Think about it this way:
What happens when you ask yourself a question?
Your mind immediately goes to work looking for the answer.
Ideation is a process of asking and answering questions. So if you’re looking for ways to add value, start asking questions that will get you focused on two critical things: what matters to customers and what is possible.
Understanding what matters to customers begins with empathy. Empathy enables you to see things from their worldview. It also recognizes the emotions driving that worldview, so you can look for ways your product or service could link to those emotions.
But how do you focus on the question of what is possible?
Thanks to new research from consulting firm Bain & Company, that is now easier to do. Bain recently published findings on the characteristics people find to be the primary drivers of value. The study found there are 30 elements of value, which can be grouped into four categories.
This data is a potential gold mine for creating value.
By combining the 30 elements of value with an understanding of your customers’ worldview you can formulate questions that will give you new ideas and new insights for creating value that differentiates your brand and builds long-term loyalty. Here are some questions to get you started:
Functional value questions
In what ways could we add features that save customers time in their tasks or transactions?
How could we improve the functionality to reduce complexity in our customer’s life?
Do customers use our product in any way to make money? If so, how can we help them make more money?
What could we add that helps reduce risks and protect customers from loss?
What features could help people become more organized in their personal or business life?
In what ways can we integrate functions or services into different aspects of our customer’s life?
How could we add ways for people to connect with other people?
What would help customers get more things done with less effort?
How could this product or service help people avoid or reduce hassles in their life?
Are there more ways we can help people save money in purchases, fees or subscriptions?
In what ways could we deliver more high quality goods or services tailored to people’s needs, wants and desires?
What would give customers a greater variety of things to choose from?
What more could we do to appeal to people’s senses (taste, smell, hear, touch, see)?
Could we provide more reliable, trusted information about a topic important to customers?
Emotional value questions
How could we help people worry less and feel more secure?
What are all the benefits we could offer to reward people for being loyal customers?
In what ways could we appeal to nostalgia and remind people of something positive in the past?
What could we do to create a more appealing form or design for our product?
How could our product or service represent peoples’ aspirations or achieved status?
What are all of the ways we could promote wellness and improve peoples’ physical or mental state?
Are there more ways to provide therapeutic value or wellbeing to customers?
How can we make it more fun and entertaining to use the product or do business with us?
What could we do to make people feel more attractive?
In what ways could we provide access to information, goods, services or other valuable items?
Life-changing value questions
What are the ways we can provide hope or give people something to be optimistic about?
How could we help people achieve self-actualization and a sense of personal accomplishment or improvement?
In what ways can we motivate people to achieve their goals?
What could we offer that helps people make a good investment for future generations?
How could we help people become part of a group identity or affiliate with people they admire?
Social Impact value question
How could we add an element of self-transcendence where customers help other people or society at large through our product or service?