Brand Insights

For Health Science Executives

Mission, Vision, and Values: Who’s on First?

Mission, Vision, and Values: Who’s on First?

By Karan Cushman, February 27, 2022

Defining the elements of a meaningful health science brand

To be successful in today’s competitive health science market, company leaders must define what their brand stands for, what their goals are, and how they plan to reach them.

Unfortunately, common terms used during this process—purpose, mission, vision, values, etc.—do not have clear definitions that are universally accepted. Different groups tend to define them in different ways, which makes for a lot of confusion, weaker strategic plans and customer relations, and, ultimately, underperforming marketing teams.

Having a clear understanding of how the basic elements of a brand works together will help your marketing team avoid brand-confusion and stay focused on brand cohesion. It all starts with the “Why?”


Purpose: The “Why” of Your Organization

Whether your health-science organization is a for-profit or non-profit, its products and/or services exist for a reason: to help fight a disease; to enable better medical care; to further the pursuit of science. Note that all these examples define why an organization exists, not what its products or services are or how it is working to improve them.

Purpose-driven companies are in a better position to genuinely connect with their audiences, because they offer a real reason for people to care about what they are doing. That reason serves both the interests of the organization and the interests of the greater community in which it exists. Connecting emotionally with people both inside and outside of your company will help its culture take root and grow.

Questions that can help define your “Why?”

  • Why was your company founded?
  • What is your company’s greatest contribution to the world?
  • Does your company improve anyone’s quality of life?
  • Why should people feel good about working at your organization?


Mission: The “How” of Your Organization

Mission is often confused with Purpose, because it is equally high-minded. A strong mission is a commitment to stay focused on a goal. It is very purposeful, but it is not your brand’s purpose. Mission is how you will achieve your brand’s Purpose, and it is realized day by day in the way your company conducts itself.

Questions that can help define your “How”

  • Who are your customers?
  • What do you do for them?
  • How do you do it differently from your competitors?
  • What value are you bringing to the marketplace?


Vision: The “What’s Next?” of Your Organization

Vision is also sometimes confused with Purpose, but it is more concrete in terms of how it affects planning. A company’s Vision looks beyond day-to-day organizational goals to imagine what the company might look like in five or ten years. When defining an organization’s Vision, consider what it will look like if the company succeeds in its Mission and how that will change its strategic position in the marketplace.

Questions that can help define your “What Next?”

  • What would your business look like if it became the best version of itself?
  • How does your community view your organization?
  • How would you like them to view your organization?
  • What problem(s) does your organization hope to solve?
  • How can it move closer to solving them?
  • Does your organization’s vision connect with those it serves on an emotional level?

Values: The “Who” of Your Organization

Much like a Purpose, the Values of a company drive human behavior. Values connect companies both with the people it employs and serves based on shared ideals. What are the beliefs inside your organization? People outside of your organization want to know if those inside of it share their values. Being clear about what those values are, having employees, products and brand experiences that embody those values will grow your fan base and position your brand for success.

Questions that can help define your “Who”

  • Why do we come to work every day?
  • What gets us excited about what we do?
  • What values drive our behavior and decision-making processes every day?
  • How can we ensure every communication with our customers will embody our values?

The Brand Promise

Here’s where all of your hard work pays off. Once you’ve clearly defined the Why, How, What and Who of your brand, you can begin developing external messaging that supports specific marketing goals. This begins with a Positioning Statement that defines how your offering fits in among its competition and how it is different. That difference is what makes your brand valuable, and it becomes your Brand Promise.

A Brand Promise is a powerful external messaging statement that helps you set up customer expectations, fulfill those expectations, and ensure people feel good about and trust your company.

A brand that earns the trust of employees and customers is one that keeps its business strategy on course.

Getting Started

Crafting the right brand strategy requires diligent research, thorough processes, stakeholder perspectives, and, of course, buy-in. If you’d like support in creating a more meaningful health science brand, just reach out.

Home plate isn’t as far away as it might feel.


Tagged: Branding, Leadership Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Strategy

Leave a Comment