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. 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, what’s actually the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement? We’re breaking it down to help you understand your company’s essence with confidence.
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 company and content need a mission AND a vision
While companies commonly use mission and vision statements interchangeably, it’s important to have both.
One really doesn’t work without the other, especially in the world of content marketing where having purpose and meaning is critical. 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.Your mission statement focuses on today; your vision statement focuses on tomorrow. @BrittSkrabanek Click To Tweet
Brands that get it: 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.
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.
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?