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A recent article by Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times Business section was telling about the struggles of the greeting card industry to maintain relevancy when facing the competition of the internet age. In the article, Susan January, president of the Greeting Card Association is quoted as saying, "As better products have become available people are more aware how certain embellishments, like gold foil and embroidery, increase the perceived value of the card and the perceived value of their relationship."
Now, I've heard the term "perceived value" before but never gave it much thought until reading it within the context of this article. Perceived value is the subjective worth that we place on something according to our own needs or wants. The perceived value of an item might be artificially created by the marketing agent as in the case of luxury items or new products. Perception of value may also be influenced by availability and is the motivating way the law of supply and demand can increase or decrease prices.
Perceived value can be dictated by the influences of the marketplace or it can be all in our minds. When much revered technological innovation comes on the market, some people may wait in line to pay premium prices to be the first to have it in hand even though they know it will most likely be available at reduced prices later down the road. Part of their perception of value includes the prestige of being the first to own a product and their strong desire to have it in their hands now rather than later.
If gold were no longer perceived as valuable as backing for monetary systems or for jewelry and valued only in the context of its practical use in industry, the price of gold would undoubtedly plummet since it would no longer be coveted as something of extreme worth and prestige in ownership.
The collectible market works in much the same way. Certain things will gain a reputation of having a high potential of future worth and collectors will jump on board to pay premium prices. We see past fads such as beanie babies or Hummel figurines where prices soared for a while and then dropped to ridiculously low prices leaving the investors unable to get any return on the money they put into their collections. The marketplace will be influenced by economy and changing interests among other things.
Artificial market manipulation is the mainstay of companies like the Franklin Mint. Such purveyors of collectible merchandise entice speculative customers with advertising that suggests that whatever it is they are offering may increase in value eventually. They don't make promises (read the small print), but in the minds of certain ones of us who are lured by the advertising, we want to believe that we are investing in an attractive item that might one day hold great value. And I won't knock anyone for that--I've bought some of those things myself because I liked them and I wanted to believe I was making an investment in something of collectible value.
However, I am straying from the real point that I want to make here--the thoughts that came to my mind as I began to contemplate the concept of perceived value. As I pondered this concept, I began to think of perceived value as it applies to that which is not an item of merchandise or a service. What about the perceived value of friendships and interpersonal relationships, personal tastes and artistic evaluations, or accolades and kind words?
It's a certainty that the topic I'm touching upon here could become quite lengthy if it were to be examined in its totality, so I'll focus on one aspect and then allow you to take it in your own direction.
For my part, I'll consider blog posts and blog comments (and I hope this is not becoming a redundant topic). I make an attempt to produce some degree of quality in my posts and in my comments. Even when I think I am going to quickly hash out something short, I will often get carried away and will write more than I had set out to do (this post for example). When I comment, I try to leave something of substance. I want my words to have more value than something I just slapped down to be saying something. I value my words.
And now I'll toss the topic to you: What do you attach value to and how do you perceive value? What makes certain people valuable to you? Why do you have certain passions or interests? Excluding some of the obvious answers like those related to God, family, country, or pets and the like; what are some tangible things that are valuable to you?
Please visit my memoir blog Wrote By Rote. Teresa from Journaling Woman is my guest and she has a special giveaway offer.