As an obsessive brand watcher, I’ve probably read more brand mission statements than is good for me. For those less interested in the study of such things, it won’t come as any surprise that they rarely have the desired effect. In fact, they’re often hollow corporate phrases, more likely to give rise to cynicism than commitment.
But what’s far more worrying, is the number of brands that confuse brand mission with brand vision. And even some of the largest brands miss out brand purpose completely. If you’re of a mind that such corporate exclamations are simply a smoke screen for the brutal reality of business, it’s probably time to move on. However, if you believe that strong brands have the ability to support sales today and create profits tomorrow, it’s worth reading on.
A good place to start is understanding the differences between brand purpose, brand vision and brand mission. Brand purpose is best expressed as ‘a higher order reason for a brand to exist than just making a profit ‘. The Google expression of brand purpose helps us understand what can be a difficult concept to grasp. Google’s brand purpose is; ‘organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’. So, brand purpose is the ‘why’ the company exists.
Whereas brand vision is the ‘where’ you want to get to. Once again, an example makes the concept of brand vision clearer. Ford’s brand vision is; ‘democratise the automobile to become the world’s leading company for automotive products and services’. We now come to brand mission, the ‘how’ you’re going to get there. For our final example let’s look at a brand that has well and truly arrived. Amazon’s mission statement is; ‘to be the world’s most customer-centric company, where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online’.
Although the distinctions between purpose, vision and mission may seem small, they are critical when you’re putting together a brand strategy that will truly stand the test of time.
If you would like to learn more about brand purpose, vision and mission and how to establish your brand values, personality and positioning, send for our Free DIY Brand Workshop Pack.