What's the Essence of the THING?

This post is about getting to the core of why you do what you do. Or why your business or brand does what it does. It’s about figuring out what that thing is that makes your company stand out from everything else.

Dreaming up a new business concept can be an extremely exciting experience. Your mind is fresh with ideas of everything that is possible, and the dream is so vivid that all you have to do is reach out and touch it. It’s so real that you can’t contain it any longer; you have to share. Then finally, someone asks you what is it that your business does, and you explain to them that it will do a, b, and c, then it will forever revolutionize the game.

It’s an app that has this function that makes it easier for people to communicate, it’s a shirt with a better texture, an event that’s smaller and more intimate, it’s this not that. And at the end of all of that explaining, you’ve only managed to list a few cool features but haven’t quite gotten to the essence of why it exists.

If I asked you why you exist, understandably, I wouldn’t expect to get a clear answer. Life is so abstract. Why is anyone here, right? When it comes to your business however, you are the creator, and you hold all of the answers.

Creating a business is a long-term project. That’s an obvious statement, I know. I feel the need to state the obvious because, when you find yourself describing features of your business as though they were the core of what you do, you’re really detailing something temporary. Features come and go over time. The purpose that your company serves should remain constant. Identifying the mission, vision, and values of your company will act as a guide for everything that you aspire to accomplish. The features that you chose to adopt or do away with will be a direct result of the company’s greater purpose.

So, let’s get into it. I’m going to use Nike as an example to explain the importance of the mission, vision, and values of a company. To be honest, I don’t wear a lot of Nike stuff, but I do admire the corporation and the way that they are able to consistently connect with their customers.


A company’s mission is the reason that the company exists. What is it that you want your company to do for your customers and the world?

The Nike mission statement reads: Do everything possible to expand human potential.
This statement shows that Nike aims to meet the needs of its diverse customer base, exceed expectations, and leave a positive impact on the lives of others. They have positioned themselves as a dynamic company that is not limited to a specific set of tactics.

Their mission is not simply to manufacture great products and make athletes look good. Any company in their market can do that. But every sportswear company doesn’t push the envelope time after time and inspire their audience to be the best that they can be.


The vision is what you would like your company to achieve in the future. What will success look like for you once you’ve accomplished your mission? How will things change?

The Nike vision statement reads: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.
This statement alludes to the influence that Nike has within its market. Their company will push athletes globally to be their best selves while helping them to do so with products that are creative, quality, and dependable.


The company values are the principles that guide everything that the company does. This is how you fulfill the mission and vision of the company.

Nike’s core values include:
Inspiration, Innovation, every athlete in the world, authentic, connected, and distinctive.
On their pursuit to be the best, these core values emphasize what Nike deems essential to their success.

From the onset, Nike could have easily said that they wanted to make the coolest sneakers and sportswear, but to their benefit, they didn’t. They are a great example of a company with a well-defined purpose that effectively guides their company operations. Because of this, Nike has managed to maintain its leading position in the sportswear industry. Since its inception in 1964 their company has achieved recognition as a global brand that is innovative, versatile, people-oriented, and essentially the best. What they’ve created is greater than any running shoe or gym bag.

People connect with your brand in their minds. Sure, what you have to offer may be visually appealing, however, what hooks them is not simply what looks nice. It’s what your company or your product represents. Everything that matters is sparked by an idea. That idea has the power to not only change the way that people think but ultimately to alter the way that they behave.

So, what is it that you want people to do? How do you want them to feel? What must they know?
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