The vision statement is the North Star of your overall company strategy, it is where you want to be as a business in the future. A good vision statement acts as motivation for employees and provides guidance on long-term goal setting.
Wondering why it matters? According to a January 2022 survey by Gartner, 52% of surveyed employees said the pandemic made them question the purpose of their day-to-day job. What can you get from unmotivated employees? Well, probably wasted money and slower business growth. But that’s a story for another day.
Let’s dive into this article, where you’ll discover:
- Why Do You Need A Good Vision Statement?
- What Is A Vision Statement?
- Vision Vs. Mission Statement: What's The Difference?
- How To Write A Company Vision Statement Example
- Tips For Creating Your Vision Statement
- 30 Vision Statement Examples From Top Companies
- Vision Statement Template And Resources
- Turn Your Vision Into Reality With Cascade 🚀
Why Do You Need A Good Vision Statement?
Do you think a vision statement is just fluff with its only purpose to look good in the “About Us” section on the website?
Well, we beg to differ and so does Ryan Saundry, a General Manager in charge of Strategy & Value Creation at Asahi Beverages. Here’s why he believes a vision statement is crucial for business:
"If you look at many of the great examples of super successful companies over the last 10,15 or 20 years, there's one thing they have in common. And that’s a really simple, clear vision their business and people can understand and coalesce behind."
The reason why a good vision statement matters is that the people you are leading want to know the “why” behind your decision-making before they follow you.
If you are a disruptive business, your vision will have to be bigger and more badass than any other. And you need to figure it out to create engagement and followership from your stakeholders and team members.
On top of that, a vision statement plays an important role in the strategic planning process.
Vision statements have a directional role, meaning they guide the organization’s plans and strategies. In other words, a clear vision acts as your North Star that helps you set strategic initiatives and objectives while keeping the focus on the big picture. That’s why a vision statement should be a part of the company’s every strategic plan.
When you think about an organization's vision statement, it's not just about the business goals and how to achieve them (that's more like a mission statement). It's about looking at the bigger picture. Take Kellogg's vision statement, for example: "A good and just world where people are not just fed but fulfilled." They're not only talking about sales here or about being the #1 company in their industry. It's about how they want to make a positive impact on society and improve people's lives.
The bottom line is that people follow leaders with vision and customers are loyal to companies with good vision statements that deeply resonate with them. That’s why your company’s vision shouldn’t be just an afterthought. After all, a memorable and engaging vision statement engages your people emotionally, causing them to work around and through obstacles, and inspires change.
📽️ Must watch: We’re sure you’ve seen it already, BUT if you haven’t, Simon Sinek’s TED talk “How great leaders inspire action” is a great resource to understand the importance of your vision statement, and the “why” behind your organization.
What Is A Vision Statement?
In short, a vision statement describes the desired future state of a business within a 5-10 year timeframe and guides the direction of the business's efforts. It is essentially the future objectives of a business. The vision statement is also the first step in building a highly-effective business strategic plan, since it sets the foundation to understand the direction of your business in the long-term.
While this is more of a general definition, let’s dig a bit deeper into it by looking at the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement.
Vision Vs. Mission Statement: What's The Difference?
If you hear 10 different people talking about mission and vision, you will most likely hear 10 different definitions. Taking a look at some of the websites and social media accounts, it's clear that many people confuse one for another.
But here’s how Anita Stubenrauch, ex-Apple creative veteran, explains why you shouldn’t ignore the difference:
Here’s what’s at stake: if we mistake mission for vision, we just might accomplish what we set out to do — and then stop there.
In other words, mistaking the vision for a mission statement might just stop your organization from achieving its true growth potential.
Let’s settle this battle once and for all:
- A vision statement is a long-term, idealistic state of the FUTURE that doesn’t exist yet. It’s an inspiring, rallying cry that invites everyone who believes in it to contribute and become a part of it.
- A company's mission statement is how the company chooses to pursue its vision - like a roadmap. It is more specific and relates directly to the company’s products and services.
Let’s take a look at a few examples to illustrate the difference:
Vision statement example:
- HYBE’s vision: “To be the world’s top music-based entertainment lifestyle platform company.”
Mission statement example:
- Google’s mission statement: “Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
- Walt Disney’s mission: “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.”
So, let’s repeat the key difference. A vision statement is a definition of a company’s future, while a good mission statement represents a roadmap that tells what the company will do to achieve its vision.
How To Write A Company Vision Statement Example
Here at Cascade, we've come across a LOT of vision statements while working with thousands of teams of all shapes and sizes, helping them execute strategies. Some of these vision statements are good, some are bad, and most come somewhere in between.
And that’s why we outlined a step-by-step process that will help you craft an effective vision statement.
You can check a complete guide here, but here’s a short recap of each step:
Step 1 - The outcome
Start by being exceptionally clear about what it is your organization actually does. Be careful to remain outcome-focused rather than output-focused.
Step 2 - The twist
What’s your unique selling point? Make sure to include it in your vision statement.
Step 3 - The quantification
One of the common problems with a vision statement is too specific. If we return to the basic definition, your vision statement should be a long-term, idealistic state of the FUTURE that doesn’t exist yet. That said - don't be too specific or apply specific metrics at this stage.
You might want to refine your target audience or target market, but avoid adding financial projections or any numbers.
Step 4 - The human connection
One final trick you can apply to help make your vision even more memorable is to add a real-life aspect. This will allow people to conjure up a solid mental image to associate with your vision statement.
Below is a vision statement example we've created for a fictional bakery place using our vision statement formula!
Vision Statement Example
Our vision is to "produce and sell locally sourced cakes and pies that are so delicious and satisfying, that every customer who leaves our store does so with a smile."
Can you imagine yourself standing in the middle of the bakery surrounded by the smell of fresh pastry, and with a smile on your face? We certainly can! And that’s the whole point. Your vision should be imaginable and desirable, like the one above.
Tips For Creating Your Vision Statement
Here are a few things you should consider when you start writing down your company’s vision statement:
- Keep it short - max 2 sentences.
- It must be specific to your business and describe a unique outcome that only you can provide.
- Use the present tense.
- Keep it simple enough for people both inside and outside your organization to understand. No technical jargon, buzzwords, or metaphors.
- It should be ambitious enough to be exciting but not too ambitious that it seems unachievable. Here at Cascade, we recommend thinking 5 years into the future.
- Vision needs to align with the company’s core values that you want your people to exhibit as they perform their work.
Following these tips and best practices should give you a solid starting point for creating a vision statement.
👉🏻 Check out our step-by-step guide on how to write a vision statement.
💡Pro Tip: Writing your vision statement is an iterative process, so don't worry if you don't get it right on the first try. A helpful practice is to brainstorm with a diverse group, welcoming various perspectives and refining ideas until you capture the essence of your organization's aspirations.
30 Vision Statement Examples From Top Companies
There are many good vision statement examples that have become widely recognized because they have some pretty amazing companies behind them. You should keep in mind that these are just a starting point. There is much more to the creation process of these vision statements than meets the eye.
Let’s look at some popular company vision examples:
Microsoft is one of the most well-known technology companies in the world. Their vision is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.
This e-commerce giant’s vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Tesla’s vision is to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles. Their mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
This world’s largest furniture retailer’s vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.
Lego's vision emphasizes the importance of play in fostering creativity, imagination, and educational development among children and adults alike: “A global force for Learning-through-Play”.
Patagonia stands out among companies for consistently aligning its actions with its mission, values, and company culture around sustainability. Their mission statement is “We're in business to save our home planet.” However, they don’t have any official release on their vision statement.
If we asked you what TED’s vision is, you’d probably know or at least imagine it. That’s because TED has a vision statement that’s short and sweet: “Spread ideas”. Though it doesn’t follow the secret formula we’ve shared, we can say it’s definitely memorable.
LinkedIn’s vision statement is “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce,” and their mission statement is “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
There is no official release of Starbucks' vision statement, but here's one example of what it could look like: “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow."
For inspiration, we are also adding their official mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Disney's vision statement is “to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.”
Nike’s vision is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world” - and here’s the brilliance when they add the commentary below “*if you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
This multinational fast food chain’s vision statement is “to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience,” and its mission statement is “to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone.”
Coca-Cola’s vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. It makes sense right? Just think about Coca-Cola’s famous ads like “Open happiness” and you’ll instantly see how they’re aligned with their vision.
Netflix’s vision is “To entertain the world.” On their website they complement this vision with what we could say would be their “manifesto”:
Whatever your taste, and no matter where you live, we give you access to best-in-class TV series, documentaries, feature films and mobile games. Our members control what they want to watch, when they want it, in one simple subscription. We’re streaming in more than 30 languages and 190 countries, because great stories can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. We are the world’s biggest fans of entertainment, and we’re always looking to help you find your next favorite story.
🤔What’s a brand manifesto? A concise statement that captures the essence and values of a brand, aiming to create an emotional connection with the target audience and inspire loyalty. It communicates the brand's mission, personality, and desired impact on the world. Brand manifestos can take various forms, including written statements, videos, or visual representations.
American Express’ vision is to “Provide the world’s best customer experience every day.”
Zoom’s vision is “Video communications empowering people to accomplish more.” Yikes. It could definitely be more memorable and inspiring, right?
Warby Parker’s vision is to be one of the most impactful brands in the world by inspiring the next generations of entrepreneurs and consumers to transform the eyewear and eyecare industry through design and innovation.
Oxfam is a global organization with a vision of a world that is just and sustainable.
Their vision is “To be the world's most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.”
This nonprofit’s vision is “A world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives.”
Astellas’s vision is to be at the forefront of healthcare change to run innovative science into VALUE for patients.
This giant beauty company’s vision is “to be the most inclusive beauty leader and contribute to a society in which everyone can live safely, peacefully, and equally.”
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, embarks on a bold and awe-inspiring vision of “Exploring the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all.”
The legendary New Zealand national rugby team embodies the indomitable spirit of unity, excellence, and Maori culture. Their vision is: “Inspiring and Unifying through rugby”.
As a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry, Novartis’ vision is to be a trusted leader in changing the practice of medicine.
The British Broadcasting Corporation’s vision is to enrich people's lives with programs and services that inform, educate and entertain by being the most creative organization in the world.
Leading global food company, Danone, is driven by a powerful vision ignited by words from their founder, Antoine Riboud: "There is only one earth, we only live once." Guided by this ethos, Danone is committed to bringing health to our planet and generations of people.
This company is committed to creating a better world through health and wellness, and this is shown in their vision statement: “To be the leading partner in reimagining local healthcare and wellbeing for all.”
Toyota’s vision is written slightly differently from the others we’ve seen. It’s a little longer than we’d recommend, but it serves the purpose:
“Toyota will lead the future mobility society, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people. Through our commitment to quality, ceaseless innovation, and respect for the planet, we strive to exceed expectations and be rewarded with a smile. We will meet challenging goals by engaging the talent and passion of people who believe there is always a better way.”
This global automotive supplier’s vision is to accelerate profitable growth and enhance our technology offer to become a leader in sustainable mobility and smart life on board. Its mission is to create and deliver high-quality and innovative products which comply with legal constraints and customer quality requirements.
In this example above, the difference between vision and mission is obvious.
Vision Statement Template And Resources
Feeling inspired to create a good vision statement for your business? We have a collection of amazing resources that will help you create your own!
Need a bit more inspiration? Download our carefully curated collection of 100 world’s best vision statements sorted by various industries, including:
- Retail vision statement examples
- Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals vision statement examples
- Food & Beverages vision statement examples
- Automotive vision statement examples
- Vision statement examples for Financial Services
- Manufacturing vision statement examples
- Airlines, Aerospace & Defense vision statement examples
Want to start working on your own vision statement? Look no further and download our vision statement toolkit that includes all resources you need to create an inspiring vision statement. Inside you’ll also find a vision statement template and a special workbook we’re using with our customers to align their vision with company values and company strategic goals.
Need a step- by-step guide? Read our thorough article on how to write a vision statement with extra tips, best practices, and formulas.
Turn Your Vision Into Reality With Cascade 🚀
As Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, said:
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Every business needs an inspiring vision to spread ideas and make a difference in the world. However, even the greatest vision means nothing without execution.
Cascade is a global software company, consistently ranking as the world’s #1 strategy execution platform. At Cascade, we make visions happen by acting as the strategic brain of your organization, remediating the chaos of running your business so that you can move forward.
Do you want to learn how to bridge the gap between vision and execution? Sign up today for a free forever plan or book a guided 1:1 tour with one of our Cascade in-house strategy execution experts and get your team moving toward your vision.
What’s the difference between vision statement and purpose?
A vision statement and a purpose serve distinct but complementary roles in an organization:
- The vision statement outlines the desired future state or long-term aspirations of an organization, providing a clear and inspiring picture of what the organization aims to achieve.
- Purpose refers to the fundamental reason for an organization's existence beyond financial gain, representing its deeper meaning, societal impact, and core mission. It goes beyond profitability and focuses on making a positive difference in the world.