The strategy canvas can provide a powerful strategic tool to explore customer value trade-off decisions. Armed with robust customer insights, a creative challenger mentality and the right strategic agency partner, companies can explore various unique combinations of value to create a unique value proposition for their brand.

The strategy canvas developed by Kim and Mauborgne provides an excellent strategic tool to explore the customer value trade-off decisions facing a business. Successful value innovation involves comprehensively mapping the market within a ‘strategy canvas’ plotting the comparative customer experience journeys and providing a visualised output of comparative customer value delivered within the chosen competitive set.

Fast forward to 2014 and this approach has become yet more salient. The explosion of digital and the shrinking of the global economy has created a new context in which innovation options have mushroomed. For example 3D printing is set to transform early stage product innovation with new prototyping options reducing product development timescales from years to months and sometimes weeks. Innovation within retail is equally frenetic.

Armed with robust customer insights, a creative challenger mentality and the right strategic agency partner, companies can explore various unique combinations of value in attempting to create a unique space for the brand.

Who would have imagined it possible for a global retailer the scale of Zara to create unique fashion designs in a studio in Spain, integrate the manufacture and distribution within a global retail operation and deliver the fashion clothing on-shelf around the globe in just six weeks. Zara has totally reinvented the concept of responsive mid-market high fashion retail.

This type of innovation and its success is not random. It is driven by a desire to meet and exceed customer expectations. In the case of Zara, customers want to buy mid-market affordable fashion hot off the catwalk, not six months later when the fashion is already yesterday’s news. The success of Zara within the context of such difficult trading conditions of bricks and mortar retailers is testament to the power of delivering customer value by innovating across the complete value chain of a business.

The importance of delivering superior customer value has finally reached the boardroom. It has been a gradual journey of organisational transition with each industry and company at different stages of the customer value evolutionary journey. Organisational resources are always at a premium with health and wellness firms no different. It has always been for department heads to fight for their share of these resources and for executives to manage the budget split across departments.

Customer value should be viewed as operating at a more  fundamental level. It is neither a cost nor an asset. It is the reason the firm is in business and should permeate every aspect of the organisation, and influence every significant decision. The tide is shifting. Shareholders are becoming increasingly exposed to the role and importance of customer value delivery in ensuring long term profit growth. They too are increasingly applying support but increasingly also pressure on management to ensure it remains at the forefront of business leaders minds as a philosophy for growth.