Visions Change, Values Endure

Author: Phil Flickinger

“Vision” is a common word in marketing. We put founders on pedestals and label them visionaries. We ask clients what their vision is for their company and its advertising. We help them craft vision statements for their brands.

Don’t get me wrong; “vision” is a fantastic word to include in conversations about brands. It’s rife with ambition and long-term thinking. Identifying a clear vision for your brand is an invaluable exercise. However, I’ve seen brands spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering with their vision, and it’s done at the expense of articulating their values.

A brand vision is a forward-looking statement that outlines what a company aspires to become in the future. It serves as a guide for the strategic direction of the brand, and helps motivate and align the efforts of an organization towards a common goal. The trouble is, market forces shift. Futures change, and visions need to change accordingly.

Brand values are the core principles and beliefs that define a brand’s identity and guide its behavior, decisions, and actions. They influence everything from the company's culture to its customer service approach, and they play a critical role in differentiating the brand in the market.

In short, a brand vision is what a company wants to be. Brand values are what it fundamentally is. You can’t get to where you want to be without fully understanding—and articulating—what you are. Hence, brand values are a critical component of a brand vision; a vision that’s not grounded in them is puffery.

Consider local legend John W. Nordstrom and his eponymous retail store. In 1901, he partnered with Carl F. Wallin to create a shoe store at the intersection of 4th and Pike (coincidentally the same junction where Copacino’s office resides). A vision to develop the ultimate shoe store guided the company’s growth through six decades and multiple generations of descendents; it was the largest shoe store in the country by 1960.

Was John W. Nordstrom a visionary? Arguably. Did he ground the company in strong values? Absolutely. Since its founding, Nordstrom has operated on the premise that customers deserve the best service, selection, quality and value. These four values have endured for nearly 125 years, providing a foundation for the company’s evolution beyond a shoe store and into a full-scale department store, a discount entity, a global e-retailer, and more. Nordstrom achieved an even more ambitious vision by embracing its values.

If you need help articulating your vision, we’d love to help. But rest assured we’re gonna lock in your values first. And if you’re curious what values Copacino lives by, swing by our office. You can’t miss them: