A vision statement is an organization's declaration of its mid-term and long-term goals, stating what they want to become in the future. Vision statements act as a goal for a company to strive toward.
Vision statements are often confused with mission statements. Mission statements focus on the present, giving a statement that declares what continually dives a company forward. Mission statements can be thought as how a company will achieve their vision statement.
Some organizations provide one or the other, and some provide a single message that combines elements of both. Strictly speaking, both messages communicate the organization's values and purpose but a mission statement focuses on current operations and a vision statement on the future. The value of both communications lies in their ability to foster positive public relations (PR).
Here are a few examples of vision statements:
Gateway Computers: To be the leading marketer of personal computer products in the world.
Amazon: Our vision is to be earth's most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Microsoft: Our vision is to provide experiences for our customers and partners, across all of their interactions with Microsoft, that they value and recognize, and enable them to realize their full potential.