The quick guide to really understanding your brand mission and brand vision
Updated: May 17, 2022
Sustainable branding is an important foundational piece of any business, similar to how the ocean is the foundation of all life on the planet.
You might see the blue waters and crashing waves on the surface, but underneath, the ocean supports a diverse ecosystem that provides the planet with vital elements needed to survive. Similarly, behind the face of a successful purpose-driven outdoor business is solid branding that captures the life force needed to stand out from the crowd, connect with its audience, and positively impact the world.
Everything we, as humans, rely on to survive leads back to the ocean, just like every decision you we make in your business leads back to your branding. Both branding and the ocean contain elements that individually may seem minor or insignificant, but all work together to shape the planet – or rather, your brand identity.
Your Brand’s Foundational Compass
An SDL global survey showed that 60% of millennial consumers expect consistent branding across different platforms. To achieve brand consistency across the board, you need to make sure your branding is well-defined, cohesive, and memorable.
Unfortunately, most of the internally facing brand elements required to achieve consistency are undervalued, overlooked, and quickly put together last minute by business owners. But these internal elements of your brand are so important for the success of your overall branding and therefore, your outdoor business.
As brand designers, we can't stress enough how fundamental branding is for the success of your outdoor business. Some of the core internal elements of your brand include mission, vision, values, and purpose, which all work together to build and establish a strong foundation for your brand. These four branding elements orient you and your brand toward the direction you want your brand to go – like a compass.
Your brand’s foundational compass is the core of everything within your business and should serve as a guide for where you want to take your brand. Like the red “X” on a pirate’s treasure map, your brand's foundational compass guides you towards your booty or that larger vision of the future you want your brand to (eventually) achieve.
When faced with a business decision, having well-thought-out brand foundational pieces like your vision and mission can be game-changing. Not only can you hold up every decision you make to your brand’s foundational compass and know immediately if you should say yes or no, but it will guide you down the path to clarity and confidence in your outdoor business.
If your brand foundation is unclear or weak, you won't know which direction you're taking your business or what you need to do to get there, like a ship sailing in the fog. Without a compass or brand foundations, you'll wander the seas aimlessly without knowing where you're going. That's how mutiny happens!
It's essential to build a rock-solid brand foundation before you ever set sail –and that means deep diving into your brand purpose, mission, vision, and values. We’ve expanded on brand purpose in What is Brand Purpose? and Brand Purpose For Sustainable Businesses, but after many brand strategy sessions with our clients, we started noticing confusion around the difference between your brand vision and brand mission.
So today, we want to explain two overlooked yet, critical elements that can turn the tide of your purpose-driven business: your brand mission and vision statements. To clarify this concept, we're explaining what brand vision and brand mission are, how they work separately, and most importantly, how they work together to build a consistent brand.
What Is Your Brand Vision?
Your brand vision statement is the big WHAT behind your brand. It’s the big hairy, scary, audacious goal that you're not sure if you can reach, but you're going to try your best, and you're pumped to give it a go.
Think of what you want to achieve with your outdoor business down the road – think BIG and BOLD. Does it make you super stoked? Do you feel jazzed or inspired to just go for it? That’s when you know your brand vision is on point. Here are some questions to help you get there:
WHAT do you want to accomplish or achieve? WHAT have you accomplished?
WHAT do you want your brand to become in 5 years? 10 years?
WHAT change have you made in the world?
WHAT difference have you made?
WHAT are the ultimate goals for your outdoor business?
In WHAT way are you changing your customer's life?
Your brand vision should clarify what you plan to do to reach this long-term aspiration or goal in your business and is meant to be straightforward, measurable, and, most importantly, inspirational to everyone on your team. On the way to achieving this goal, you should be able to track your progress and easily communicate it to your audience.
For example, Tortuga Creative Studio's Brand Vision is:
To be the preferred branding studio for outdoor businesses in Canada while contributing to a world that is led by purpose-driven brands.
Notice how we focus on our long-term goal of being the preferred branding studio in Canada. We also want to contribute our skills to change the dynamic so that purpose-driven brands lead the market.
No, we're not sure if we will be the go-to branding studio throughout all of Canada, nor are we sure purpose-driven businesses will lead the world market. But through our branding work and marketing outreach, we are inspired to try our best to achieve this goal.
What Is Your Brand Mission?
Your brand mission statement is all about HOW you're going to get to your final destination on a day-to-day basis. Your brand’s mission should serve as inspiration and clarity for the daily, weekly, and monthly decisions you make in your business.
It helps to get crystal clear on the day-to-day actions you can take on the path to achieving the brand vision you've just set. Here are a few questions to help you out:
HOW do you plan to achieve your brand's vision?
HOW are you going to get there? What are the practical steps you need to take?
HOW will your brand look in 1-3 years? What direction do you want it to go?
A brand mission statement should be inspirational for you and your team, but it's actually more of a fins in the water approach. Use your brand mission for day-to-day decisions.
For example, when a decision comes up that you’re unsure about, hold up your brand mission and ask yourself, does decision A or decision B align with my brand’s mission? If the decision aligns and takes you one step closer to your brand’s vision, fantastic! If the decision doesn’t align, toss it overboard!
Here are some other questions you can ask yourself to clarify your brand mission:
What are you going to do today to accomplish this goal?
What are the day-to-day actions you need to take to achieve your vision for the future?
To give you some inspiration, here is Tortuga Creative Studio's Brand Mission:
We are committed to using branding to help our clients grow their outdoor businesses and increase the positive impact they have on the planet.
Our day-to-day work involves helping outdoor businesses up-level their branding through strategic and creative brand identity design services. Using sustainable branding, we actively help purpose-driven businesses stand out from the crowd and attract more people, thus increasing their positive impact on the planet. We have a clear direction of how we are trying to achieve our brand vision and have outlined actions we can take today to get there.
Why Your Brand Vision & Brand Mission Matter
Your brand mission and vision are essential elements of a solid branding strategy and serve a unique and clear purpose for your business.
After working with Tortuga Creative Studio to conceptualize, build, and design their brand, our clients have found a ‘clearer sense of direction’ and an ‘increase in confidence on where they’re taking their business.’ It is huge for business owners to find clarity in the path they are sailing on.
A rock-solid brand foundation provides that clarity and a sense of direction for your brand so you can steer your ship confidently towards your final destination. As a captain, you always need to know where you're going in the long term (brand vision) and the stops along the way to get there (brand mission).
Don’t forget the importance of measuring every decision you make in your business. Does it serve your brand's vision? Does it serve your brand's mission? If it does, sail on. If it doesn't, toss it overboard. Use your branding elements as your compass. They will always point you in the right direction!
Sailing Forward With Your Brand Foundation
By now, you can see why deep-diving below the surface of your business and putting the time into understanding who you are and where you’re going as a brand is worth the effort. By clarifying your brand vision and mission, you are turning the tide of your outdoor business with branding foundations that will direct your actions and help you achieve your goals.
If you want to learn more about how branding is the rock-solid foundation of your business –like a coral reef is the foundation of a flourishing reef ecosystem - -you can read all about it in this post.
If you're looking for a quick compass that clarifies the difference between your brand vision and brand mission, we have a FREE infographic for you! Download your copy and save it to your branding folder so you can refer to it if you ever need a refresh on those essential branding elements.