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We were intrigued by this article from Advertising Age about the reassessment of value. As we approach the five year anniversary of the housing market collapse and the Great Recession, we’re starting to see a shift in the way value is calculated, both by marketers and consumers.

For the longest time, “value” was marketer-speak for “cheap” (or if you were lucky, “inexpensive”). But when the 2008 recession hit, living inexpensively took on a cache of its own, shoppers bragging about the deals they were getting. Indeed, it’s unlikely Groupon would have found the great initial success it had if people weren’t willing to share the deals around.

But five years post-recession, the idea of “value” has morphed into something beyond price. The Ad Age article notes the single-use packages (such as Tide pods and Keurig K-Cups) are wooing consumers by selling convenience over price, while Oikos is using quality to justify slightly higher prices. “No longer is lowest price the critical differentiator. Now the customer wants to know he or she is getting a competitive price,” according to BrandRituals.net. “It might not be the lowest, but it needs to feel appropriate, reasonable and palatable to the customer, who will weigh it along with the other attributes when making a buying decision.”

It’s time to start assessing what value your brand offers consumers. What is it that your brand brings that no one else can? If you know what your brand stands for, the answer to that question is simple, because your value is what you are. For Zappos, it’s unparalleled customer service. For Amazon, it’s unmatched breadth and depth of products. For Tide, it’s convenience through fewer loads of laundry. If you can’t quickly answer the question of what your brand is, you’re going to have a tough time selling consumers on its value.

If the Ad Age article made one thing clear, it’s that “Brands can no longer bide their time…while waiting and hoping for consumers’ wallets to fatten.”