Thursday, May 3

Mission, Vision, Positioning

Cool Visual from Google Images

It's Small Business week here on my blog, and I'm answering questions that came up during my Small Business Bootcamp last week with Vocus.  There were some very interesting questions ... the group kept me hopping!  Here's another one that got my attention, partly because it's such an age-old question:

What's the difference between a company's Mission, Vision, and Positioning?

Love it!  Huge debates have broken out about this very topic, as basic as it may seem on the surface.  I'll try to resolve it, but may just spark more debate in the process.  In any event, let's keep it simple:

Mission:  it's the statement of purpose for your brand.  It's why you are in business and who you serve.

Vision:  it's the hopes and dreams of the brand and where you'd like to see it go in the future.

Positioning:  it's the mental space you want to occupy in your customer's mind when they think of your brand.  It's how you want your customer to picture your brand and it's the emotional connection you want them to have with your brand.

An example?  Let's try BMW (I am totally making this up, no offense to anyone who knows better!).

Mission:  to provide car enthusiasts with transportation that not only gets them where they need to go, but makes them feel proud getting there.

Vision:  to be the trend maker in high style cars, above and beyond any other options in the market.

Positioning:  The Ultimate Driving Machine (happens to be their tagline)

Tried to keep it simple and to the point, despite the complexity of the question.  Make sense?

Try it on for size on your (small) business and ask yourself ... What's your experience?   Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect and The Experience Effect for Small Business
Professor, NYU


  1. Thank you for the great webinar Jim. Really enjoyed it... I find that my Mission and Vision are very clear but I struggle with positioning. Something that I must continuously work on.

  2. Have you tried the tried and true positioning format? Jim.