Value Is In the Eye of the Beholder

What is the perceived value of your value-added?

Value can be an overused word at times. All of us are consumers. We know a value when it comes to purchasing. However, when it comes to your own value-added products in the marketplace, what is their perceived value? Perceived value sometimes gets confusing. In the past, it was packaging that delineated fresh commodities from fresh processed items that were labor saving. The packaged produce saved time and expense, hence there was “value” added to them that justified the higher price. However, with the increasing practice of packaging fresh commodities in a container or some sort of shrink-wrap, does that actually create value?

Well, yes. The value of your products is in the mind of your customer. Your products might not be perceived as value-added so much as they could be perceived as safer or of a higher quality by virtue of the packaging design, thus creating value.

I will give you a perfect example of an experience I had with perceived value.

I designed a foodservice shipping carton targeted toward chefs. It was an effort to appeal to their more discriminating palates when they were procuring the best available fresh product.

We developed a rather successful design that conveyed the value of their brand.

Months later, a friendly competitor ran out of cartons and asked if he could borrow a couple pallets until his carton was re-printed.

My client was happy to help him out. A couple weeks later, their boxes were delivered, and they got through their carton shortage with no gap in product delivery to their customers.

What happened next is an excellent lesson in perceived value.

The competitor who borrowed our boxes started experiencing requests for the other product – his product that was shipped in our carton designed for the discerning eye of a chef.

They perceived the product in our box with the new brand to be of higher quality, even though it was the same product, just shipped in a different carton.

It’s an interesting case study in customer perception.

I share this story with all of you because I feel that your value-added offerings can benefit from this experience.

Sometimes the “value” built into your value-added products is the effort you put into conveying the qualities of your product.

Think about it. Of all your product offerings, both past and present, wasn’t there one item that you felt was going to outperform all of them? What happened when it didn’t?

Was it because of the product, the product idea or the perception of the product?

Simply said, the perceived “value” added to your product offerings is in the mind of your customers. Appeal to their needs, concerns and tastes, instantly communicate the “value” in your value-added products through your packaging, and your products will be perceived to be more valuable.

Loralee Lyman is principal of Flipside Design, Carmel, Calif. She specializes in branding, product development and package design for the fresh-cut industry. For more information, call (831) 333-1222 or e-mail [email protected]


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