After a multi-year hiatus I am relaunching ValueCanuck.com as a blog. I thought I would take the opportunity with my first post to discuss what value is really about.
It seems these days we too often confuse the words “value” and “inexpensive”, and seem to use them interchangeably. I see many organizations using the word “value” in their branding when what their brands really are about is “inexpensive” products and services. In my opinion, a quality service or product offered at a fair price is much more likely to offer value than a lower quality product or service at a lower price.
A look at the dictionary description of a word usually goes a long way toward clearing up any confusion about its meaning. I often use dictionary.com as it gives me quick access to very robust definitions including a summary of synonyms for the word in question. The synonym description for these two word words quickly points out that they definitely do not mean the same thing.
“CHEAP, INEXPENSIVE agree in their suggestion of low cost. Cheap now usually suggests shoddiness, inferiority, showy imitation, complete unworthiness, and the like: a cheap kind of fur. Inexpensive emphasizes lowness of price (although more expensive than cheap) and suggests that the value is fully equal to the cost: an inexpensive dress. It is often used as an evasion for the more specific cheap.”
“UTILITY, VALUE, WORTH imply intrinsic excellence or desirability. Value is that quality of anything which renders it desirable or useful: the value of sunlight or good books. Worth implies esp. spiritual qualities of mind and character, or moral excellence: Few knew her true worth.”
That pretty much sums it up, but I think a couple of my favourite “value quotes” should drive home the point of what value is really about.
“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett
My goal with the upcoming posts on ValueCanuck.com is to offer you my assessment of the comparative value of various products, services, and organizations to help you make your purchase decisions. I hope to help you identify those offerings with the “best bang for the buck”, rather than simply the cheapest price.
In closing I would like to challenge each of you to question whether the “value” brands you see everyday really offer true value or instead simply offer inexpensive prices (or maybe neither).