginnings in 1964.
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Despite changes and rebranding, the goal of Nike remains unchanged—to lead in manufacturing products that bring out the best in athletes.
Nike projects an image of the ultimate manufacturer of what athletes need to compete at the top level.
The Nike's vision statement focuses on the extent and scope of influence the company would want to have in the sports sector.
And thanks to clearly defined mission and vision statements, the brand was able to stay true to its DNA over the years.
What we can learn from Nike's examples is that your vision statements should communicate the purpose of your brand to the employees and other stakeholders alike.
The statements provides them with the inspiration to achieve that purpose.
Visa's statement serves as the company central focus which is to become the most trusted means of payment transaction.
To be the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone, everywhere.
On its about page you can read a headline "A better way to pay and be paid"—that is clearly based on that statement.
VISA strives to achieve a leadership position in payments sector in general.
You may think that this vision statement looks a bit generic, because it doesn't state where specifically VISA is trying to reach and how it expects to be there.
However, your vision should as open as possible for future growth while still providing enough direction.
A good vision statement is like a guiding star and provides an overall direction.
From its very beginning, Southwest Airlines has been a maverick in the airline industry, that boast very concise and clear vision statement.
To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
On its about page you can read that Southwest is dedicated to doing the right thing and with love for both its employees and customers.
Southwest is one of those brands that stand out as a perfect example of how visual identity can support the brand strategy.
What we can learn from Southwest is that a vision statement should provide employees and other stakeholders with inspiration to achieve a higher purpose.
It should also instill a sense of belonging and identity to the employees.
Something that motivates them to work harder in order to achieve success.
For over 20 years Ebay has been empowering people and creating economic opportunity for all—which is captured it the brand's vision statement:
Our vision for commerce is one that is enabled by people, powered by technology, and open to everyone.
On its about page you can further learn that the brand's goal is to empower people and create economic opportunity for all.
Ebay is transforming the individual selling experience to help you turn the things you no longer need into cash you can use.
We can learn from this example that your vision should serve as a guide for creating objectives and goals in the organization.
Or in other words—the vision statement should provide a road-map that is to be followed by everyone involved in building the brand.
The corporate vision statement shapes Tesla’s direction of organizational growth in specific sector.
To create the most compelling electric car company of the 21st century.
This corporate vision emphasizes the company’s focus on renewable energy.
Specifically, the corporation addresses the electric car market as a major key for facilitating growth of the global renewable energy market.
Tesla aims to be a leadership in the electric automotive industry.
And not only that, but it also aims to create the most compelling electric cars.
With a strong brand image and increasing popularity, the brand is positioned to succeed.
Tesla's vision statement effectively describes business aims and supports its mission statement to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
By looking at this example, you can see how mission and vision statements work together with its ultimate goal to increase efficiency and productivity in the organization.
The Walmart's vision statement explains the reasons behind its desire to position itself as the retail leader.
Be the destination for customers to save money, no matter how they want to shop.
Walmart recognizes competitive prices as the primary reason for its products and services.
By analyzing this statement we can distinguish the following components: affordability, convenience, customer-oriented.
The affordability concept is widely captured in its product pricing.
The convenience concept is expressed in the company's global reach with its many store locations.
The customer-oriented concept seeks to meet all customer preferences by being fair and honest to everyone.
Google's vision statement is a reflection of what the company is best known for – giving its customer easy and fast access to information.
To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
To achieve this vision, Google designed an open-access platform where users can have unlimited information at their exposure.
The concept of linking its customers to information worldwide is based on the conventional methods to access data and struggles that come with it.
Google has designed a system that ensures a user can request specific information by using its robust search engine.
When the company started, there were many other search engines out there (Yahoo, Bing, Astalavista) but nowadays these competitors seem to be a thing of the past.
Do you think that Google's success is in big part due to the company's clear vision for what they want to accomplish?—I strongly believe so.
The McDonald's vision statement reveals the ultimate goals of the brand's existence in the fast-food category.
To be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience.
Although "best" can mean many things to many people, the company elaborates on that on its about page.
To put it simply: McDonald's definition of "best" is the committed to doing the right thing.
McDonald's puts people, processes and practices into place to make quality food, more responsible sourcing choices, a stronger community and a better planet.
How it translates to the customer experience?—They strive to offer a diverse menu to give their customers the meal and snacking options they need for entire family.
As you can learn from this example, your vision should work in unity to your mission and be supported by core values.
Disney prides itself in empowering and at the same time entertaining the entire world.
To be the world’s leading producer and provider of entertainment and information.
Although Disney has already achieved its mission of growing into a multinational corporation that serves on a global scale, the vision statement helps the brand stay on track.
The company was established in 1923 in the U.S, but today, we can find Disney in virtually every country on earth.
This makes Disney brand a global leader in what it does: entertainment and information.
Your vision statement is very important and it can best be described as a destination of the organization.
And even though big brands like Disney may seem to already "get there", the vision enables them to make meaningful strategic decisions.
This is crucial because many big brands make branding mistakes—so make sure your brand does not.
Your vision statement should be an audacious future reality based on the work you do.
It’s where “begin with the end in mind” becomes real.
It should be so big that it feels nearly impossible.
Your vision should require people to dream and to dream BIG.
Make sure the statements follows these guidelines:
Now, here are the two questions to answer that will fuel your brainstorming session:
I strongly emphasize on the DREAMING piece.If everything goes right, how will your organization change the world?
Your company's vision implies a promise to customers and a commitment by the organization.
It cannot be an exercise in wishful thinking but, rather, needs to have substance behind it.
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”—then the organization is unable or unwilling to deliver on that vision.
Don't let the promise become just an empty advertising slogan.
Get the vision statement right and it will help you build programs that are “on-brand”—and you will inevitably become the leading brand you are aspiring to be.
Remember, that the best vision statements won't win, the one that actually gets implemented will.
Learn how to write a vision statement — check out the Brand Vision exercise in my Brand Strategy Guide.