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Vision, mission & purpose... which one is which again?

Vision, mission, purpose and values statements are key tools in the marketing arsenal, but the sad truth is that most marketing peeps can't actually explain the difference between the three.
At the end of the day, it’s not actually the hugest train smash in the world, because yes, the concepts do overlap somewhat, especially when you’re writing the final copy. However, truly knowing the difference between the three concepts can help you write far more powerful and effective statements, which creates the baseline for the direction of future marketing campaigns, and gives you clear areas of focus.

Most importantly though, a really good understanding of vision, mission and purpose will help you be brilliant at that ever-present, but hardly-ever-mentioned, aspect of the marketing spectrum: taking new and existing clients through the process of clarifying and verbalising their company’s purpose, role and what they really aim to achieve.

In order to make the differences easier to understand, I’ve stuck with a single set of company examples for the various statements.

Company vision statements

Vision is usually the easiest of the vision, mission and purpose triad to understand, and it’s usually the one most people get right.

In a nutshell, your company’s vision is what the company wants and sees for itself going forward, i.e. what it aims to achieve. So this means it is possible to have short and long-term visions, which make it even easier to ask questions that extract that information:
  • Where do you see the company in a year?
  • Where do you see the company in two years?
  • Where do you see the company in five and ten years?
The other aspect of vision is about how the company sees itself fitting into the bigger business, industry, social and environmental pictures.

What this means is that your company can have 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50-year visions for themselves as an organisation, as well as for the business world, their industry, the natural environment and the communities in which it operates socially.

Vision examples:
  • We aim to uplift the lives of the people around us by providing easy and affordable access to life coaching and energy healing.
  • We aspire to advance the way that healing is made accessible to people in the coaching and healing communities.
  • We are committed to pioneering revolutionary new ways of coaching and healing that enable coaches and healers to become infinitely more effective at what they do.

Company mission & purpose statements

Mission is usually the one that we tend to mix up with mission, when in truth it’s actually more linked to purpose.

In fact, what you’ll find is that your mission and purpose are often linked, as one feeds the other.

Short and sweet, your purpose is the products and services you provide, so your skillsets, abilities, knowledge, talents and expertise, while your mission is the impact of those services on your client’s lives.

If you’ll look at the examples below then, you’ll see that all of them follow that type of format: we do this (our purpose) + so that you get xyz benefit (our mission).

Company mission statements
  • We build innovative products, services and solutions that innovate the way people are able to access life coaching and energy healing resources, making them more accessible and affordable.
  • We promote an environment of trust in which our clients are empowered with the agility to access the healing relief they need, when they need it, from the comfort and privacy of their Internet-connected device.
  • We pioneer adaptability for our industry, by developing revolutionary online tools that change the face and format of the coaching and healing tools and resources.
Company purpose statements
  • Our enthusiastic culture inspires products and solutions that are reliable, flexible, trustworthy, dynamic, pioneering, cost-effective, ergonomic and give our clients peace of mind.
  • Our inventiveness empowers our clients to metamorphose into flexible, trustworthy, dynamic members of society that live their lives and expression to the fullest.
  • We enable trust, flexibility, agility, resourcefulness, motivation, accountability, cooperation among our clients so that we can work at the speed of trust, and shatter through limitations that are holding people back.

Company values statements

Values, like vision, are usually pretty easy to grasp – what are the things that are important to you?

So values are not only the thoughts, feelings and actions we value in ourselves, our staff and those around us, but also incorporate the principles and ethics the company lives and conducts business by.

While values are simple enough, the mistake that we often make in workshops with clients is not starting with a comprehensive set of values. So everyone scrabbles for the few values they can remember off the top of their heads and most company values lists land up looking the same.

Also, but the time you get to values, often the client is tired and irritable and wants the day’s workship to be over already.

Values, ethics and principles, if done correctly, can really help further define and clarify where the client stands and what’s important to them. From a marketing and copywriting point of view, a comprehensive list of values will give you all the important descriptors you need when waxing lyrical about the company – over and over and over again; well that’s how it feels for copywriters anyway.

Free vision, mission, purpose and values generator tool

Generate your vision, mission, purpose and value statements for free using this tool:

Populated with eight tools containing statement structures that make it easy for you to compile professional statements so that you have a selection to choose from, the resource also includes a list of over 420 values, complete with the meanings for each value, ethic or principle.

The tool also contains options for you to generate free personal and individual vision, mission, purpose and value statements for yourself, or as a team building or performance exercise with your staff.

By simply completing the tool with a staff member, you have an easy coaching/mentoring tool to enable you to tackle and set agreements for key performance areas, in a way that uplifts and empowers your staff member, and makes them feel like the commitment to improve is their own idea.
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About Chemory Gunko

Chemory Gunko is a seasoned Creative Director, a certified NLP Practitioner, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy Practitioner, Energy ReSourcing Practitioner & Life Coach, among others. She works as a marketing consultant and provides copywriting, SEO, graphic design and Joomla! website services.