Every business strives to deliver value. Many even say so in their ‘mission statement’ or company tagline. We hear the word ‘value’ thrown around hundreds of times each day. So often, in fact, that we tend to ignore it, abuse it, neglect it, taken it for granted, or otherwise … de-value it (pun is intended).

Though we might possibly agree on a basic definition or understanding of Value; we are not likely to agree on what it IS, or how it looks. As manufacturers and marketers, we think that we get to decide what makes it valuable.

Sadly this is not the case.

The truth is; value is determined by consumers, not the designers. Because consumers are human; the things we value tend to change throughout the day, week, quarter, year, decade, even lifetime. You might value a particular blanket as an infant that falls out of favor by the time we are 5. Ten years ago; you might have seen great value in rehearsing music for two hours every day; whereas today it is more valuable as family time.

If you enjoy cheeseburgers; Wendy’s offers a Cheesy Cheddarburger for $0.99; while the Paris Las Vegas’, Le Burger Brasserie offers one for $777.00. Which is more valuable, or more valued?

Perhaps you are looking for a new car; Volkswagen starts pricing on the Jetta at $16,575; and extends to through a variety of brands they own to their luxurious Bentley Muslanne for $290,000. To some; the Jetta is more valuable than the Muslanne!

Value can be shown through larger sizes; smaller sizes; heavier; lighter; faster deliveries; plastic vs metal; metal vs plastic; custom options; portability; permanence; and so on. Though there are an infinite number of ways to deliver value; the simplest way to determine what people want is to ASK, then LISTEN.

Perhaps the best way we can deliver value is in listening to others! Listen to the words that are said, as well as the words that are not said, as well as the way they say it (or don’t say it).