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Mission, Vision and Values: The Foundation for Your Brand

I recently attended the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) conference. One of the major takeaways was in regards to building the brand for your organization.
With any organization, it is important to know why your organization exists. This relates to having a solid mission, vision, and core values. The mission statement explains why the organization exists. The vision is a way to describe the long term objectives. Most importantly, the core values of the organization are guiding principles to help manage decisions and behavior.

All of these tie together through a strategic plan for an organization. The strategic plan sets objectives for a shorter period of time, such as three to five years. With objectives set, goals can be devised for each year of the plan along with the strategy to meet the goals.
In devising the mission, vision, core values, and strategic plan, all constituent bases should have input. It is important to include the board, staff, volunteers, donors, and other important constituencies to be included as a part of the discussion and input. This allows everyone to have buy in for the final decisions and plans and gives everyone a common purpose.

Once these components are completed, do not just set them aside and mark off a check list. It is important to refer to them and keep them up to date. The strategic plan should be reviewed by the board on a consistent basis so that they can see how the strategies are being implemented to meet the yearly goals. At the conference, IFEA Stephen King of the Des Moines Arts Festival described using the core values to help with programming and business decisions for the organization. This is a great use of these tools to create a cohesive message and brand.

The mission, vision, core values and strategic plan help define the organization and your brand. By using these to make decisions, an organization can use these to build and maintain its brand. Without these in place, an organization can stagnate by trying to meet short term goals and objectives that could be set by one person such as a board president and can lead to making changes each year as to what is important. This short term outlook loses sight of the big picture that these items create and can splinter your brand for a pet project of one person. The mission, vision, core values, and strategic plan describes your organization and are the first components of a solid foundation to build a successful brand and organization.

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