A vision statement adds strength to your thought leadership PR strategy. It's gazing into the future, envisioning how your company will look in 5 to 10 years. It allows others to be able to appreciate what you're working towards, and support it. Your employees now have a roadmap for the future.
Would you like to make your employees into loyal brand ambassadors who represent you with passion and bravado? How about a clear strategy that guides your company through the years to come? A vision statement accomplishes this, and much more. Let’s look at how it achieves this.
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement clearly communicates in a few sentences or a short paragraph your company's goals. It lays out a clear set of values that guide your company's dealings. Your vision statement is meant to resonate with your employees and unite your team to work for a common purpose.
A vision statement should also be animated with emotion and passion. A boring list of generic goals won't arouse people to action -- it will most likely be forgotten 5 minutes after reading it (if that). Give people a reason to rally behind you.
So what’s the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement? A lot, actually. Mission statements are based in the present, and explain why the company exists and its functionality. Vision statements, on the other hand, are based in the future, and give direction and purpose to your employees rather than your customers.
In a nutshell, a mission statement answers the question, “What does my company do?” and a vision statement answers the question, “Where do I see my company going?”
Why Does Your Vision Statement Matter?
A strong vision statement can make the difference between employees just working for a paycheck, and truly being invested in your company's success. One study showed that the engagement levels for those who viewed their company's vision statement as meaningful were 18% higher than average. This means that they are more likely to be brand ambassadors, actively promoting your company to people they meet.
It also benefits you personally. Your vision statement forces you to know your ambitions. It gives you a drive and focus to work towards something specific.
So how is it done? Let’s look at a simple strategy for crafting a powerful vision statement that keeps your company on track.
How to Write a Vision Statement That Supports Thought Leadership PR Strategy
1. Get Others Involved
A vision statement should accurately represent the views of the your company's key people. You can do this as a group exercise, or in one-on-one interviews. The goal should be to get an idea for what values people want your company to reflect, and what they want to avoid.
Honest feedback will go a long way in helping your vision statement take shape. This kind of back-and-forth will help employees to feel represented in the final draft of the vision statement.
2. Display It Proudly
Don’t allow your vision statement to sit on a wall, gathering dust. Your vision statement should play an active and integral part in your company.
Your vision statement is the strategic plan for your company, and should occupy a place that reflects that importance. That means it should be proudly displayed on your website and throughout your workspace. It keeps your team’s motivation high.
3. Look to the Future
Use your imagination, and envision what you want your company to be 5 to 10 years down the road. This should be something that constantly keeps you moving forward.
Make this future vision as broad as possible. For example, imagine if your vision statement includes “open a new location.” What happens in 5 years when you’ve accomplished that? Do you throw your vision statement out the window? Do you set another goal?
You should never be able to outlive your vision statement. Instead, set goals that will constantly guide your company forward, and shape how you do business.
4. Use the Present Tense
This is not about what you “will” do -- this is about what you’re doing now that will move your company forward. Present tense gives the subtle assurance that these values are already at the core of your company and motivate everything you do.
5. Make It Concise
Ideas and ambitions for your company have a way of blowing out of proportion -- this is where you might need to rein it in, and whittle it down. Remember, the strength of a vision statement is in its precision and brevity. This makes it easy to remember, but also impactful.
The longest it should be is a short paragraph, but ideally it should be summed up in a couple of sentences.
6. Make It Specific
Generic statements produce mediocre results. To really inspire your employees, you need to dig deep into the specifics of your company’s goals.
For example, consider this statement:
We strive to deliver an exceptional experience
It's a nice sentiment, but it’s too “meh” for a vision statement. It could apply to anything -- you could be talking about a bank, a nail salon, or even the hot dog vendor outside the office. Instead, think of ways that your experience differs from others in your industry, and capitalize on that.
Instead, consider something like:
We aim to make every customer experience a "wow" moment, and deliver stress-free business solutions.
What Do Great Vision Statements Look Like?
Let’s see motivational vision statements in action.
We love this one from InVision App. Underits core values are six icons, each revealing a value that makes up the company’s culture. When you hover your mouse over each one, you will see different components that comprise the vision statement -- short and sweet, but powerful.
Microsoft is a technology giant, but its vision statement is a prime example of the power of short and sweet. Its statement of empowerment is strong, and inspires a feeling of victory.
Intuit uses some creative and motivational language in its vision. You cannot help but love statements like, “Think beyond what is accepted as possible,” and “Never stop short of awesome.”
Key Points to Remember...
- Involve multiple members of your team in the creation of your vision statement.
- Make it concise and as specific as possible.
- Display it proudly on your website and in your office.
- Your vision statement is important, because it can shape how others view your brand, and motivate employees to be more involved in your success.
No matter how big or small your company is, the right vision statement can shape it for years to come. It is essential to your thought leadership strategy, and can bring you to the front of the pack. Truly, these little words can have a giant impact.
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