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Defining Value


We hear all the time, all over the place.

The key to wealth, relationships, and business branding.

The reason businesses fail or succeed is all up to how much value they provide.

But truly and honestly, what is "value"?

There are few words that trigger me and take me back to 12th grade physics class.

Prior to that class, I lauded myself as a great student.

However, everyday at 8:25 am I was bombarded with concepts that my brain could not comprehend.

Acceleration, velocity, speed, momentum, gravity; I could see, and read but not understand.

Today, the word “value” gives me the same vibes.

Don’t know what I mean? Here are a few definitions of the word “value” and let's see how you feel after reading these…

"Brand value is the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories, and relationships of one brand over the alternatives." - Seth Godin

"A brand's value is the emotional connection it creates with its customers, making them loyal advocates who stand by the brand through thick and thin." - Richard Branson

"The true value of a brand lies in its ability to convey a unique promise, deliver consistent experiences, and build trust among its target audience." - Angela Ahrendts

"Brand value is the intangible asset that sets a company apart from its competitors, commanding customer loyalty and allowing it to charge a premium for its products and services." - David Aaker

"In the digital age, brand value is not just about sales figures or market share; it is also about the online reputation, social influence, and overall perception of the brand in the minds of consumers." - Simon Mainwaring

I repeat, WTF IS VALUE?

Ice Cream

To be successful in branding and business, you must have an understanding of value.

However when I tried to define it , I ended up with one parallel word to define value.

Ice cream.

If you went to an ice cream shop and walked up to the clerk and said, “I’d like one ice cream please!”

What do you think she would ask you?

Exactly, “What flavor would you like?”

The same is true about value. There is not one flavor for value.

There are key ingredients that must be in the formula to make ice cream.

The same is true for making value.

So what is the base formula for making value?

Value Exchange

To start the definition of value you first must understand a term called value exchange.

“Value Exchange” is the action that occurs when people perceive that after the exchange they will have equal, different, or greater value.

The exchange of time for a meeting to discuss a business idea.

The exchange of time to hang out with a friend.

The exchange of an item for money.

The exchange of phone numbers for communication.

In order to create value we need an initial exchange.

Yet, we also need to cause people to repeatedly perform an exchange.

This leads us to the next two elements of value.

Expectations & Trust

After an initial exchange, there are two more doors that one must go through in order to build value.

Those two doors are expectations & trust.

After an exchange we all walk away with expectations, if those expectations are met, the level of trust goes up.

If those expectations continue to be met time and time again, no matter how things may change through the exchanges, Trust is developed.

Once trust is established, we finally have value.

How you decide to do that becomes nuanced depending if you are communicating in the digital world versus the tangible real world.

Let’s explore 3 ways that you can define value in each of those worlds.

Digital World

In the digital realm, value takes on new forms and challenges as technology transforms the way we engage one another.

Value is determined by the arrangement of well crafted pixels.

Users can now determine value with a swipe left or swipe right; or just doom scroll past your content.

As you present your brand online you must navigate the intricacies of perceived value, convenience value, and social value to create meaningful connections.

It is truly the only way to foster attention, interaction, expectations and eventually loyalty in a crowded virtual space.

Perceived Value
Convenience Value
Social Value

The Real World

A brand experienced in the real world has different challenges and opportunities than a brand experienced through digital means.

Value exchange is determined through interacting with a human senses.

Value exchange is also most likely done through human to human interaction.

As you present your brand in real life you must navigate the intricacies of functional value, emotional value, and cultural value.

These are the best way to start crafting trust through interaction and eventually loyalty.

Functional Value
Emotional Value
Cultural Value


Now you have 6 different flavors of value.

In the context of branding, value is a multidimensional concept.

It takes on different forms depending on weather you are communicating in the online or real-world.

Understand how perceived value, convenience value, and social value work in the online realm.

Pay attention to the functional value, emotional value, and cultural value in the real world.

Remember, delivering value is an ongoing journey that requires continuous adaptation.

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Which of these types of value do you use regularly?

Leave your answer in the comments below!

Good Luck!

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