October 28, 2022
After getting clear on your "why," or reason for doing the work you do, the next step in building the foundation of your marketing strategy is to determine your mission, vision, and values.
Step 1 – Values
Your values are the set of morals and guidelines by which you want to operate your business and are often determined by your “why.” They help define what you will and won’t do as a business. Some examples of values for a farm business might be family, profitability, heritage, sustainable land management, safety, community, or food security. Spend some time brainstorming what is most important to you. What do you want to accomplish with your business? What are the standards to which you will hold yourself?
Step 2 - Vision
Your vision is what you are hoping to accomplish, or how you hope the world, your community, etc. would be different if you achieved your goals. This is where you think BIG. It doesn’t matter if it seems unrealistic. Do you want to be the largest dairy producer in the state? Do you want a thriving, sustainable business you can pass on to your children? Do you want to improve soil and water quality with regenerative farming practices?
Sometimes, your business might be just one part of your vision becoming a reality. For example, one farm’s vision might be that everyone in their local community has access to nutrient-dense and sustainably produced fruits and vegetables year-round. They likely won’t be able to achieve this vision alone, but they can be one of many producers in their area working to make it a reality.
Step 3 – Mission
Once you’ve established your big picture vision, it is time to determine your mission. Your mission is how you plan to make your vision a reality. It’s the nuts and bolts of what you do, how you do it, and for whom. Continuing with the example above of the regenerative farm, their mission might be “to model how regenerative farming practices can be used to improve the health of the land we steward, while feeding our community and turning a profit.” Your mission should reflect your vision and values, without explicitly mentioning them.
Establishing your mission, vision, and values provides a clear direction for your business and is a critical step in determining how and where you will market it - especially when your vision mentions an impact to your larger community or the world, or something unique like carrying on the traditions of a multi-generational farm. Your mission, vision, and values form the foundational elements for connecting with consumers. They allow your business to stand out in crowded/competitive markets and connect authentically with consumers.
Thanks for reading the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets’ Marketing and Agritourism Blog! I’m your host, Kristen Brassard. I’m an Agriculture Development Specialist focused on marketing and events for farm and food businesses. I graduated with a master’s degree in Food Systems from the University of Vermont in 2021 and have nearly ten years’ experience in marketing and events planning. Stay tuned every other week for tips on marketing and incorporating agritourism practices on your farm. Be sure to sign up for our weekly Agricultural Development Newsletter so you never miss a post!