You know who understands Product Vision Statements? Cobra Commander. Hear me out.
Yes, Cobra Commander leads a ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world. But most of his plans for world domination fail. Like cloning dinosaurs, or shrinking his troops so they can hide inside Christmas presents.
Eventually, the Commander comes to understand that these plans and products lack a solid vision. Once he crosses that chasm, things start to fall into place.
The Design the Box method defines a vision statement this way:
- For (target customer)
- Who (statement of the need or opportunity)
- The (product name) is a (product category)
- That (key benefit, compelling reason to buy)
- Unlike (primary competitive alternative)
- Our product (statement of primary differentiation)
Cobra Commander’s most successful plans adhere to this method. Arguably one of his most successful achievements is rebuilding his command structure after being betrayed and seemingly murdered by one of his own troops.
The key product in this venture is a brainwashing device designed to exact allegiance from his subordinates. Details remain classified, but I think the vision statement for that product would look something like this:
- For evil masterminds surrounded by cunning henchmen with a penchant for betrayal
- Who need these henchmen kept in line (and counted among the living) in order to conquer the world
- The Brainwave Scanner is a mind-control device
- That compels allegiance in the most unruly and devious of minds
- Unlike other MRI devices
- Our product guarantees complete obedience under penalty of death
This visioning exercise paid off huge dividends, enabling the Commander to execute his broader strategy of taking over the United States, unseating the Royal Family of Great Britain, and forcing France and Russia to knuckle under.
All in a day’s work for a man with a concrete product vision.
What do the members of G.I. Joe and Cobra do for fun? “The Ballad of G.I. Joe” clues us in. Includes Cobra Commander’s plan to reunite Three Dog Night (“under penalty of death!”). Starring Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore, Olivia Wilde, and Sgt. Slaughter as himself.