A brand mission statement defines your business, your objectives, and your approach to these objectives. It answers the question “How will we achieve our vision?”
What’s the Difference Between a Brand Mission and Brand Vision?
Equally as important as your brand’s vision statement is your brand’s mission statement. While your vision is focused on the future, what your business wants to ultimately become, your brand’s mission statement is focused on today.
We’re going to break down the concept of what makes a strong, useful brand mission statement with some concrete examples, but before we do so…
Let’s quickly break down the difference between the two:
Brand vision statement – A statement that declares the ideas and passion behind a brand to guide all future strategies.
Quick tip? A 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.
Brand mission statement – A statement that defines your business, your objectives, and your approach to these objectives. It answers the question “How will we achieve our vision?”
So, essentially, your mission follows the vision. Your brand’s vision is about the future, your brand’s mission is about today. If you want a deeper look into brand vision statements, take a look at our article here.
Why are the Brand Mission and Brand Vision statements Important?
It’s not just great for your business to have a higher purpose than the bottom line… It’s practically a necessity.
In today’s world, where consumers are bombarded with stuff, and a plethora of stuff, brands that actively work to make a positive impact on the world are the ones that capture attention and ultimately, sales.
Daniel Pink, author of the New York Times bestseller A Whole New Mind said it best:
“The paradox of prosperity is that while living standards have risen steadily decade after decade, personal, family and life satisfaction haven’t budged. That’s why more people – liberated by prosperity but not fulfilled by it – are resolving the paradox by searching for meaning.”
This is why the biggest brands in the world, the ones that we hear about, the ones we all aspire to be like, the biggest business leaders in the world, have invested so much into fostering this deeper connection with their target audience.
This is where your brand mission statement comes in. After you have decided your brand’s higher purpose, you need to figure out how to exactly execute it through your marketing strategies.
Because, after all, if you can’t follow through with your brand’s promises, you’re not going to exactly increase trust amongst the masses.
What are you doing now to achieve your goals for tomorrow? A strong brand mission will drive your business forward. A weak or non-existent mission can drive a business apart.
Miscommunications galore and lack of direction? Hardly something you want to have in a business!
So now that we’ve cleared the air on what exactly a brand mission statement is, it’s time to head into…
Real-Life Brand Mission Statements
Let’s start off with Patagonia. Patagonia is an outdoor retailer that sells gear for climbing, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, fly fishing, and trail running.
Forbes estimates that Patagonia’s owner, Yvon Chouinard, has a net worth of about $1 billion, so it’s pretty safe to assume that they’re doing something right.
Patagonia’s mission statement is to
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
So, when compared to their vision statement:
“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.”
We can see exactly how Patagonia intends to fulfill their brand’s vision.
By looking at their mission statement, both executives and coordinators are able to develop the internal business strategies that will accomplish their goals.
They are going to focus on building the best products for outdoor activity to satisfy consumer demand, but while doing so they will actively minimize their negative impact on the environment and use their business to solve external issues.
Next up, we have Caterpillar Inc. Caterpillar Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.
In 2018, they were ranked as number 65 on the Fortune 500 list, where companies are ranked by their total revenues. Simply put, CAT is another brand that is extremely successful in its endeavors.
Perhaps when thinking about manufacturing equipment, you may wonder how exactly one can feel inspired by a higher purpose. But the fact is, even B2B brands need to differentiate themselves with a unique and powerful brand vision and mission to remain successful.
Even at a purchasing manager level, B2B brands are still trying to sell to other human beings. Perhaps a purposeful brand has even more importance here than the B2C market, as these highly complex and technical purchase decisions are going to have a multitude of factors that influence the final decision.
So now, let’s take a peek at their brand vision and see how they follow up with their brand’s mission statement.
CAT’s brand admirable vision statement is:
“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.”
Woof. That’s a monumental vision. But how are they going to do that? Our question is answered with their mission statement:
“To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet.”
Caterpillar wants to see the world’s population have their basic needs met, and they’re going to do their part by helping communities develop, create jobs, and have greater access to energy.
This gives direction to their Product Development and Customer Programs teams, their engineers, operations, and everyone in between.
Now let’s take a look at Uber.
An expected $120 billion valuation for the company, Uber operates in over 400 cities worldwide. Quite a monumental jump from its inception just 10 years ago!
Again, let’s peep at their brand mission statement and see how it compares to their vision:
“Uber’s mission is to bring transportation – for everyone, everywhere.”
Seems really simple and short, but Uber’s mission does actually provide a great deal of direction for their strategy. Their message tells us that their number one objective at the moment is expansion, to bring transportation for everyone, everywhere.
Could they be focusing on developing public transit systems? Quite possibly.
Could they be trying to get into more countries and more cities? Probably!
If Uber can get transportation for everyone, everywhere, they’re well on their way to achieving their 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.”
Okay, let’s do one more example.
AirBnb is the world’s biggest community for travellers and accommodation hosts.
Hardly the first of its kind, AirBnb has shot up past its competitors to become the #2 website for travel and accommodation hotels in the world. Forbes estimates that the brand is worth at least $38 billion, another crazy successful brand that’s worth looking at.
AirBnb’s mission is
“To create a world where people can belong through healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive, and sustainable.”
This is how the brand achieves their higher purpose (or vision statement),
“Anyone Can Belong Anywhere.”
Beyond simply being a travel lodging platform, AirBnb uses their brand to promote inclusivity and diversity for human beings to connect and belong no matter where they travel to.
Creating Your Own Brand Mission
You can see how the mission statement follows the vision, and how every single brand has their own unique style of their brand mission statements.
The most important thing your mission must convey is your business’s purpose.
Remember! Your brand’s mission statement outlines what your brand is doing to achieve your vision. Making your vision and mission statements as strong as possible will give you the foundations that your business needs to make your brand grow sustainably and intelligently.
It isn’t just about the bottom line anymore. Brands are expected to maintain Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR.
In our digital age, where we’re constantly bombarded with advertisements that just scream “Buy me! Buy me!” the brands that are actively working to make the world a better place will stand out online.
We all want to feel good about our purchases, and whatever “feeling good” means to your target audience is where you’ll find the perfect place for your brand to be. Your higher purpose must resonate with your core buyers in order to hold any weight.
After creating your brand’s vision, the next step is to create your brand’s mission.
While there is no perfect formula for creating a brand mission statement, let’s outline a few essentials you need to make a strong one:
1. Make sure you can walk the walk.
While your vision is all about your future endeavors and where your business wants to be in the next 5, 10, or 15 years, your mission needs to be achievable on a day-to-day basis.
Wishful thinking means nothing if you can’t follow through! Empty claims are unethical and in worst cases illegal, but they also decrease trust among consumers. Once word gets out about false claims, it’ll spread like wildfire… It’s very difficult to rebuild a reputation and gain that trust back.
2. Know your strengths.
Following the advice from Step 1, knowing your business’s strengths is the key to creating a strong foundation for your brand’s mission.
Do you specialize in innovation through your exceptional R&D team? Are you going to differentiate through your customer service because of your customer loyalty programs that you’ve implemented? Your mission is where you can highlight these points!
3. Remember your audience!
Your mission statement isn’t just to inspire your customers to believe in you and connect with you. It’s essential for defining what your company does for your employees and everyone else affected by your operations.
You want your team to unite under one brand mission. Internal brand building is just as important as external brand building. If your team can wholeheartedly believe in the end-goal, you’ll have a strong and inspired group and have great ideas for your marketing strategies.
Strong brands do good for their employees just as much as they do for their customers and the environment. Use your mission to establish your company culture.
4. Don’t just string jargon together.
Please, please don’t just slap together some industry buzzwords just to have a mission statement for the sake of it! An empty mission statement is worse than no mission statement at all.
Your mission is here to provide direction for your business on a daily basis. Use your mission statement to distinguish your business’s purpose from the rest for your customers, and to guide your business strategies for your team.
5. Test, refine, polish, repeat.
Mission statements need to communicate your brand’s purpose to many different audiences: the customers, the owners, the employees, the investors…
The perfect brand mission statement is not going to come instantaneously, you will probably write and present several drafts until you’ve refined your statement.
Feel free to segment your mission with bullet points to emphasize the points that matter to each stakeholder.
Investors, for example, are going to prioritize how you’re making money, and where it’s coming from, and why they should choose to invest into your brand rather than someone else.
Customers probably don’t particularly care how profitable you are, but rather how your brand adds value to their lives. Take the time to contemplate all of your brand’s audience and test your statements before landing on your final edition.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how to build a profitable, sustainable brand that converts, connects, and lasts, check out Adversent’s Branding Mastery Course, where you can learn how to create a brand from the ground up.
Adversent is a digital marketing education company that provides business owners and budding entrepreneurs a place to learn the real methods of how to build a successful business online.
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