Do You See What I See? An ode to Warby Parker.
Mar 16, 2021
One of my favorite aspects of teaching my digital course, the Empowered Nonprofit Leader, is diving into the fun work of creating or updating mission, vision, and values statements. It's no secret that I geek out at a great turn of phrase or inspiring, exciting language. And of all the examples I give in the mission module, my number one pick is, solidly, Warby Parker. Their approach to the M/V/V is non-traditional but perfectly matched to the brand's personality and style.
The mission and vision are presented in a narrative style on the Our Story page. And the values are found on the Culture page.
Everything is laid out in plain English and in simple terms that are relatable and clear. No industry jargon. No buzzy lingo. Once you read these two pages, you understand the mission and the ethos of the company completely.
The team at WP could simply have positioned themselves as purveyors of deeply discounted eyewear and made low prices their leading value proposition. Instead, they use relatable stories and uncomplicated ideas to paint a larger vision (no pun intended) for their brand: that the customer experience should be easy and fun and that everyone has the right to see. It's not earth shattering but it's a steep departure from vision-industry norms and boils down to an infinitely better customer experience.
Nonprofits have a similar choice: to make need the leading value proposition - an angle most nonprofits take by default - or to paint a larger, more compelling vision for the work. There's no shortage of need in the world today and trying to be the neediest is a race that's seldom won.
So, what is your organization's story? What would a narrative version of your standard mission and vision statements sound like? Do you articulate your vision and values in ways that spark human connection and in terms simple enough for everyone to understand? Your mission may not be as fun-loving and fashionable as Warby Parker's, but it can be as relatable and real.
Need to do a bit of Mission/Vision/Values work? Download my workbook for step-by-step help crafting your statements or leading your team through the process.