- A vision statement defines what you want your company to achieve in the long term
- Vision statements can help you align your team toward a greater purpose and give clients a meaningful reason to support your brand
- The best vision statements are concise, memorable, and broad enough for your company to evolve
Profit-driven brands are no longer the most dominant businesses around. In a world where 63% of consumers prefer to buy from purpose-driven companies that align with their beliefs, balancing profit with a greater purpose can be a win-win for you and the customers you serve.
A clear vision statement can help you communicate to customers how your brand will take action on social issues. As a result, you can motivate your team to advocate for positive change while also building brand loyalty among your clients.
But what exactly is a vision statement? Here’s everything you need to know to craft a compelling statement and apply your company’s vision for a greater purpose. Plus, get inspired by four vision statement examples to help you in the writing process.
What is a vision statement?
A vision statement is an aspirational phrase or sentence that summarizes what your business would like to accomplish in the long run. Generally, a vision statement aligns with your company’s long-term goals, a decade or more into the future.
Vision statements differ from both purpose and mission statements. Unlike your business purpose—which describes “why” you exist—or your company’s mission statement—which explains “how” you’re working toward your vision—a vision statement describes “what” you want to achieve.
Mission statements are grounded in the present reality, like the non-profit organization TED‘s call to “spread ideas.” Vision statements, however, project a goal into the distant future. Take Southwest Airlines vision statement: “To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.”
Why vision statements matter
Vision statements are a crucial part of building your company culture and improving decision-making across your team. When everyone is aligned on your business vision, they can help your company unlock its full potential and achieve long-term goals with fewer detours.
Even if you don’t have any employees, vision statements act as a source of motivation. As of 2020, only 18% of U.S. employees surveyed said work gives them the amount of purpose that they want. An aspirational statement can demonstrate to employees how their tasks provide value beyond the bottom line. Moreover, when everyone on your small business team knows what they’re aiming for, the same motivation will show up in your customer experience. Your products or services, marketing efforts, and customer support can all reflect your desire to help people.
Lastly, as a part of your broader business plan, a vision statement is also a great way to get internal stakeholders like shareholders and investors to buy into your business.
How to use your company vision statement
A company vision statement is a useful tool to implement in the strategic planning process. When you’re writing a business plan or brainstorming your next marketing campaign, you can refer back to your vision statement to determine which ideas will bring you closer to your ideal outcome.
You can also use your vision statement as a marketing tool. For instance, you can share it on social media or highlight it on your website to give potential clients a reason to support and connect with your brand.
How to develop an effective vision statement
You don’t need to be an experienced marketer to write a good vision statement. With these three tips, you can craft a vision statement that sets you apart from the competition.
1. Ask the right questions
To come up with a vision that makes sense for your brand, consider any long-term initiatives the business already has in place, as well as the current state of your business. Ask yourself (if you’re the business owner) or your leadership questions such as:
- How is the business currently impacting people’s lives?
- What impact do you want to have in the future on your community, country, or world?
- What vision aligns with my core values and long-term business strategy?
2. Keep your statement concise
Vision statements are usually a short phrase or one sentence long—two at the most. Use strong verbs that demonstrate action and cut down on unnecessary words. You can always expand on your vision statement on a web page or a blog post if you want to explain your thought process to stakeholders.
3. Make your statement memorable
Great vision statements should be distinct, not generic. To make your statement memorable, make sure it closely aligns with your brand personality, values, and other aspects of your brand. Use your brand tone or style to differentiate it from your competitors.
While you should represent your unique vision, you shouldn’t mention specific products or services. Vision statements are future-oriented, so make it broad enough that your business has room to evolve.
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4 vision statement examples
Real-life examples can give you the inspiration you need to write your own vision statement. Here are four high-quality examples of vision statements from successful brands. Find out what they did right so you can try it for yourself.
“To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
IKEA is known as a ready-to-assemble furniture company, but its vision statement goes well beyond what its product. This ambitious goal demonstrates how IKEA aims to make comfort and quality accessible to all. Note that this statement matches IKEA’s values, which include “cost-consciousness” and “caring for people and planet.”
“Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, connects employees across the world. But beyond the day-to-day, the company aims a lot higher. In addition to its ambitious scale, this vision statement is also highly distinct from other major social media platforms. Without specifying products or services, LinkedIn illustrates how a vision statement can set your business apart.
3. Alzheimer’s Association
“A world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit, but its vision statement reflects qualities that every business vision should strive for. For example, eliminating Alzheimer’s is an aspirational goal unlikely to be achieved in the near future. However, aiming high can inspire employees and keep them moving in the right direction—toward research, quality health care, and more permanent solutions for patients with Alzheimer’s.
4. General Motors
“A world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”
General Motors is a car company, but you’ll notice that its vision statement doesn’t focus on the obvious benefits of cars. Instead of promoting how its quality manufacturing can help customers travel or go to work, GM envisions a world where its technology eliminates the social and environmental impacts of vehicles. This goal is hard to achieve, but it’s inspiring and aligned with GM’s industry and brand.
Set your brand apart with a high-quality vision statement
To summarize, ask yourself: What is a vision statement? It’s a brief statement that describes what your business wants to achieve in the long term. It functions as a motivator for your employees, a destination for your business plan or roadmap, and a way for customers to connect with your brand.
While there isn’t one template for small business owners to follow when writing a vision statement, it helps to keep them memorable, brand-specific, and one sentence long. Read through vision statement examples from well-known brands to understand what your vision should look like.
If you want to use your vision statement to promote your business once it’s finalized, take a look at our marketing plan example to create a promotional strategy that makes the most of your vision.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.