Many of us experience the power of vision first hand when we pursue our personal aspirations. It’s easier to visualize where you personally want to be, assuming you fit conventional stereotypes because society expects certain ‘accomplishments’ by a specific age because these are regarded as societal indicators of ‘success’. For example, we’re typically conditioned from an early age that success equals having a family, buying a house and owning a car. However, brand vision is more difficult to internalise and comprehend because businesses lack clear comparative directions from society.
Businesses are often started as part of a personal vision. Frequently, business founders see owning a business as an important milestone in their personal life. This attitude, even though conducive to personal growth, doesn’t aid business growth. You want to succeed as a person but you also want your business to thrive. Additionally, one of a business’s main goals is the creation of profit so business owners often get stuck in the race for money until they realize that money isn’t the end game.
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What is a Brand Vision?
Brand Vision is the ‘Where’ of where you want to get to: This is a destination of what you want the brand or business to be in the future. The concept of brand vision is centred around the understanding of the future not as fixed destiny but as malleable matter that can be affected by actions you take in the present. If you think that the future can’t be shaped and controlled you probably can’t see the value in the brand vision, but if you believe that you have the power to dictate what the future looks like, you’ll appreciate why brand vision is important, in fact, critical to your success.
The Difference Between the Brand Vision and Other Branding Assets
To avoid any confusion about brand vision, here’s a simple reference with a short explanation for each branding factor.
The Value of Brand Vision For The Company
We’ve now established that brand vision refers to some point in future. But, you might ask, what’s the value in dreaming about some distant future? The thing is, brand vision is essentially about the future but it’s also deeply rooted in the present. Jeffrey Perlman of Zumba talks about this in the video below:
As the video points out brand vision isn’t a goal, it’s the truth that you’re trying to get to. There are some other important points made in this video. For example, many people set goals and then forget about them the next day. Or they find that achieving goals is harder than they imagined it to be so they give up. Unlike unachievable goals, Brand Vision states what you want to achieve and gives you confidence that you can achieve it. For example, compare the two statements:
Facebook’s – “People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
Dell’s – “To be the most successful computer company in the world at delivering the best customer experience in markets we serve”
Facebook’s brand vision is clear, concise and states exactly what the company wants to achieve. Millions of people already use Facebook for the purposes stated in the brand’s vision so it’s also a very realistic vision statement.
By comparison, Dell’s vision statement is a bit vague, and while certainly challenging, it also falls into the trap of being considered swaggering and meaningless because no one can define what “most successful company” and “best customer experience” mean exactly.
Evaluated in that context, Brand Vision is like your North Star – you can clearly see it from the ground, and it’s a constant beacon keeping you on track so you believe you’ll eventually get to your ultimate destination.
Too many companies rely on ambiguous and sometimes extremely grandiose brand vision statements, that are blandly vanilla and so don’t connect with the intended recipients and are too conceptual to be a livable part of everyday focus. This is because in our minds the future can seem very distant, and we sometimes forget that the future is created in the present.
To create a great brand vision statement means to create a clear path identifying where you’re going, how you’re getting there and what value can be derived from the achievement of that vision .
The Top 6 Reasons Why Brand Vision is so Important
1. Brand vision enables you to identify and follow through on the right strategies
When you’re driven by the power of a clear brand vision you know which course of action to take. You can also correct that course depending on whether it’s conducive to reaching your goal faster. Brand vision is an essential factor in your business success because it simplifies and clarifies decision making and so empowers you to greatly reduce the time spent choosing the right strategies.
2. Brand vision keeps you and your team focussed and motivated
Every living creature needs to seek and work towards a brighter future. You can see how this principle plays out in nature where the animals’ and plants’ existence is dictated by the survival of species – only the strongest survive. Evolution has created an incredible goal-striving mechanism in each one of us. We are biologically wired to better ourselves and improve. However, unlike animals, humans are equipped with imagination and creativity that force us to strive in business, community development, and spiritual development. That’s why we need a brand vision because it gives us something to work towards in all the three key areas.
3. Brand vision ensures long-term commitment as opposed to short-term gain
When you have a strong brand vision, you steer clear of actions that bring short-term gains. The bigger picture of your brand vision is sharp and clear, you never lose sight of it in your mind’s eye so you discard distractions or temptations that may take you off track and don’t guarantee the optimal ROI.
4. Brand vision creates impetus for change
Sometimes brand vision serves as a catalyst for change. Say you’re stuck in the rat race and can’t see farther than your never-ending everyday to-do list. You automatically complete tasks just because they are on your list without even thinking about the importance of the task.
Personal vision helps prevent you falling into, or at least extracts you from, the workaholic trance of going nowhere, caught up in the meaningless, mundane and endless lists. Brand vision does the same for your business and your employees. It creates an image of a better life and inspires you collectively to find better solutions and strive to do things better than they’ve been done before.
5. Brand vision makes it easier to overcome challenges and doubts
Brand vision sets you up for success. When you have a clear picture of where you want to get to you can separate the weed from the chaff because you consistently choose actions that bring you closer to your vision. Brand vision is your guide and mentor in a world of endless distractions, multiple challenges, doubts, and hurdles. Brand vision empowers you to raise your game when the going gets tough.
Brand vision has multiple benefits and acts as a success catalyst for your business. If you need help identifying, developing and articulating your brand vision then join one of our transformational Brand Building Blueprint™ Masterminds.
Within 48 hours you’ll have your brand fully mapped out and documented with your 50-page brand building toolkit — leveraged with our leadership. It’s also distilled in a separate brand briefing executive summary so you have your total brand roadmap built — you’re empowered to manage your brand and grow your business successfully. If your team is bigger we also provide a private client bespoke in-house Brand Building Blueprint™ Intensive with the sole focus on re-evaluating and building your brand fast. Get in touch to find out more firstname.lastname@example.org
We lead you through your brand building journey, whether you’re a well-established business hungry to seriously accelerate your expansion and take things to the next level or in the early years of rapid growth spurts.
In fact, we have the perfect solution for you, three different ways of working with us to build your brand, depending on your preferences — so if you want us to:
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Creating a Brand Vision
So how do you create a brand vision for your company? Creating a brand vision is similar to creating your personal vision. One approach is you can simply draw a picture of where you want to get to as shown in the video below:
The sad thing is that people rarely feel motivated to work on their personal visions let alone the vision for their brand. But if you want your business to thrive and your life to become inherently better, drawing your vision is the first most simplistic and yet powerful action you can take.
Brands typically have vision statements without a visual expression of their brand vision. But having a pictorial representation helps you express brand vision in words, so we recommend drawing or creating a vision board no matter what vision you’re working on be it a personal or a business brand vision. You can do it digitally or with conventional pens, ink, paint and paper, it doesn’t matter what tools you use so long as you create a visual expression of your big brand vision because this will make it more real, engage the brain to find solutions and act as a catalyst for getting there faster.
Everything Patti Dobrowolski shares in the video is based on neuroscience. People respond more strongly to pictures because they’re processed far more quickly by the brain and stamped on the memory more strongly. That’s why drawing your vision works so effectively. Your mind subconsciously knows what you want and has the ability to come up with the steps needed to get you to your desired destination. When you see your vision on paper it’s easier to believe that it’s achievable and take the necessary actions daily to bring your vision to life — making it a reality for you and everyone your brand touches.
Communicating Your Brand Vision
Creating your brand vision is only the first step. The next step is communicating your vision to your stakeholders. Every business has decision makers who have to buy into the brand vision: customers, shareholders, competitors, employees and partners.
Brand vision is proven to have a positive effect on the bottom line. When all the stakeholders understand the brand vision they’ll do everything in their power to support you getting there and will also help you get there faster .
3 Tips to Help You Communicate Your Brand Vision to Your Stakeholders:
1. Empower and Involve Your Full Team and Employees in Your Brand Vision
Brand vision should be created by everyone who is supposed to bring it to reality, meaning you need to involve your team in the creation of your vision, strategy, and objectives every step of the way. Rather than communicating your vision when it’s already in its finalised form, invite your team to share ideas and be part of the exploration stage and creative process because they will have valuable ideas helping to shape your brand vision. Not only will they be considerably more focussed because their opinion matters, but in the long run morale will be higher and collectively everyone will be more motivated by the vision they helped formulate.
2. Share and Explain Your Brand Vision with Your Customers
Most brands feature a short brand vision statement of some sort on their website. If it’s merely a token gesture, vanilla and boring or grandiose and meaningless you can expect it to be ignored by customers and employees alike because it won’t engender a strong relatable connection or emotional response. If you don’t put much value on your brand vision, you can’t expect others to respect it. IKEA took it a step further and created a video that explains it’s brand vision and the steps the company takes to achieve it.
Not only does this video highlight the company’s dedication to its customers, but it also explains their brand vision in simple meaningful terms. Let’s be honest here, brand vision is an aspirational statement but it’s essential because it provides focus and direction for big thinking. Sometimes it’s hard to connect your vision to the present. A video is a great way to show customers how your current daily, weekly or monthly actions contribute to the bigger picture — your brand vision.
3. Use the Power of Personal Branding with Your Brand Vision
This is perhaps the most effective strategy used now for communicating a brand vision. It’s effective because it puts the leader of the company in the front row, making it easier for all stakeholders to see and hear the brand vision clearly and relate to it.
The brand vision is expressed by a person we can identify with so we connect with it on a human level. Additionally, introducing a visionary leader to the market helps eliminate distrust and scepticism, particularly if there’s a negative perception that the business is only centred around making money at the expense of everything else.
5 Visionary Leaders, Brand Vision and Their Paths to Success
Let’s take a closer look at brand vision in action in the commercial real business world. Here are some stories of visionary leaders and how they drive their companies to success with a brand vision that acts as their constant north star:
Elon Musk – Tesla
Elon Musk is the visionary leader behind the Tesla brand. His ultimate vision is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy so all his ventures have that big vision behind their raison d’être. The Tesla brand’s vision is to “Create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” The video below is from a TED conference. Elon Musk often talks about this envisioned future for his company but he also talks about humanity’s future in general.
As a serial entrepreneur, Elon Musk is involved in many business endeavours, but all of them are centred around his vision of a clean sustainable world with environmentally friendly energy.
Marc Beniof – Salesforce
Marc Beniof is the chairman and a founder of Salesforce – a pioneer of cloud computing. Salesforce’s original vision was to disrupt the traditional, on-premise enterprise software. When Salesforce was created, no one could have imagined that years later every document and contact would be stored in the cloud. But the company achieved its vision with aplomb. Beniof’s unique qualities include a commitment to social issues, especially education and equality. You can see the pattern here – brand vision always relates to the company or organisation, but a visionary leader typically expands the limits of a brand vision and connects it to bigger issues that affect the extended community or world at large.
Tammy Hembrow – Tammy Hembrow & Saski Collection
This is an example of a small brand with a big vision. Tammy Hembrow started as an Instagram influencer and even though she doesn’t feature her brand vision on the website, her Youtube videos share a picture of a dedicated Mum who runs a business, goes to the gym, and still has the time to care for her two kids. Numerous times throughout her videos, Tammy emphasizes her vision of creating a balanced healthy lifestyle. This is a great message that resonates with many women who are struggling to achieve work-life balance.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
Similar to Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg often talks about the future.
Mark’s vision for Facebook (featured earlier in this article) highlights the importance of people and community. Today we see Facebook not as a company or as a tool but as a window to connection, appreciation, and inclusion. This may not be considered as an entirely healthy way to view the company, but it proves the point that a great brand vision can dramatically affect brand perception.
Patti Stanger – Millionaire’s Club
An American businesswoman and reality television star, Patti Stanger founded an elite matchmaking service based in Los Angeles. She obviously knows a lot about dating and was able to apply her personal experience to her business. Even though not explicitly stated anywhere on the website, her business’s vision is to create a relaxing, discreet and confidential environment for successful people to meet and match. This vision enables Patti to choose the right channels to promote her brand, for example, she is a frequent host of love and reality shows.
How to Cultivate Visionary Traits – 3 Top Tips
Not everyone becomes a visionary leader but not everyone has to become one either. Some people excel better in operational or technical details, they still dream big about the future, but without being the public fronting face of the business or voice of the brand vision. However, every business needs a visionary leader because it’s unlikely to succeed without one. If you feel like you can’t change yourself or that visionary role doesn’t fit your profile, find a visionary partner. But if you feel that you have all it takes to become a visionary leader, here are some tips to get you started and accelerate your success:
1. Acquire and Develop a Futuristic Mindset
Your brand vision is all about the future. You need to develop your imagination and set aside 30 minutes every day for daydreaming and exploring new ideas. Start small. For example, if you’re always busy doing the tasks, take a step back and focus on seeing the bigger picture. Understand what goal you’re aiming to achieve by completing a particular task. Then see how this goal leads to even more important goals and aspirations.
2. Adopt an Outsider Perspective
When we deeply care about something we often try to anticipate negative feedback and correct the wrong behaviour long before we make a mistake. This preventive mechanism stands in a way of our imagination because it draws our attention to current and anticipated problems instead of future success. To create a brand vision you need to take an outsider perspective, ignore minor setbacks, and envision the end result as highly realistic and attainable.
3. Explore Possibilities for a Bigger Change
You need to identify and articulate the value your company brings to the society at large and connect it to your big brand vision. In order to achieve this, explore possibilities for change within the society. What would you improve and how does your product/service fit in the bigger picture? Companies or organisations with a big compelling brand vision always aim to change the world for the better and find innovative ways to do so. You can change the world from inside out as well as from outside in. Identify the bigger problems that your product or service solves, then bring the vision of your company into alignment with your vision of the bigger problem solved and a better world because of your solution.
Your brand vision is the final destination that you’re hoping to get to, but it’s also deeply rooted in the present. By creating a connection between your current actions and future state you prevent your brand vision from becoming a meaningless bunch of pompous words.
To create a powerful brand vision draw a pictorial representation of where you’re going to and paint it with bright colours so that it cultivates excitement and motivates to your work. Also, involve your team and employees in your brand vision exploration and creation. Communicate your brand vision to all your stakeholders throughout company meetings, storytelling, communications campaigns and advertising.
Finally, leverage personal branding to showcase your company’s leader’s dedication to your brand vision, develop futuristic thinking, and identify how your business can contribute to society at large.
Once you identify, articulate and develop your brand vision in meaningful terms, every decision will become easier and faster to make so you’ll progress faster and more effectively in your business — and attain the manifestation of your ultimate vision.
Inspired by this article to re-evaluate and develop your brand vision? We can help you identify and develop your brand vision during our transformational brand building workshops. Our workshops are all about empowering leaders of organisations, large and small, to become stronger leaders of brands so they can truly lead, influence and shape how their brand is represented, developed and advocated both within their organisation and externally so its perceived to be the preferred choice and consequently drives increased profitability.
Alternatively, our Brand Strategy Development solution provides a complete blueprint for your brand success. We’ll create the action plan for putting your brand to work. The communications system that provides structure and guidance for all points of contact within a business, both internally and externally with the customer.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What’s your dream for your business?
- Does your brand vision connect on a personal level with your primary stakeholders?
- What image of the business and your brand do you want to convey?
- Think about the spark that ignited your business. What will keep it burning when some days are more challenging than others?
- How can the pursuit of your brand vision make a bigger difference?