Brand purpose, vision, mission, values: What’s the difference?
Successful marketing is based on a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve. It sounds obvious, but it’s remarkable how many businesses try to sell a product or a service which they themselves remain uncertain about.
What your company is all about comes down to its brand purpose, its vision, its mission and its values. All of these inform and support one-another, but there is often confusion about what each really means. How do they differ from one another?
The terms can get confused, and what’s presented as brand purpose can sometimes be its mission. Likewise, values and purpose can sometimes be confused.
Let’s take a look at each in more detail and the unique role they play in informing your brand strategy.
Put simply, brand purpose is the reason the brand exists beyond the aim of making money. What inspired you to start the business, and how do you use that inspiration to connect on an emotional level with customers. In turn, this should help make your product more desirable.
A brand purpose should spell out how your product or service adds value to the lives of consumers, and broader society. It should differentiate your brand from its competitors and offer clarity and purpose to those who work within the company.
A vision is a vivid picture of what you want your business to achieve. It helps to create an inspiring picture of what you want your business to look like. It should act as a kind of compass, keeping you focused on where you’re going. It should help prevent you from getting distracted, heading off down blind-alleys, and developing in directions which are contrary to your brand purpose. It helps you to remain focused on the ultimate destination.
If the brand purpose is a starting point and a framework, then the vision is the imagined ultimate destination. This vision should grow from the brand purpose.
If your brand purpose answers why you’re in business, the mission explains how you will reflect that purpose in practical terms. It’s more tactical than brand purpose and is often focused on marketing as it can be more tangible and easier to understand.
If, for instance, your brand purpose was to make it easier to buy ethically made clothing, then your mission would describe how you intend to do that. This might include sourcing a range of ethically produced clothes, working hard to make them affordable and keeping up with changing trends and fashions.
Defining a clear mission for your brand will help you to identify your target audience.
Brand values are at the heart of everything you do. They are a set of guiding principles that shape every aspect of your business. Your values will be placed at the centre of your business, and from them you will develop your brand message and identity. They should be kept in mind when you make decisions, which will in turn impact on how customers interact with you. They are what guide your business as it navigates its way through a commercial setting.
Your actions and your values should coalesce. If your business fails to live up to its stated values then not only can it undermine the basis of your brand strategy, it can ultimately have a negative impact on your business performance.
Business values matter more than ever to consumers.
How they work together
It should be clear that brand purpose, values, vision and mission all work together to create, inform and sustain your brand strategy. They shouldn’t be taken in isolation, as each needs the other if they’re to play their part in the collective whole.
Whether you begin by thinking about your values, your vision or your purpose is entirely down to you. It may be helpful to work on them all at the same time.
What inspires you?
Why are you starting a business? What do you hope to accomplish? This should be about more than just the bottom line. Financial recompense is of course important, and without it there is no business, but it’s easier to sustain a business with a strong sense of purpose through difficult times than it is one that only cares about making money.
It’s also much easier to market a business that has a strong sense of purpose. There’s more to go on, and there’s likely to be much more emotional resonance in your message.
Why should potential customers invest in your brand?
When it comes to what they buy, few people are motivated purely by price. The service they will receive, the quality of the product and how the values of the company fit in with their own all play a part.
A coherent story
Your brand purpose, vision, mission and values should all tell a coherent story about your business. It’s this story that will inform your brand strategy, and how you market your business. Having a strong sense of brand purpose, values and mission doesn’t mean that they can’t evolve and change over time. What’s important, however, is to use these components to steer your business forward.
The Dawn Creative approach
At Dawn Creative we take time to understand your business in detail. That includes ensuring we have a clear understanding of your brand purpose, vision, mission and values. From this, we will then develop creative, brand and digital comms that really engage your target audience.
Knowing why your business exists, who you are and what you stand for and how you do things differently are all critical to your success.
Don’t rest on your laurels, get in touch and find out how we can help tell your story.