The short answer is: Everything
Let’s begin by first defining perceived value. Investopedia defines perceived value as:
Perceived value is the worth that a product or service has in the mind of the consumer. For the most part, consumers are unaware of the true cost of production for the products they buy; instead, they simply have an internal feeling for how much certain products are worth to them.
This definition applies perceived value to a product. It could just as easily be applied to a service. Perceived value is what makes us spend that extra $20 for a name-brand t-shirt over the bargain store’s shirt. The shirts could very well be the same quality, same material, same manufacturing. But through the presentation of the product and the branding, we as consumers attach an emotion to the product. This emotion directly affects the value we perceive the product to have which in turn directly affects the amount of money we are willing to spend on it.
So how do you affect perceived value in your business? The first step is to understand what your target audience values. Then you need to brainstorm ways to appeal to those values. For example, if your target audience values environmental consciousness, spending money to make your packaging more appealing and flashy wouldn’t do a whole lot whereas letting them know that your products are created with 100% recycled material could really add perceived value.
How else can you add perceived value? A simple strategy is in the presentation of your product itself. Apple has completely knocked this practice out of the park. Everything they release is sleek and shiny. It LOOKS expensive. The packaging is clean and even the store where you purchase the products looks like a laboratory. Everything that they do, from the lighting in the store to referring to their techs as “geniuses” adds to the perceived value of the products. When you purchase, you feel like you’ve joined an exclusive club.
This same strategy, albeit more complex, can be applied to your brand. By creating perceived value in your brand you create perceived value in your product. There are many ways to create value for your brand. From blogging to video to speaking engagements to email marketing to your website. The goal is to position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. Sort of like a more grown-up version of “Fake it till you make it.” By providing value to your customers, in the form of information, conversation and education you are creating trust between them and your brand. We automatically apply a higher perceived value to brands that we trust. It’s the same reason why all the old men in my town get their coffee at the same fast food restaurant every morning even though far superior options exist. They are comfortable with the brand, they know what to expect and they have applied a perceived value to the product that exceeds any newcomer to the scene.
Perceived value leads not just to new customers, but to repeat customers and loyal customers. Perceived value allows you to create value beyond the physical value of the product or service itself. Your brand gains more trust, your customer is more satisfied and ultimately, your business makes more money. If you can learn to view your business through the eyes of your customer and understand their perceived value, you put yourself on to the path of growth and success.