Vision Mission Purpose & Values – What’s The Difference?
Four little words that are often overlooked when it comes to your branding are vision, mission, purpose and values.
Often when I mention these, people assume that they’re the same thing or we put them to the back of our mind in the ‘things that big corporate companies need but I definitely don’t’ box. Your vision, mission, purpose and values might be different depending on if you are a larger company with several employees or if you are a one man band and your business is really coming from within you.
But what are they? Aren’t they all kinda the same thing, Amanda?
I hear you cry.
And do I even need them?
Your values, vision, mission and purpose form the building blocks of your branding. Without them, your logo, colours, fonts and values won’t do a whole lot for you.
Don’t worry, you probably already have them, and they’ll be coming through, so don’t stress, but really defining them can help you to be clearer with your messaging, so it’s a good place to start.
You need to sort out these beauties before you can move on because they inform everything that your brand is made up of. If you don’t get clear on your values, vision, mission and purpose, then your brand message won’t be clear to your customers. And nobody wants that.
Here’s my simple way to define your vision, mission, purpose and values to help you to get started:
Your vision is WHAT you see
Your mission is HOW you’ll do it
Your purpose is WHY you’re doing it
Your values are WHO you are.
A better way round is to start with WHO, then WHY, then WHAT then HOW, but turns out more people search for help with a business mission statement and vision & mission in general, so for SEO purposes I’ve moved the title around!
Your vision is WHAT you see both for yourself and for your business.
It provides the vision for the world in which you want to live and it’s what guides your decisions for your brand and business. If something’s not part of your bigger vision, babe don’t do it.
It’s your ultimate check in point to make sure that your choices are correct. It is what you see for the future of your customers and how you will help to get them there.
If you’re struggling, start with ‘A world where…’
A world where… ‘small brands can be their unique selves and thrive.’
OR I could word it differently like…
Small brands thriving through being unique.
Your vision is absolutely unique and it sets you apart from any competitor; meaning you don’t have to fight for space. You know where you’re headed.
An exercise: Daydream for a minute. If you could have anything, removing all limits, what would your dream life look like? Now what do you dream for your clients? There’s a lot more to vision setting, but this is good start.
Your mission is HOW you’re going to achieve your vision.
You need your vision first, then your mission talks about how that will happen. You can have a shorter or longer mission statement, but make it clear, and as consise as you can. Your mission statement tends to be a little longer than your vision statement.
So if you use my example ‘small brands can be their unique selves and thrive’ – my mission is there:
Encouraging and facilitating brand clarity to ensure a lasting business to be proud of and positive impact on customers and the world, with actionable 1:1 support, group programmes and courses.
Your mission is expressing what your vision actually looks like and how you will make it happen.
Exercise: Start by looking at what you’re doing, an action word or two, why you’re doing it and how. So WHAT you’re doing + WHY and HOW = mission statement (not always but start here.)
Your purpose is your WHY.
Why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing; what made you start and what makes you want to help others or provide the services or products that you do.
Ask yourself why you keep on tracking forward?
Do you have a strong sense of your purpose guiding you?
If you’re stuck on what your purpose is or you’d like to take it to the next level, a really good place to start for something like this is the book Start With Why by Simon Sineck. In his book, he explains that people don’t engage with or buy from people unless they can clearly identify with that person’s why.
If your why is unclear to you, it’s going to be hard to keep the momentum going, and keep at it when times get hard. It’s also much easier to connect to your customers when your ‘why’ is clear, as you’ll be able to connect on a deeper level.
Take an action: Go and watch this video.
You values are WHO you are.
They are what you believe in at your very core. What is it that you want to bring of yourself into your business? Now you might have slightly different personal values than you do brand values, I do think they’re slightly different, but we want to start with your personal values in this context and then you can always define your brand values later. This is especially the case for personal brands.
Your brand values may develop over time as your business progresses, as they are set and chosen, but your personal values will stay the same, although you may find priorities also shift over time.
An exercise: Write down a list of values that you hold close. Things that are important to you and probably have been for a while. Now cross out enough to bring you to ten values. Analyse each of them and think about why each of these is important. You can ask yourself that if you had to give one of them up in exchange for something brilliant, which would you give up first, and then next, and so on an so forth, so that you can work out which are most important to you (a trick I learnt from the very clever Suzy Ashworth.)
TOP TIP: There are no strict rules, especially for you my audience, you can write it in different ways, and change as you go, but just get something down to start with.
If you need any help un-muddling your vision, mission, purpose and values then an Un-Muddle me Session might be just what you need.