The Dynamics of High-Definition Premium Value

November 9, 2005 · by James P. Cramer

Premium value is the upper most value achieved and delivered by a professional practice. This rarely occurring value is reached when a client recognizes a special relationship with their professional firm, a relationship that possesses qualities of admiration and respect for expertise, competence, and confidence approaching levels of genuine mystique.

Premium value is the upper most value achieved and delivered by a professional practice. This rarely occurring value is reached when a client recognizes a special relationship with their professional firm, a relationship that possesses qualities of admiration and respect for expertise, competence, and confidence approaching levels of genuine mystique. This level of value is marked by great diffusion – thus deserving the label “premium.”

Just how rare is premium value in professional services today? Based on Greenway’s client research, only about 14-19 percent of firms are regarded by their clients as delivering premium value; a scant few can actually describe it with clarity. Many architects and designers understand, of course, that value measures appreciation and relevancy. But putting that into practice is easier said than done. Differences in delivered value are due to broad variations in talent levels, leadership practices, differentiated processes, and the ability to meet and exceed client’s needs and expectations. High-definition premium value is a “best practice” today and qualifies for premium fees.

Greenway’s Grand Brand model uses a series of observation experiences and diagnostic tools to establish placement on a two-by-two chart that shows how firms differ in value differentiation and relevance. Clients find it quite easy to talk of value differences from one firm to the next but only in extreme upper right hand corner of the model do we achieve high-definition premium value. This is true in all the building types ranging from school districts and sports arenas to mixed use developments and art museums.

Premium value is categorical, of course, and BIM technology is one category that is changing the rules of practice and providing new definition to value. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a game changing innovation. It offers strategic advantages to those firms who understand its implications. If professional firms fail to embrace these changes, technological leadership may pass to other professional firms or enterprising businesses. Perhaps licensing laws have lulled some in the profession into thinking that traditional regulations are what define value. However, we can now see that clients value innovative solutions over traditions. High-definition premium value will most certainly include BIM in short order.

There is a world of new opportunity in the design professions. It’s not far from your reach. Ask yourself these questions: Do you now deliver high-definition premium value in your firm? Is it overt? Is it sustainable? Are you leveraging your talents using the latest technology tools? Value definitions will continue shifting and morphing. Don’t underestimate the long term implications of the latest trends; they will redefine value in the future.

—James P. Cramer

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