Increasing perceived value


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Last week we made some changes at Skyhook. They weren’t big changes when you really think about them, but they seem to be making a huge difference in perception (at least so far). It got me thinking about how perception is everything.

Perception is commonly called “positioning” or “hitting an angle.” Perception makes the difference between “Disneyland is a place where you go to walk in circles all day on a giant blacktop while spending exorbitant amounts of money” and “Disneyland is a place where miracles happen and dreams come true.” For Apple, it’s the difference between what really is exceptionally over-priced computer hardware that really doesn’t out-perform.. anything, and “A beautiful, simple computer that just works. Also you’ll join a club of cool kids if you buy one.” (I am writing this from a mac).

But here’s the thing — Even though we can sit here and THINK our way right past all of the illusions and see things as they really are, we still FEEL differently. And as humans, we will make decisions based on our FEELINGS every time! That’s why perceived value is so powerful.

Here’s another example: Did you know that if we took Coca Cola and added up all of their hard assets (factories, trucks, real estate, etc.) it would add up to about $14B as of 2010, and yet their name alone is worth over $28B? That means you could buy up everything that Coca Cola owns and still only own 1/3 of the company’s value to shareholders.

Your website is often the first “taste” that your customers get of your business. Are you an excellent company hiding behind an awful website? Maybe. But you’re going to have to work pretty hard to convince your customers of that fact once they’ve already formed their opinion of you. On the contrary, a solid website can cause your customers to be so excited about doing business with you that they can’t wait to get you on the phone and give you their money. It’s all about perception.

A word of warning about increasing perceived value: if you aren’t careful to keep your actual value in check, you are running the risk of being discovered as a “spin doctor” or “big hat no cattle.” Don’t fudge it, but don’t leave money on the table either.

So, what changes can you make in your business to increase your perceived value?