June 3, 2022
By: Aakash Shewakaramani
Differentiating between a mission statement vs vision statement can be tricky. While they both are crucial to your business and have overlap in their meanings, they also have different uses for an organization.
The succinct way to sum up the mission statement vs vision statement would be this:
The disparity between a mission statement vs vision statement is quite broad, but they have nuances that affect how they’re written. If you’re aiming to write a mission and vision statement for your company, look no further!
This article covers the meaning and difference between the two, plus examples that will help you masterfully curate these statements and make an impact.
A mission statement is an indicator of how your company functions at the present time. It is a guiding value that everyone in your company adheres to and is the singular aim that drives your day today.
For example, Amazon’s mission statement is, “Serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.”
That pretty much sums up Amazon and aligns perfectly with its operations, doesn’t it? In doing so, Amazon truly captures the essence of its mission statement in its actions, especially in the following ways.
Amazon’s mission statement headlines the practices that the company does to stay competitive yet helpful to consumers.
A vision statement is a philosophy that your company embodies as a ‘grand dream’ of the future. It doesn’t come up in the day-to-day, but it plays a vital role in your company’s long-term decisions.
Xbox is a wonderful example of a brand with an impactful vision statement.
While being a subsidiary of Microsoft, Xbox’s goals and offerings differ vastly from those of Microsoft, because the two have different goals. When Phil Spencer took over Xbox in 2014, he gave it an identity and a plan of its own.
The vision he set for Xbox is, “Gaming without boundaries.” It is straightforward, broad, and represents a vision of allowing people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, and from wherever they want.
The statement also reflects Xbox’s actions and brand marketing strategies, such as:
Promoting accessibility and boundless gaming, Xbox has found success in adhering to this vision statement across two console generations. The statement plays a huge role in the company’s strategies for the foreseeable future.
When thinking about a mission statement vs vision statement, keep their purposes in mind. Being aware of the differences between the two will make it easier for you to create your statements.
Along with their purposes, there are a few key differences between a mission statement vs vision statement. These differences give each of these statements their unique identities.
Both a mission and a vision statement can change. Acquisitions, downsizing, and a change in leadership can completely change the direction of your organization. For example, in the 1990s, IBM veered into a new, service-based model after billions in losses.
But between the two, a mission statement is more likely to be the one to change, by the sheer virtue of being present-focused. A company’s CEO may decide that day-to-day operations and offerings need to change to better reach the company’s larger goals.
A prime example of a change in mission happened when Satya Nadella took over Microsoft. Nadella repositioned Microsoft and made it easier for other people to use its products and services. Under his leadership, Microsoft became more open to collaborative partnerships.
Microsoft's mission changed from the age-old “A PC in every home” to “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
A new leader rarely aims to repeat their predecessor’s way of doing things and often arrives with a novel idea for the company they’re spearheading. Whether they change just the mission or also alter its vision depends on how drastically they want to affect the company.
Companies use their mission statement to stay focused on their present undertakings. But a company’s future doesn’t have to be tied to one industry or product.
The prime examples of this are companies like Sony, Virgin Group, Tata Group, and more. They have undertakings in multiple industries and keep expanding to meet their visions. Take a look at Apple’s vision under Tim Cook, which shows just that:
In 2009, Tim Cook stated Apple’s vision statement as “To make great products, and that’s not changing.”
Since 2009, Apple has diversified into products and services such as music, subscription streaming, smart wearables, and possibly the automotive industry.
This goes to show that the company’s desire to make great products doesn’t end with computers and phones. Who knows, we might even get Apple smart-sneakers!
When thinking about a mission statement vs vision statement, think about how broad a particular statement is. Keep your vision broad and give it room for expansion, since a vision isn’t restricted to just one industry.
One common thing about both statements is that they don’t need to be written in one style, and the way you present them is wholly unique to your company.
Your organization’s voice determines the length and tone of your statements. You can make them as profound or wacky as you like, as long as they convey your brand identity and values.
These are a few examples of varying statements from successful brands that embraced different styles while staying true to their goals.
Disney’s mission statement is, “The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform, and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds, and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
The detailed statement notes down everything Disney does to become the world’s largest entertainment company, which makes total sense for a company with hands in every form of entertainment.
Patagonia’s vision statement encompasses the company’s intention to protect the planet through sustainability initiatives. It attributes its reason for existence to “using of all its resources to protect life on Earth.”
Patagonia’s vision statement has a deeply social angle to it. If your business, especially if it’s a nonprofit, is dedicated to a social cause or advocacy, it's important to come up with an end goal that solves a problem you care about.
Patagonia has grown to value the intimate relationship between its business and environmental protection. This firm has tied its destiny to that of the planet in order to be part of a larger plan.
Chipotle expanded upon its famous “Food with integrity” mission statement with an entire Values page that details everything it does and aims to achieve in the future. Chipotle uses these values for its day-to-day decisions. This includes the company’s mission to source ethically and its belief in how food can change the world for the better.
These examples show that there isn’t one way of writing your mission statement vs vision statement. They’re unique to every organization and can be presented in any format or style.
Learning the differences between a mission statement vs vision statement can be difficult, but these nuances lie in what they tell your audience. Every business has its own way of conveying its mission and vision.
If a mission statement is an engine that keeps your ship moving, your vision is the destination that you’re sailing to.