Value has become hottest commodity

Wednesday September 25 2019


Firms are increasingly spending less on advertising and more on research and development in order to raise the value of their products. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By The EastAfrican

Value is the most attractive commodity in today’s world. People flow towards value like plants towards the sun. Every year there is a little known event in Kilifi, an electronic music festival, that attracts up to 10,000 people majority of whom are from outside the country.

The event is held in December to usher in the New Year and it gets packed with 80 per cent of attendees being foreigners (mostly from Europe) who fly to Kilifi just for the festival. The festival has totally woken up the Kilifi economy during the December holidays and despite not advertising on social media or any of the conventional channels they are able to pull thousands of foreigners into the country. The story gets even crazier. The festival has no local sponsors and simply sells itself.

We are living in a value era. An era where conventional advertising is reaching a tipping point. Some of the big brands have moved their advertising from prime time on television to other non-conventional platforms. These new platforms are dramatically cheaper than the normal channels.

A May 2019 Harvard Business Review titled Research & Development Spending Has Dramatically Surpassed Advertising Spending showed that since 1995, tech firms spend more than 10 per cent of expenses on R & D and less than one per cent on advertising. This could be a pointer to the fact that companies are now more concerned about getting it right the first time.

The researchers took a look at the top three companies in the Forbes’ 2018 list of most valuable brands: Apple, Alphabet (Google), and Microsoft. The conclusion was that these firms have become the most recognised and valuable brands globally not primarily through spending more on advertising but through their technology prowess and superior business ideas.

Value is the keyword for this era. Gone are the days when the consumer would endure mediocrity. We now live in an era where there is no middle road. Something is either valuable or not. This applies to organisations, individuals and even nations. The value you give out determines the value that flows back to you.


Once value is guaranteed, people have a way of flowing towards it. People somehow know how to find what is important to them, if it is good. While living in the United States, it did not take me long to find out where I could get every type of Nigerian food. It was expensive, but this is the beauty of value. Once value is established pricing is not as big a deal any more.

This is why the research and development budgets for the biggest companies in the world are more than their advertising budget. They research to create value and then leave the rest to customers.

Before asking the question, “What's in it for me,” first ask the question, “What value am I bringing in?” When you add value wherever you are, you will naturally become a value magnet attracting value wherever you are. Let's become value-centric in our approach to life.

Wale Akinyemi is the chief transformation officer, PowerTalks