Feeling confused about the difference between purpose, vision, mission and values? At surface level, it seems like they could be interchangeable. Or treated like empty words to splash around your About page. They’re not – here’s why.

The foundations of any business start with your purpose, vision, mission and values. These are unique to you, just like your DNA, and they can be powerful planning and strategy tools. It’s important to take time out to understand this about your business. Because without knowing who you are and what you stand for, you’ll find it hard to position yourself in the market and make it even harder for customers to make decisions about choosing you. Here’s the insider’s guide to the key differences.

1. Purpose

Purpose is your WHY. We talk about purpose being the fundamental reason your business exists beyond making money. It’s the fire that started in your belly that became the intrinsic motivator for setting up your business in the first place. And it’s what motivates you to keep going, even on the bad days.

2. Mission

Mission is the WHAT you are trying to achieve. You might like to think of this as your 5-10 year plan or your BHAG (big hairy audacious goal). It’s a bold picture of where you want to be in the future that helps to focus everyone’s efforts on the (you guessed it) mission.

3. Vision

Vision is HOW you intend to achieve this big goal. Like a roadmap for your mission, your vision is an expression of how you will go about reaching your big goal. Who you’ll work with, what’ll do to get there and why you’re doing it.

4. Values

Values are the core DNA of your business. Your values underpin your culture and define the expectations you’ve set for yourself and your team. They also help to attract the kind of customer you want to work with. Clarity and confidence around your values messaging will attract, set the expectations and create alignment with your ideal customers and team.

When you understand the difference between these key planning and strategy fundamentals, you’ll find they can help shape every decision you make. The same rules apply whether you are starting a new brand or re-discovering yourself through a rebrand. If you need help, get in touch to discuss how a brand strategy session with us might help.