We hear a lot about purpose, vision and mission statements – but what do they really mean, what is the difference between them, and why do we need them?

Changing environment

In an ever changing business environment and fast moving consumer landscape, it is critical that organisations have clarity on why they exist, what they are seeking to become, what products and services they offer and how they will accomplish their vision.

Due to the rapidly changing context, businesses need to be agile and adaptive, open to innovation and even disruption, which means there is a need to review the existing purpose, vision, mission and values to evaluate whether they need refining in new seasons.  Once these have been defined, to get cut through and occupy the space in the market, organisations need to work on effectively communicating their key messages, telling their story and bringing their brand alive through strategies and culture that genuinely engage internal and external stakeholders.

It is fundamental that business leaders have clarity on the following three areas:

  1. Understand your place in the market
  2. Determine which space you intend to occupy
  3. Be confident and clear in your positioning.

Know it, articulate it, communicate it

Working with organisations across various sectors, it is evident that there can be a lack of clarity in these three areas:

  • A lack of clarity in knowing why their organisation exists. This can be a challenge for start-ups and established organisations alike.  While start-ups can struggle with this as they are often still exploring the terrain of where their organisation may find resonance in the market, some established organisations may have lost their sense of purpose or direction over time.  This can be a gradual drift due to shifting external environments and changing customer and consumer needs.
  • A lack of clarity in articulating why their organisation exists. Once clarity has been gained on why an organisation exists, the next essential step is in doing the hard work of concisely articulating it.  This needs to be done in a way that can be easily understood by internal and external stakeholders so they can get on board in helping to facilitate the purpose, vision and mission.
  • A lack of clarity in communicating why their organisation exists. Articulating the statements around purpose, vision and mission is extremely beneficial – but this is only the first step in the communication journey.  Developing key messages, working out how to tell your brand story and bringing your brand alive through ongoing, fresh and engaging communication strategies is critical for cut-through.  When working in organisations we can easily fall into assuming that others know what we do and why we do it – however in many cases we have forgotten that we need to tell them our brand story.

Defining Purpose, Vision and Mission

Hello Clarity works with leaders, boards and teams through strategic workshops and processes to clarify, articulate and communicate the following:

Purpose statements: Purpose refers to why we exist, our reason for being.  Often best articulated in one short phrase, this statement ought to sum up the essence of what the organisation is here for.

Vision statements: Vision refers to the future desired state of the organisation – ideally in a sentence it encapsulates what you would like to become.  It can be helpful to paint a picture of what the organisation could look like in five to ten years time.

Mission statements: A mission statement articulates how the vision will be achieved, essentially determining what the organisation does, how they do it and who they are doing it for.

Try making some time away from the day to day tasks to stop and reflect on why your organisation exists, and how you may be able to improve how you tell this story.

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Hello Clarity works with organisations to assist in navigating their purpose, vision, mission and values, and linking this to engaging and effective communication strategies.  To find out how we can assist, please get in touch.