Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Just like beauty, value is [entirely] in the eye [mind] of the customer. There is always a context to our appreciation: what is valuable to one person may not be so to another. These probably aren’t the first times that you’ve considered these sentiments, but they are important because the implications for customers are quite profound. Value isn’t something that is created by companies and sold to consumers: it is something that is co-created.

So, each of us creates an individual perspective of value: as part of our relationship with brands and businesses. This is our unique construction of value, an individual ‘psychological contract’ to accompany any physical contracts that we may have acquired.

At the most personal level these psychological contracts are as individual as we are, but there are similarities as well as differences. These patterns and likenesses allow us to work with personality and emotions to optimise value for targeted customer types.

So what are the defining features of perceived value? Well we call it the value triad: the three key factors that define value. Emotions drive customer decisions about what to buy but people also care about what economists call utility. Service designers and some academics also call it ‘jobs to be done’ (JTBD). Whether choosing or using product it’s all about the experience. Another key facet of that experience is the effort required by the customer/potential customer to achieve their desired out come. In future blogs we will look further at these factors, and how they each contribute to our individual perceptions of value.


Gareth English