The secret to growing advocacy is delighting your customers, right? Yes, but it could backfire unless you get your core offering right first.

Your core offering is the value your customers can’t do without. Imagine your offering as a skyscraper and you are competing to be the tallest building in the city. Your core is the skyscraper’s foundation and the value adds are the additional floors that would bring you to the top. If the foundation is weak, additional floors will cause the skyscraper to collapse – and it’s a long way down!

A little while ago, a phone company offered a low-cost, a high-value plan that included free text messaging. Hundreds of thousands of new phones were switched on across the country. Shortly afterwards, customers began reporting issues with their new mobile phones; they had limited to no coverage. Without coverage, the free text messaging was meaningless. Failing to meet increased customer expectations caused reputational damage and loss of revenue.

You can’t just assume that anything your organisation adds to your offering equals more value for customers; choosing the right value-add is critical. We often face this challenge with our clients. When we prototype and test ideas, we look for something in particular: ideas that offer unique value that customers haven’t seen before and that build on the core.

Value adds are seductive for any organisation, however, when you hear yourself say: “If I just add these features, it will be great”, you need to stop. Look long and hard at your offering and assess whether it’s delivering on its core first.