NASA Can Learn from Nike in Messaging a Corporate Vision Statement

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In a corporation’s vision statement, mission, core value, slogan, impactful words and visuals create magic for customers and bottom line.

An organization needs to motivate and inspire both internally their employees and management, and externally their customers, by messaging its core purpose and vision statement with impact and speed. In this age of information overload – often of inferior quality, while our attention span is shortened from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2017, to make a strong vision statement impression with a few words can be challenging even for large and well known organizations.

Case Studies: NASA and Nike:

Among a few versions of NASA’s 2018 vision statements, the “shortest” I can find online seems to be this version: “We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.” – Altogether 14 words, two sentences, 2 verbs (reach, reveal,) 4 abstract nouns (heights, unknown, benefit, humankind.)

By definition, a core purpose or “vision slogan” serves to motivate and inspire people – employees, management, buyers, vendors, public. It is a guiding star, the essence of a brand. It sometimes serves as an anthem or a battle cry. It needs to be easy to remember, short, inspiring and to the point. In my opinion, a tagline or a slogan as part of a brand should be fewer than 5 words.

Let’s first look at another example: Nike’s tagline evolved from a wordy version of “Empowering the athletes in all of us”, to “Let’s do it”, to “Just do it.” Which version is the easiest for our brains to remember? “Just Do It.” Simple as it is, it has the power of broad and general application.

Another way of testing both impact and brevity: Does it stick? Is it repeatable, like music melody, recurring over and over again?

Allow me to distill NASA’s vision statement slogan from 14 to 5 words, keeping only the bold part: “We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.” Now try to say it out loud: Revealing the unknown for humankind. – Brief, simple, and emotionally powerful. What’s wrong with the older 14-word version? The essence of the message gets lost in the first sentence: “We reach for new heights and…” Is it necessary? Does it make any indelible impression? What “new heights”? – If it is complicating and distracting from the second main sentence, delete it. Less is more.

Cut out the verbose “for the benefit of” from the second sentence. Trim out the fat. Boil it down. Capture the essence, the flavor, the soul.

Messaging with Simplicity, Brevity, Impact:

Being long and wordy gets a company’s message lost. People have no time for piled up long sentences full of abstract verbs and nouns that tune out the audience instead of inspiring them to act. The old saying that “brevity is the soul of wit” is all the more relevant in this digital age of information overflow. The harder part is being brief without being simplistic and blunt. Even harder is to also leave room for imagination and multiple ways of interpretations and applications for all people: “Just do it.” Simple words contain vast meanings.

Visuals for the Limbic Midbrain:

Communicating a business brand to its target audience is both a science and art, especially to the digital generations of multitaskers with short attention span. Visuals can powerfully multiply verbal messages. It is said that our midbrain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than words. The mid limbic brain is for emotions and has no capacity for language. It is where decision making, trust, and loyalty reside. Artistic and authentic images and videos based on short, simple and impactful verbal messages can breathe life into a company’s vision, mission, core values and its slogan. When the two work together – the words and the visual – it’s like magic to your customers and to your bottom line.

Be Brief, Impactful and Visual In Messaging A Corporation’s Vision

Wonder what our taglines are? 10+ Visual Branding, “Stand for Something.” 10+ Super Brand: “Walk the Talk.

At 10+ Visual Branding, we take pride in serving companies in first creating verbal brand-messages that are strategic, powerful, simple and imaginative; we then enhance and magnify the verbal messaging with high quality visual imaging.

Substance + Artistry.

For an initial consultation, please call (925) 284-9043, or email:

Thank you.

8/4/2018, © Written by Joanne Tan, edited by Glenn Perkins.

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