Telling Your Story: How to Write a Compelling Mission and Vision Statement

By Amy Blackburn, writer
Dec 10, 2015
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

At first glance, writing compelling mission and vision statements may seem easy.

In reality, even one poor statement could break your chances of keeping new talent and cause confusion in the workplace. Developing powerful statements is essential for a company’s successful present and future.

These statements are more than just marketing material. They provide the direction and architecture for the way your organization operates and behaves publicly and privately.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind when putting these types of statements together:

Related Article: Beyond the Mission Statement: Building Your Brand With Effective Storytelling

Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement

To start, it’s crucial to understand the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement. They may sound similar, but they are two entirely separate concepts. Confused? That’s ok. It can be confusing.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is directed towards the employees of its company as well as the outside community and portrays what your company does and how it’s done. It also addresses why your company exists, focusing on the here and now.
An appealing mission statement is often what distinguishes your company from the next, helping you stand out among others in your industry and, in turn, gaining more interest from potential clients.

Vision Statement

The vision statement is different from a mission statement in that it is directed toward the leaders and employees of your company. It focuses more on long-term business goals and allows team members to develop and implement an effective strategy in order to help the organization meet those goals.

Studies have shown that most employees lack a clear understanding of the goals and even the purpose of the company for which they work. An effective vision statement helps ensure all employees are on the same page and that everyone comprehends the overall goals and ways in which the company plans to achieve them.

There is no specified length for a mission or vision statement. Many people are taught that the recommended length is one sentence, short and sweet, but that is often not the case. This is especially true for those who take a more creative approach by adding a touch of company culture. 

Know Your Company Culture

Company culture demonstrates the personality of the workplace. Adding it to your mission statement and vision statement helps your company gain recognition and appear more appealing than your competitors, ultimately increasing business. It also helps employees better understand the goals and aspirations you set for your company.

Incorporate Company Culture Into Your Statements

Incorporating your company culture into your mission and vision statements is essential when creating compelling company statements. 

  • Get Inspired - sometimes it’s best to get a visual idea of how to approach a task. Exploring mission statement examples can help you gain better insight on how to form one of your own. Make sure to make your mission statement your own—don’t just rephrase a clever statement from another company.
  • Choose a Tone - the tone of your mission and vision statements should reflect your company culture. Is it relaxed and casual or more formal?
  • Identify the Culture in Your Mission Statement - some companies actually state their company cultures within the mission statements themselves. Take American Express, for example:

At American Express®, we have a mission to be the world's most respected service brand. To do this, we have established a culture that supports our team members, so they can provide exceptional service to our customers.

These statements show how companies value their employees, emulating the type of work environment potential employees can expect. In turn, this method reflects how companies also value the satisfaction of their customers. 

  • Expand Your Impact - your mission statement should not only be about your company specifically, but about how your company influences or helps the community in some way. Demonstrating your concern about the well-being of the community can also indicate how you value the health and protection of your employees and customers.
  • Take Action and Motivate - the more intriguing your mission and vision statements are, the more effective they are for the success of your business. By using action verbs which are often utilized when creating resumes (e.g., engage, promote, launch), you are enhancing your appeal. It also helps motivate your employees, because they’ll have a clearer vision of how you see the company progressing and the ways in which that progression will take place. 
  • Modify Your Vision Statement - keep in mind that as your company expands, so will your vision for its future; therefore, it’s important to modify your vision statement to fit with your long-term goals as they evolve in order to keep your employees up to date and in the know.

Related Article: Leadership of Champions: How to Actively Create Your Company Culture

Effective mission and vision statements always include company culture in order to communicate the goals and aspirations of the organization. Take the time to do them well, and the positive response you get from your team and the pleasant reception you receive from the surrounding community may truly surprise you. 

Amy Blackburn is a writer for Stoner Bunting Gift Cards, a nationwide leader in employee recognition gift card programs based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With 10 years of experience in sales and marketing, Amy joined Stoner Bunting as an Account Executive. Beginning her career in the design field with a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved into the world of retail and e-commerce, having worked with retailers such as Target, Bass Pro Shops and Amazon. Amy stresses the importance of relationships with clients as the key to continued success.
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