The other day we did competitor research of 10 organizations for a client. Guess how many clearly communicated a vision statement? How about their mission statement? Only one of the 10 organizations had a stated vision statement, only half of the organizations clearly stated their mission.

A common mistake we at In The Lights see within the arts industry is the lack of properly crafted vision and mission statements. We’re very passionate about crafting dynamic brand messages, which starts with a clear and powerful vision.

A vision statement is idealistic and holds power. It pinpoints the WHY and where an organization aims to go in the future and drives a team toward a common goal. Mission statements — while still goal-oriented — represent what an organization is accomplishing now, and detail HOW the vision will eventually be accomplished.

Both vision and mission are at the center of every artist, dancer, dreamer, and organization. Understanding the mission of how and what you do, with a vision of where it will take you and why, is a necessary next-step for any team or individual.

The Power of Vision and Mission

As the CEO of In The Lights, I learned a valuable lesson about the power of vision and mission from my brother and three nephews, who loved to play a game they invented called, “Around the Horn.” The game was essentially indoor football, without touchdowns. Their home was shaped like a square, with a large staircase to the second floor in the center. The design created a natural loop they called “the horn.”

While my brother was the all-time-quarter-back and play-caller (communicating the vision), each nephew would take turns running pass plays around the horn, competing against each other. The challenge was to see who could make the most consecutive plays. Each play progressively grew more and more complicated.

“Break left around the horn, juke backward, climb up a few stairs and dive onto the couch to catch the ball in mid-air” my brother would say with a “Blue 42, set, hike!”

Play after play, my nephews would run their hearts out until they could successfully execute each run, jump, slide, and catch.

No matter how technical or complicated, they understood that each play was a mission — a current objective to either accomplish or prevent the ball from running its course. But the game required vision beyond what they could see to reach the common goal of consecutive completed plays in a spirit of good sportsmanship.

Establishing Vision and Mission Statements

Developing a vision and mission is critical to the purpose of every business or personality.

Vision statements focus on the future. Think, “How will we change the world/industry?” “What is the impact you want to have?” Why does someone need what you’re offering beyond/instead of others?”

In The Lights’ vision is to be the most sought-after communications resource for arts, culture, and fitness organizations and individuals ready to transform their legacy into a fresh, sustainable business model. 

Mission statements focus more directly on the present. They summarize how an organization is currently accomplishing its overall goals. Mission statements detail an organization’s primary objectives and outline how it’s accomplishing them.

In The Lights’ mission is to create thoughtful and comprehensive communications strategies that increase our clients’ public support and organizational confidence, and to act as thought leaders and change agents to develop meaningful and ongoing dialogue–aligning clients’ vision and mission within their marketing and branding strategies.

Here are a few other examples of impactful brands:

Nike’s vision is, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” While its mission statement is to “do everything possible to expand human potential.”

Apple’s vision begins with “we believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.” It’s a mission, “to bring the best user experience to our customers through our innovative hardware, software, and services.”

Lululemon’s vision” “with curiosity at our core, we’re constantly thinking about how we can innovate our process, our gear, and our social impact so we can elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness.” Rather than a mission, the organization created a manifesto.

Tesla’s vision statement is “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” The mission was “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport,” updated mid-2016 to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

Weather you’re Tesla or the newest/longest running arts organization in town, your vision and mission are powerful statements that help your audience connect to your purpose. Taking time to properly craft these statements for your organization can be challenging, check out our next post for tips on how to write these statements.

The In The Lights team is passionate about arts and culture and committed to bringing best practices for effective, efficient and meaningful branding campaigns that resonate with client audiences. 

For more expertise in the world of arts PR and marketing, sign up for In The Lights’ quarterly marketing newsletter.

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