Value Creation is Output / Input


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Recently I was discussing setting up Value Creation Centres with Dr Jagdish Sheth of Emory Institute.

We discussed Value Creation for companies.  Dr Sheth reminded me that Value was a term popularised by the investment community, where they talked about improving the value of the companies they bought. Generally, value was created by cutting costs and improving the bottom line.

Value Creation, as we define it, impacts the bottom line and the top line. By creating value for employees, customers and partners we reduce costs because we are more efficient, because we make fewer mistakes, decrease repeat and unnecessary work, have better team work and focus.

By focusing on customers, we are able to increase loyalty and market share by using customer value management techniques and therefore, we improve the top line.

The improvement in top line and bottom line increases profits and the value of the company more dramatically, than by “cost cutting” alone.

To see the impact in Value creation, we should look at the effort, cost and time in doing a particular activity, and see what output we get. As the output/input ratio increases value is created.

Thus Indian companies can look at their CSR activities as being something essential because the government in India mandates CSR expenditure. It is viewed as a cost centre. But if designed and implemented properly, where your customers start to prefer you for your CSR activities, then increased value will be created. It is an output/input thing.

That is why we have terms such as return on marketing investment, return on assets, return on investments; all can be viewed from an increasing value viewpoint.

Study after study has shown that increasing customer value increases the profits companies make. Part of this is preference for the company; part is because of higher prices you can charge when you increase value.

If you are looking at transformation in your company, you can also look at it as an output/input system. You put in an investment of time, people and energy and maybe money. What do you get?  And if the output is greater than the input cost, then value is created.

Value is also created when you do things right for the customer. Generally, the cost of doing things right is minimal. So returns are high and the value created is high.

Social media and public relations programs create value and in some cases generate demonstrable ROI.  The two concepts are different in important ways.  They are related like the ellipse and the circle.  Remember that silly distinctions you learned in elementary school?  A circle is a ellipse, but a ellipse is not a circle.  ROI is a form of value, but not all value takes the form of ROI.

Don Bartholomew, SVP Digital and Social Media Research at Ketchum warns, however, that ROI is a financial metric – percentage of dollars returned for a given investment/cost.  The dollars may be revenue generated, dollars saved or spending avoided.  ROI is transactional.  ROI lives on the income statement in business terms.

Value is created when people become aware of us, engage with our content or brand ambassadors, are influenced by this engagement, and take some action like recommending to a friend or buying our product.  Value creation occurs over time, not at a point in time. Value lives on the balance sheet.

He defines value as increasing the number of people who are likely to buy our products and services.  Other programs may be designed to improve or protect corporate reputation or to build and enhance brands.  Much of this value is said to be intangible.  It is goodwill that becomes tangible at the point in time a transaction occurs.   When buying decisions happen, your investments in marketing, brand and reputation work together.  They become tangible.  You can measure the ROI.

The point is that value can be created in many different ways and measured by different metrics. The best metrics is Ray Kordupleski’s Customer Value Added, the Value you add to your customers divided by the value your competition adds to its customers and is measured through customer’s perceptions using market research.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gautam Mahajan
Gautam Mahajan, President of Customer Value Foundation is the leading global leader in Customer Value Management. Mr Mahajan worked for a Fortune 50 company in the USA for 17 years and had hand-on experience in consulting, training of leaders, professionals, managers and CEOs from numerous MNCs and local conglomerates like Tata, Birla and Godrej groups. He is also the author of widely acclaimed books "Customer Value Investment: Formula for Sustained Business Success" and "Total Customer Value Management: Transforming Business Thinking." He is Founder Editor of the Journal of Creating Value ( and runs the global conference on Creating Value (


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