If you’ve been in marketing for more than a day, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ve seen or heard of a little something called a brand vision and brand mission. In the world of business, all of this branding jargon might seem meaningless or confusing to some.
If you’re reading this article, you may not be in that category of people, but let’s just talk about how important it is to have a strong and viable vision statement for your brand.
We’ll start off with the simple definition of what a brand vision actually is:
A brand vision is the statement that declares the ideas and passion behind a brand to guide all future strategies
Let’s break it down. Every brand building activity that you will do is rooted in your brand vision. Your logo, your slogan, your visuals, your marketing programs… all of these grow from your vision.
It’s what your business wants to be in the next 5, 10, 15 years. It’s what your business wants to accomplish.
It’s your business’s higher purpose, the golden plaque above your door that you walk through every day when you start work.
Quick tip: Your brand vision shouldn’t be about being the most profitable or successful; it should illustrate how you will make an impact on others through your business.
For example, if I were a shoe designer, I should focus my vision more around how my designs allow people to express themselves through fashion rather than focusing my vision on having the biggest market share in the footwear industry.
Now, there is no exact formula for creating a brand vision. There isn’t a character limit or fill-in-the-blank exercise for the perfect vision. It’s about what speaks to you and your customers.
Brand Vision Examples
Let’s go through a couple of examples of brand visions to give you a solid idea of what we’re talking about here.
Sustainable outdoor retailer Patagonia’s vision statement is…
“A love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and the help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet”
See how their brand vision isn’t about their clothes, their gear, or anything they’re actually selling?
Their vision goes a step beyond just minimizing their impact on the environment. Patagonia is actually working towards reversing that impact. This reflects in their different marketing programs that they’ve implemented over the years.
One of their largest programs is Patagonia Action Works, a platform that connects passionate individuals to grassroots organizations that are working on environmental issues in their community.
This has a very specific focus only on the environment, and the program pushes the business closer and closer towards Patagonia’s ultimate vision.
The world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer has a brand vision that is both inspiring and highly actionable. They say.
“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.”
Again, we see how their brand vision aims to make the world a better place. Along with creating the Caterpillar Foundation, which according to their website “creates programs that support education, environment and basic human needs”, we can also see a shift in CAT’s product development as well.
New products and innovations that have been introduced by the company are focused on having a lower environmental impact as well as improving the safety of their machine operators.
The business synonymous with ride-sharing also has a strong brand vision. Theirs is
“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.”
The last two sentences of their vision statement are extremely straightforward. It tells you exactly what Uber is working towards. Now, it’s their first sentence of the statement that’s a little bit more elusive.
‘Smarter transportation’ could be alluding to the continuing rapid growth of technology and how it will impact Uber’s operations.
For you and me, transportation that’s safer, cheaper, and more reliable? We’ll take that, who wouldn’t?! For their drivers, more job opportunities and higher incomes… well that’s great for any employee.
But smarter transportation… that’s something that’s intriguing to the reader. What do they mean? How will they use technology to get even better?
This part of their brand vision not only intrigues the customer, it also inspires their employees.
Particularly those on the developer side of the business.
Uber works to achieve their brand goals of being safer and more reliable through technology. That’s something that their team goes to work every morning to do.
Their brand vision is excellent because it gives purpose and process.
Okay, one more example. AirBnb’s brand vision is:
“Anyone can belong anywhere.”
Again, we can see yet another vision statement that is focused less on the actual platform, and more about the brand’s desire and drive to connect people from all over the world.
Building Your Brand’s Vision
See, the thing is, a business that’s only looking to sell some things today won’t necessarily be a business that’s around tomorrow. Markets change, and consumer preferences are always evolving.
Your brand must have a higher purpose to work towards to sustain itself. Otherwise, your brand will fall flat and be devoid of any life or character.
Your brand also needs to still be true to itself and its roots, so as not to be spread too thinly or become disorganized. You can use this template to create your own brand guidelines!
Before we get started on your own brand’s vision, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Why do you do what you do?
- What does your business do?
- How is it helping people?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- How are you planning on achieving your goals?
Remember, your brand’s vision is focused on the future, not today.
Let’s also lay some ground rules about the creation of your brand’s vision. While there’s not a specific structure or formula to follow, there are some must-haves to create a strong vision for your business.
- Be crystal clear.
You need to make sure that your brand’s vision is very, very clear. In just a sentence or two you’re telling a reader where your brand will be in the future.
Now is not the time to get caught up in technical jargon; you’re not writing your master’s thesis! You want your vision to be understood by everyone who comes across it, even your Great Aunt Edna.
- Make it attainable.
Make sure that your vision is attainable. Your vision is meant to excite, inspire, and encourage, but it still must be actionable.
Make your brand vision something that you can truly strive for and work towards.
- It’s about you.
It might seem obvious, but it’s worth writing down here! You want your brand vision to excite your target audience.
But, this is still about your business so it should be pertinent to… your business. Don’t paraphrase a competitor and stay within the scope of your brand. Which brings us to our next point.
- Align with core values.
If not, take note from your company’s culture and see where values lie. If your organization’s emphasis is on innovation or efficiency, don’t write a brand vision about your customer service.
- Challenge yourself.
A brand vision is something that you work towards, a statement that makes you push yourself and your company every single day.
- Be collective.
The brand vision shouldn’t be exclusive to the brand manager or the head honchos in your business. It’s a statement that needs to be shared with everybody on the team, because you want everyone in the business to be working towards the same goal!
A strong brand vision has the power to bring together people across every department. It serves as the common, collective goal during times of change, stagnation, challenges, and success.
Because your brand’s vision is about the future, you have to be open to change. We’re not saying to change your vision every week—or even every quarter (in fact, we’d strongly advise against it).
as time passes, innovations in your industry will be created, new concepts will be introduced, and consumer preferences will change.
You need to make sure that you’re aware when your brand vision is starting to lose its relevancy or its inspiration to you, your employees, and your customers.
The best way to start getting ideas and inspiration for your vision?
Just start spitballing ideas. In the early stages of building your brand, this is usually how it goes. Put every single idea, goal, and aspiration down on a piece of paper.
That’s when you can start weeding things out and narrowing them down. Just be sure to give careful consideration to every idea that pops in your mind. Sometimes it’s the crazy ones that end up being the beginnings of something remarkable.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to learn more, check out our Branding Mastery Course, where you will learn how to create a brand from the ground up.
We also have a selection of Blueprints about branding for targeted solutions, such as branding on social media, starting your brand, and how to develop your brand’s personality. You can see our entire course selection here.
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