So you’ve decided to take the plunge and start your own business. Congratulations! You’ve joined a unique club of taste-makers, industry disruptors, and risk-takers.
But before you get hung up on brand colors or your social media strategy, you need to take a step back and make sure you have a solid brand strategy in place. Most notably, your company will need vision, mission and value statements that will form the why, what, and how of your organization, and drive decisions — big and small — going forward.
Give Your Brand a Soul: Why Vision, Mission and Values Matter
Vision, mission and value (VMV) statements help brands build meaningful connections with their public. It creates an exceptional customer and employee experience that gives your business the stepping stones to increase its profitability while building a strong base of brand promoters.
If you nail these three things down early on, your company stands a greater chance of success. You’ll be able to make and execute strategic decisions without having to think twice if they are aligned with your future goals.
A strong vision will guide your decisions
When starting a business, there seems to be a never-ending list of things you need to do and consider. If not managed correctly, you might quickly find yourself overwhelmed and unfocused. A vision statement is one of the best ways to keep you inspired and your business right on track.
Think of your company’s vision statement as its compass, which points the way towards what it wants to become. Having one ensures you’re always going in the right direction, and that you never lose sight of your end goal. It is also the outcome that you test any incoming opportunity against.
For instance, you may ask yourself:
- How big do you want the company to get?
- How many employees, if any, do you want to have?
- What kind of legacy do you want the business to have?
With a clear vision statement in place, you can avoid getting lost, and instead make strategic business decisions that will point you in the right direction for the long-term.
A strong mission will inspire community
At the heart of your newly minted business should lie your mission. Your company’s purpose, its reason for existence, and the difference it strives to make in the world should all be defined in its mission statement.
Not only does it create strong brand differentiation and inspire both consumer passion and brand engagement, but a strong mission statement also helps your employees figure out if they fit in. This strategic direction aligns your focus, and tells your employees what they need to deliver and why. It is also a key driver of organizational performance and a strong predictor of business success.
At some point in your journey, you might be approached by other brands to form strategic partnerships, or you might want to select key influencers to try your product.
How do you choose?
By making sure the partnership or the influencer aligns with your mission. If your business is committed to promoting responsible tourism in developing countries, for example, it won’t make sense to team up with a travel blogger who doesn’t promote traveling with a greener footprint.
A strong mission statement helps make sure that anything your brand is investing time and energy into will bring you one step closer to achieving your purpose. When formulating yours, ask yourself: What do you want to achieve, for whom, and by what means?
Strong values will define your company culture
Your values drive how your organization will operate. As an intricate part of your business, it will form your company culture, help attract like-minded employees, and drive the choices you make.
Just as importantly, company culture is now among the top five factors people consider when weighing a job offer, with a positive company culture linked to higher employee retention and increased engagement. So having a core set of values is no longer a “nice to have” option for businesses that want to succeed!
But values must also drive business decisions, which in turn affects how your customers see you. For example, if one of your values is fighting against animal exploitation, and you decide to use an animal-based product because it’s the cheaper option, you aren’t living up to your brand values.
For your brand’s values to be effective, they need to more than just a pretty bulleted list on your company’s About page. They need to be genuine. Everything you do needs to relate back to them, and you have to be faithful to them every single day.
Your statements, like the business world, are not stagnant
The decisions you make turn your brand’s vision, mission and values into something tangible for your audience. It humanizes your brand and shows your customers what you care about, what your purpose is, and where you are going.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that the business world is anything but stagnant. As your new company grows and evolves, so will your objectives and goals. Therefore, don’t create your statements and forget about them. Review them as needed to make sure they are honest reflections of what, why and how your business operates.