A lot of companies make the mistake of using the mission and vision statement interchangeably, but there's a difference. Both are important to a company’s survival — and both should guide your content creation. This is part two in a five-part series on content vision.
>Read Part 1 in the series: Content Strategy & Vision: A Creative Chief & Strategy Chief Sound Off
>>Read Part 3: What Is a Content Vision & How Do You Create One?
>>Read Part 4: Content Philosophy & the No. 1 Question You Should Be Asking
Mission, vision, values. We’ve heard this trio rattled off countless times, rapid-fire like they’re one catchy phrase — when, in fact, they are three very distinct concepts for organizations.
The lines especially get blurred with mission and vision statements. But when it comes to the drive and direction of your company today and tomorrow, you don’t want to have trouble seeing when you’re behind the wheel. And, the same rings true for your content marketing.
So, we’re breaking down the difference between a mission and vision statement to help you understand your company’s essence with confidence.
What is the difference between a mission and a vision?
The mission statement focuses on today and what the organization does. The vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what the organization wants to become. While companies commonly use mission and vision statements interchangeably, it’s important to have both. One doesn’t work without the other, because having purpose and meaning are critical for any business.
What is a mission statement?
Your mission statement drives the company. It is what you do/the core of the business, and from it come the objectives and finally, what it takes to reach those objectives. It also shapes your company’s culture.
Mission statement questions look like:
- What do we do?
- Whom do we serve?
- How do we serve them?
This trickle-down effect of a mission statement confirms its value at any company. Just by its definition, you can quickly see how a solid mission motivates a team to advance toward a common goal, because they started at the same place and they are working together to reach the same end-goal.
On the other hand, a weak mission — or no mission at all — can have the opposite effect. Picture this: silos, miscommunications, flailing, feeling unmotivated. And, imagine what that does to a company. Scary, right?
For content marketers
Your content strategy supports the company’s mission statement — think of it as the HOW of what you do. This helps you stay on track, true to your brand and true to your goals. Every piece of content you create should be rooted in your mission statement, from the tone of voice to the call-to-action.
What is a vision statement?
Your vision statement gives the company direction. It is the future of the business, which then provides the purpose.
The vision statement is about what you want to become. It’s aspirational.
Vision statement questions look like:
- What are our hopes and dreams?
- What problem are we solving for the greater good?
- Who and what are we inspiring to change?
The vision statement promotes growth, both internally and externally. A strong vision helps teams focus on what matters the most for their company. It also invites innovation. A purpose-driven company envisions success as a whole, because they know what success means for their company.
On the flip side, a lack of vision is a road to nowhere for a business. Imagine this: stagnation, outdated processes, moving without purpose, feeling uninspired. Can a company even survive without a clear vision? You know the answer to that one.
For content marketers
The content vision supports the company’s vision statement — this is the WHY of what you do. This helps you stay forward-thinking, true to your beliefs and true to your purpose. Every piece of content you dream up should fly high with your vision statement, from the inception of an ebook to the lofty blog subscriber milestone.
Your mission statement focuses on today; your vision statement focuses on tomorrow. @BrittSkrabanek Click To Tweet
Brands that get it: 25 examples of mission and vision statements
So, what does a great mission and vision statement look like? These companies are doing it right—they get it. And, they have the customer loyalty to prove it.
Mission: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Vision: To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
Mission: We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.
Vision: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Mission: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
Vision: A love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet.
Mission: Spread ideas.
Vision: We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.
Mission: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
Vision: To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Mission: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Vision: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
Mission: Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.
Vision: Smarter transportation with fewer cars and greater access. Transportation that’s safer, cheaper, and more reliable; transportation that creates more job opportunities and higher incomes for drivers.
Mission: Belong anywhere.
Vision: Tapping into the universal human yearning to belong — the desire to feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for who you are, no matter where you might be.
Mission: Utilize the power of Moore’s Law to bring smart, connected devices to every person on earth.
Vision: If it is smart and connected, it is best with Intel.
Mission: We build cars, symbols of Italian excellence the world over, and we do so to win on both road and track. Unique creations that fuel the Prancing Horse legend and generate a “World of Dreams and Emotions”.
Vision: Ferrari, Italian Excellence that makes the world dream.
Mission: We are here to help our customers kick ass. We do that by living our strategy and ruthlessly prioritizing our work to create simple elegant technology that delights our customers – all while delivering service that is second to none. Every single day, we join forces across teams and groups to break down barriers, build new markets and stare down the impossible until the impossible blinks.
Vision: We will radically shift the global economy toward small business by empowering people to easily start, confidently grow and successfully run their own ventures.
Mission: To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet.
Vision: Our vision is a world in which all people’s basic needs — such as shelter, clean water, sanitation, food and reliable power — are fulfilled in an environmentally sustainable way and a company that improves the quality of the environment and the communities where we live and work.
Company: Toyota USA
Mission: To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.
Vision: To be the most successful and respected car company in America.
Mission: Become one of the world’s top five brands by 2020.
Vision: Inspire the world. Create the future.
Mission: To empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.
Vision: Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.
Mission: To be the world’s favorite destination for discovering great value and unique selection.
Vision: Our vision for commerce is one that is enabled by people, powered by technology, and open to everyone.
Mission: Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Vision: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
Mission: Shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.
Vision: Changing the way we work, live, play, and learn.
Mission: A company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.
Vision: Using our unlimited passion for technology, content and services to deliver groundbreaking new excitement and entertainment, as only Sony can.
Company: Southwest Airlines
Mission: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
Vision: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
Mission: Power organizations with insightful solutions that drive business success.
Vision: Be the world’s authority on helping organizations focus on what matters.
Company: Kaiser Permanente
Mission: Kaiser Permanente exists to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.
Vision: We are trusted partners in total health, collaborating with people to help them thrive and creating communities that are among the healthiest in the nation.
Mission: The mission of Coinbase is to create an open financial system for the world.
Vision: Digital currency will bring about more innovation, efficiency, and equality of opportunity in the world by creating an open financial system.
Mission: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Vision: People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.
Company: Whole Foods
Mission: Whole Foods Market is a dynamic leader in the quality food business. We are a mission-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers. We are building a business in which high standards permeate all aspects of our company. Quality is a state of mind at Whole Foods Market.
Vision: Whole foods, Whole People, Whole Planet.
Know who you are and where you’re going
The mission statement focuses on today and what we do, and the vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what we want to become. Both are important to a company’s survival.
Call it the essence, beating heart, or the defining characteristic — whatever you call it, make sure your your mission and vision are clearly defined and understood for the sake of your content and your company.
Get a content mission and a content vision statement down on paper. Share it with your team members. Then you can measure your future content efforts against the two.
Knowing who you are and where you’re going is the foundation of an organization’s success. So, who are you? And, where are you going? Get tips on how the nature of planning itself can help your envisioned goals materialize: Mastering Time Management: The Five Primal Flows of Time.