In 2006 New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker was mulling the question of what makes one object more valuable than another.
What makes one pair of shoes more valuable than another pair if they both deliver on the functional basics of comfort and durability?
Why does one piece of art cost $8,000,000 and another $80?
What makes one kettle worth $20 and another nearly $400 if they both boil water?
As Walker turned these questions over in his mind he concluded that it is not the objects themselves, but the context, the provenance of the objects, that generates value.
The value isn’t contained in the objects themselves, but in the story or the meaning that the objects represent to the owner.
He decided to test this in a simple way.
He began buying random, low-value objects at charity shops.
The cost of the objects ranged from $1 to $4.
An old wooden mallet. A lost hotel room key. A plastic banana.
These were true pieces of junk.
Next he asked some writers to each write a short story that contained one of the objects. The stories weren’t about the objects but they helped to place them in context and give them new meaning.
When he put the objects along with their accompanying stories up for sale on eBay the results were hilarious.
On average the value of the objects rose 2,700%.
A miniature jar of mayonnaise he had purchased for less than a dollar sold for $51.00. A cracked ceramic horse head purchased for $1.29 sold for $46.00.
The value of these objects suddenly skyrocketed when they were accompanied by a story.
Pricing is hard.
You often feel like your either not competitive or leaving money on the table.
The end of the year is the best time to raise your prices and message to customers that now is the right time to buy. They expect it. The story fits.
As Rob Walker proved the story is crucial.
If you’re not telling the story of how your products were made in the foothills of Tibet by monks who only work one day a century then you’re missing an opportunity.
If you’re not putting your prices up for 2017 then you’re missing an opportunity.
If you haven’t booked a strategy session with me in the next 72 hours then you’re missing an opportunity.
and yes, the price will be going up in 2017.