The Value of a Value-D Score

I happened upon a fascinating study by Millward Brown on the top global brands based on their Value-D scores (Value D: Balancing Desire and Price for Brand Success).  The problem with many studies of leading brands is that the are one-dimensional:  They look at the most desirable brands in a category but they do not look at the perceived value of those brands.  For example, a large number of car buyers may say a BMW is very desirable brand but very few will purchase a BMW vehicle because of the price.

The Value-D study measures brands on two-dimensions: Desire and Price perceptions.  The Value-D score is derived by subtracting the Price score from the Desire score to measure the Gap, and then adding the Gap to 100.  Here are two examples:

Brand A: 

Desire Score (120)  –  Price Score (90) =  Gap (30)

Value-D                30 + 100 = 130

Brand B:

Desire Score (90)  –  Price Score (110) = Gap (-20)

Value-D        -20 +100 = 80

Any score over 100 is considered good because it indicates that desire outweighs price in the consumers’ mind.  The study analyzed more than 7000 global brands and identified the following as the top 10 based on Value-D score:

Global Brand  ValueD* Desire Price Category
Amazon  139 125 87 Good Value
Google  139 134 95 Good Value
Colgate  133 123 90 Good Value
Visa  128 118 91 Good Value
Tesco  126 116 90 Good Value
Nokia  126 117 92 Good Value
Pampers  125 129 105 Justified Premium
Walmart  124 113 88 Good Value
McDonald’s  124 115 91 Justified Premium
Coca Cola  122 123 101 Justified Premium

*Some Value-D Scores are off by one due to rounding of the Desire and Price scores.  Note: The version of the report on line is from February 2011.  Millward Brown gave me an update of the statistics to use in this article.



The report further used the Desire and Price scores to define brands by the following categories:

  • Good Value: Score higher on Desire than on Price – 31% of brands studied
  • Justified Premium: Score high on both Price and Desire – 11% of brands studied
  • Poor Value: Score low on both Price and Desire – 28% of brands studied
  • Expensive: Score higher on Price than Desire – 30% of brands studied

Obviously, you want your brand in the Good Value or Justified Premium categories.

In the updated statistics I received, the top three brands for Desire scores are Google (134), Pampers (129) and Nike (126).  The top three brands by Price score are Lidl (78), Easy Jet (79) and Ryanair (79), but all are under 100 on the Desire Score.  However, they score so well on Price that their Value-D scores are well over 100, which puts them in the Good Value category.

The summary version of the study available to non-clients of Millward Brown does not provide much detail on the methodology, other than to say that it is based on “data from more than one million consumers in 30 countries”.  One question I have is about the segmentation of consumers.  For example, BMW is obviously not marketing to all car buyers, so did the study break out results by income?  It could be that those consumers with incomes of more than $150,000 per year would have given BMW a lower Price score because they compare it only to other car brands they would buy, not the universe of all car brands.

Although the data on the on-line report are outdated, this short report is well worth reading to explore the concept of Value-D scores.  The insights about brands and the 10 take-aways are very valuable for anyone interested in how the Desire/Price balance impacts their company brand.



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