Product Vision 101: What It Is & How to Draft a Solid Vision Statement

At its core, product vision defines your product’s purpose. Here’s a complete guide on drafting a powerful product vision statement.

Ray Slater Berry
14 min read
Product Vision 101: What It Is & How to Draft a Solid Vision Statement

Imagine this: You're finally going on your dream vacation and you have two options to plan this trip. 

  • Option A: Create a detailed itinerary with all the specifics—how you'll travel, where you'll stay, places to eat, and all that jazz.

  • Option B: Wing it and see where the journey takes you. 

If you’re an Eat, Pray, Love fan, Option B might seem like the perfect way to vacation—but, life doesn’t play out like the blockbusters, especially without the blockbuster budget.  

Option A tells you exactly where you’re headed, what resources you’ll need to get there, and how to handle any turbulence along the way. 

For product teams, Option A defines what it's like working with a thought-out product vision. It helps keep everyone on track. 

In this article, we'll discuss what product vision is, what its core components are, and how to write a solid vision statement. We'll also cover five real-world examples and product vision templates to get you started quickly.

  • A product vision defines who your product is for, what problems it solves, and how it’s different from competitors.

  • A product vision acts as a guide for all strategic decisions related to your product roadmap and gives you a clear direction to move forward.

  • A strong product vision statement helps in product positioning, reduces time to market, and creates a strong focus for your product team. 

  • To draft an airtight vision statement, you need to brainstorm with your team, stick to realistic aspirations, align it with your go-to-market strategy, and write in plain language, keeping it clear and concise.

What is a product vision?

A product vision defines your product’s purpose by highlighting the problems it solves, the people it benefits, and the future it will help to create. It is customer-centric, short, and gets to the why behind your product.

A well-crafted product vision statement describes your product’s core value proposition to demonstrate how it’s different from the already existing tools in the market. It also explains the overarching (yet realistic) goals you want to achieve through your product. In other words, it solidifies your product positioning

Let’s take a look at a product vision example from a game development platform, Roblox, to understand this better. 

Roblox’s vision statement says:

“Roblox’s mission is to bring the world together through play. We enable anyone to imagine, create, and have fun with friends as they explore millions of immersive 3D experiences, all built by a global community of developers”. 

This statement conveys:

  • Core objective: To bring the world together through play

  • Target audience: Anyone willing to imagine, create, and have fun with friends

  • Key value propositions: Millions of 3D experiences, a global community

Now that you know what a customer-centric product vision is, you might be tempted to jump straight to: “How can we nail writing a product vision statement for our product?”

Hold your horses for a bit—there are a few more definitions we need to settle up. A little problem that can potentially damage your vision statement is confusing it with the company’s vision and/or mission. Read on.

Product vision vs. Company vision

A company vision is designed as a customer-facing message with respect to the entire company—beyond the product you’re creating. 

A product vision is starkly different from the company vision, especially for SaaS companies with multiple products. 

For example, here’s a company vision statement from Zoho, a cloud software suite for businesses.

“Software is our craft and our passion. At Zoho, we create beautiful software to solve business problems. We believe that software is the ultimate product of the mind and the hands.”

And here’s the product vision for Zoho People, one of the tools in Zoho’s massive suite of products:

"The world of work is changing rapidly, and so should your HR practices. Zoho People is a cloud-based HR software crafted to nurture employees, quickly adapt to changes, and make HR management agile and effective. Simplify your HR operations, retain talent, and build a high-performing workforce while putting employee experience first."

Note: For single-product companies, product visions can overlap with the company vision to some extent, although this will change as the company grows.

Vision vs. Mission statement

A product mission statement describes business goals and the means a company uses to reach them. The mission statement is about what you're doing. 

A product vision statement defines your aspirations for the future—where you want to be several years from today. Basically, your mission describes how you’ll achieve your vision.

Let’s look at an example from a FinTech company Branch to put this into perspective. 

Branch’s company mission statement says:

“Branch is on a mission to help working Americans grow financially. We do this by helping companies accelerate payments and empower working Americans with accessible, fee-free financial services.”

And Branch’s product vision statement says:

“As a company, we’re committed to building and delivering more inclusive and transparent financial products for working Americans.”

With this laid out, you’re all set to dive into the characteristics of a strong product vision statement to craft an airtight statement for your product.

What makes the perfect product vision?

Think of it this way: you're ready to plan the perfect itinerary for your trip, but you just don't know where or how to begin—shucks. Product leaders can find themselves in a similar situation when drafting the product vision. 

Use this checklist as a starting point on what makes a solid vision statement:

  • It establishes product positioning: A good product vision narrows your focus to find the perfect product-market fit. It positions your product effectively among competitors and acts as a filter for your team to make strategic decisions. 

  • It improves team alignment: Product vision creates a common goal for all key stakeholders in your org. It brings your entire team on the same page to pursue this goal with greater motivation, so it’s a good idea to include various team members when drafting. 

  • It increases productivity: A strong vision statement should bring all teams on the same page and create better alignment. Well-aligned teams face a lower chance of conflict, making the product development process more productive and efficient. 

  • It shortens time to market: At its core, a clear vision streamlines product management and lowers the turnover time for the MVP. So, your statement should give teams a comprehensive roadmap to deliver the first version and go from there. 

  • It creates a strong focus: A good product vision statement will empower you to stick to the main goal even when things change rapidly. It should keep the focus on your product's core purpose at every stage of the development lifecycle. 

With these parameters in mind, let’s get into how to draft a product vision statement that paves the way for your team.

How to write an effective product vision statement in 5 steps

Let’s explore how to draft a weatherproof vision statement that differentiates your product experience from the rest of the bunch.

1. Involve your team in co-creation

When Ilya Leyrikh, Product Manager at Wise (formerly TransferWise), decided to draft their vision statement, he sat with all key stakeholders and asked: “What do customers consider when they select TransferWise?” 

Ilya compiled all the answers into a list of core properties, like convenience, trustworthiness, and coverage. Then, he asked all attendees to think of a value attached to each core property, like, for example, effortlessness for convenience and security for trustworthiness. 

As a summary of his findings, Ilya drew a conclusion:

“To define a vision for a product, list core properties that customers use to describe its quality, imagine ultimate values for these properties, and set a goal to achieve them.”

– Ilya Leyrikh, Product Manager at Wise (formerly TransferWise)

This combination of core properties and values became his basis for drafting TransferWise’s product vision statement. 

So, what’s the point of the story? 

You can't draft a stellar product vision in a vacuum. It's always a team effort. Involving your team and stakeholders from different levels in the process can make them feel more invested in product development and increase their motivation to see your product vision succeed. 

More importantly, seeking input from product leadership means you’ll have their buy-in for the finalized vision statement. 

If you're a solo product owner, run your vision statement by others to see where you stand and what you can change to make it more meaningful within their responsibilities.

2. Stay in line with your go-to-market strategy

Your vision statement should align closely with your go-to-market (GTM) strategy. That's because the GTM strategy informs your product vision, which complements your product strategy. 

A misalignment in this equation can lead to conflicting teams, flawed development, and gaps in brand and product messaging. 

Here’s an actionable method to keep your vision in line with your GTM framework:

  • Identify your target audience and create different user personas

  • Analyze every persona’s challenges and jobs to be done 

  • See how your competitors are solving these pain points

  • List all the selling points and key benefits for every segment 

This exercise will help reveal your ideal customers and condense your product’s core functionality. Use this information to define a foolproof GTM strategy and create a product vision statement.

3. Think big, but stay realistic

A product vision shouldn't be a pie-in-the-sky statement that seems too good to be true. Instead, make your vision realistic and user-centered. 

An empathy map is a great tool to help you do this. Take a look below at the updated version of the Empathy Map Canvas that Dave Gray, Founder of XPLANE, developed years ago with his team. 

As Dave explained in his article on Medium, it is “designed as a framework to complement an exercise in developing empathy” and it can be quite useful for your vision-crafting exercise.

Empathy Map Canvas by XPLANE

An empathy map is a design thinking tool to understand your ideal users—their pain points and expectations—and establish your product’s core functionality. 

To create an empathy map, you have to first collect data through customer surveys—ideally in the discovery phase of your product development. 

You can collect feedback from your target users through contextual Mircosurveys—and you can use Chameleon to quickly create and deploy them. Then, analyze response data to put a finger on your users' needs. Here’s what it could look like.

Finally, use this analysis to identify the potential for your product in its existing market and define your vision statement from there. 

Remember: It’s okay to be aspirational with your product vision as long as you keep your feet on the ground and focus on your users.

4. Keep it clear and cut the jargon

All great product vision examples have a few things in common:

  • Outcome-focused: They focus on the outcomes and the impact teams want to produce through their products

  • Simple language: They convey the organization’s goals and product vision in clear words and jargon-free language 

  • Short: They deliver the message as briefly as possible, making it instantly understandable to their prospective users 

  • Inspiring tone: They invoke curiosity and inspire potential customers to take action and try the product for themselves

To show all of this in action, here’s an example from Remotebase

Remotebase’s product vision is…

"To be a successful global information technology company trusted by its customers and employees for service excellence, talent recognition, and proven success potential in delivering collaborative, value-driven services."

This vision statement is to the point, outcome-oriented, and easy to understand. The statement's last part also uses an inspirational tone to motivate product teams.

5. Make it a North Star goal for your team

A good product vision guides your team at every step of the development lifecycle—from ideating and designing to iterating, testing, and prioritizing. It becomes the overarching long-term mission that everyone’s working toward. 

Put simply, your product vision is the North Star that your team is aiming for. It's the guiding light in your journey, highlighting the value you want to deliver within your product and setting you up for sustainable growth by driving higher user engagement.

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How to align your product vision with your product roadmap

A product vision encapsulates future aspirations for your product. On the other hand, a product roadmap defines how you’ll implement the product evolvement strategy and gradually bring these aspirations to light. 

Here’s how you can position your product vision and roadmap on the same track:

  • List your strategic goals for the product, and prioritize which ones come first given your vision

  • Create an action plan on how to achieve these goals and drive product-led growth

  • Design a vision statement covering these goals, customer needs, and state of the market 

  • Chalk out a draft roadmap of your product’s evolution with short-term and long-term milestones 

  • Share it with the key stakeholders for feedback and further iteration 

The alignment between vision and roadmap is the key to seamlessly executing your product strategy, clarifying business outcomes, and giving your team the autonomy to develop the app.

5 best product vision examples from SaaS companies

Whether you're building your first product or have worked on a few before, looking at real-world examples of product vision statements can always inspire your efforts. We've rounded up five vision examples to showcase how it's done.

Example #1: Drift

Drift’s product vision is short, inspiring, and customer-focused. It clearly defines the company’s identity and explains the product’s purpose in simple language.

Example #2: Outreach

Outreach has a clear vision of the future they want to create. The brand outlines its vision of an ideal future state while demonstrating how it'll fulfill this aspiration.

Example #3: Insider

Insider’s product vision captures the product’s main functionality and perfectly summarizes its end goal. It also conveys the USPs of using Insider and speaks directly to the target audience—marketers.

Example #4: Trello

Trello's descriptive product vision differentiates the tool by explaining how users can get more things done. The vision statement covers all of Trello's use cases and spotlights its biggest value prop—working together seamlessly.

Example #5: Levity

Levity’s vision statement concisely defines what the team is striving for. It’s the perfect example of how SaaS companies can succinctly capture their end goal.

Product vision templates to get you started

Now that you're gearing up to draft your product vision, use these templates to get those creative juices and hit the ground running. We'll cover four templates and two frameworks for writing your product vision.

4 product vision copy templates

To help get you started, here are four product vision templates in the mad libs format:

  1. We believe (in) a ______  [noun: world, time, state, etc.] where ______ [persona] can ______ [verb: do, make, offer, etc.], for/by/with ______ [benefit/goal].

  2. We want to ______ [verb: empower, unlock, enable, create, etc.] ______ [persona] to ______ [benefit, goal, future state].

  3. Our vision is to ______ [verb: build, design, provide] the ______ [goal, future state] to ______ [verb: help, enable, make it easier] for ______ [persona].

  4. Today, when ______ [identified group] wants to ______ [desirable activity/ outcome], they have to ______ [current solution]. This is unacceptable because ______ [shortcomings of existing solutions]. We envision a world where ______ [flaws resolved]. And we are bringing this world about through ______ [technology/approach].

Geoffry Moore’s product vision framework

Geoffry Moore’s product vision framework includes these details:

  • For: your target users

  • Who: the opportunity you’re creating 

  • The (product name) is a (product category): the name and niche

  • That: your key benefits and selling points

  • Unlike: the main competitors 

  • Our product (statement of primary differentiation): what sets you apart

Here’s an example of this template in action:

“For a mid-sized company’s marketing and sales departments who need basic CRM functionality, the CRM-Innovator is a web-based service that provides sales tracking, lead generation, and sales representative support features that improve customer relationships at critical touch points. Unlike other services or package software products, our product provides very capable services at a moderate cost.”

Roman Pichler’s product vision framework

Roman Pichler’s product vision board includes four questions:

  • What’s the target group?

  • What are the customer needs?

  • What is and will be the product and its USP(s)?

  • What are the business goals?

A product vision board example by Roman Pichler

Over to you: Your product vision won’t write itself 😊

Think of a product vision as the compass that guides your product team. It captures what, who, why, and how behind your product, enabling teams to build with greater coordination, prioritization, and efficiency. 

Remember: A product vision isn’t an isolated statement. Instead, it’s a piece of a puzzle that ultimately determines your product strategy, helps you attract ideal customers, and set your product on the path to success.

Align vision with in-app messaging

Once you craft a perfect product vision statement for your product, make sure it shines through all in-app messages you put in front of your users. Keep it all on-brand with Chameleon. No code needed 😉

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