Archive for 'Value Propositions'
Michael D. Moberly December 28, 2016 ‘A business blog where attention span really matters!
As an IA (intangible asset) strategist, risk specialist, trainer, and speaker, it is my passion to guide companies and clients to recognize the business imperative to develop, assess, safeguard, and exploit their IA’s and convert them to sources of revenue, value, and competitive advantage!
As an IA strategist, the primary emphasis much of my work, on behalf of businesses and client’s, is its focus on ‘the revenue and competitive advantage side’. I find many companies and management teams invariably contend, some dismissively, others receptive to engaging the nuanced challenges and difficulties regarding their IA’s.
In the (IA) conversion processes, challenges may also emerge over control, use, ownership, and origination of particular IA’s. The materialization of either can impede not only the conversion process, but also, the projected and profitable execution of new initiatives or transactions when IA’s are in play, or possibly even provoke a party to, quite literally walk away. In today’s go fast, go hard, go global work (process) environments, unraveling and resolving business challenges or disputes about the utilization and value of IA’s warrant rapid and multi-faceted attention linked to strategic outlook and planning.
I am not suggesting all business challenges derive from misunderstandings or misgivings about IA’s, or, for that matter, adversely affect IA’s in play. However, accepting the universal economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, sustainability, and future wealth creation today, lie in – derive directly from IA’s, it’s prudent to expect there will be more business challenges related to the manner-in-which key – in play IA’s are – can be developed, acquired, valued, monetized, safeguarded, and applied in every conceivable type of transaction.
Moreover, IA development, valuation, application, and safeguards are being realized-accepted as business operation norms, not to be cordoned off as the exclusive (do not touch) domains of legal counsel and/or accounting. This makes it all-the-more essential to have, at the ready, sufficient IA operational familiarity from which deliberate, lucrative, tactical, and competitive decisions will emerge rapidly, and at will. Collectively, IA operational familiarity will mitigate most potentialities for the materialization of risk, impediments, and/or adverse (uncompetitive, non-producing) outcomes to new initiatives or transactions.
Large percentages of business relationships and transactions today develop-advance on-the-basis-of ultra-valuable and competitive advantage IA’s being in play. As such, the stakes and outcomes are consistently high. It is here that I believe, respectful and genuinely collaborative IA strategists – specialists, as myself, are positioned to…
• provide counsel – guidance for identifying, unraveling, and assessing (IA dominated) circumstances, and
• develop lucrative-competitive strategies to benefit company’s and/or client’s, mitigate risks, and identify
opportunities for further exploitation of IA’s.
To be sure, paradigms, ala the globally universal (business) shift, wherein today, 80+% of most company’s value and sources of revenue arise from non-physical – intangible assets, and substantially less so from physical – tangible assets warrants, in my judgment, respectful training, ample proof of concept, examples of successful application, and indeed, leadership. Unless or until I am invited into a business or client mass to execute each, excuses by leadership to ignore or dismiss IA’s and their contributory role and value that’s rooted solely in convention or past practice, is indeed, short-sighted.
My sense of being professional, i.e., a consultant, risk specialist, trainer, and speaker regarding matters related to IA’s is…
• not founded solely on a conventional business model of maximizing numbers of engagements and calculating-differentiating costs and revenue.
• to serve as a learned venue to respectfully articulate and elevate businesses operational familiarity with their IA’s, which is being achieved through my 720+ long form posts at the ‘Business IP and Intangible Asset Blog’ I created in 2006, and the 70+ national and international presentations, seminars, and invited (small group) discussions.
• to avoid commencing any engagement by undemocratically assuming my experience, intellect, and work products exceeds or subordinates comparable qualities held by companies, firms, management teams, and clients.
• to emphasize – demonstrate IA development must strategically mesh with revenue generation, value creation, and competitive enhancement.
• to bring relevance and clarity to IA operability that is embedded with respectful guidance for applying IA’s strategically, profitably, and mitigate, as much as possible, the inevitable risks.
Michael D. Moberly December 26, 2015 – ‘A business blog where attention span really matters’!
Any decision maker today, on behalf of their business or organization is obliged to recognize IA’s (intangible assets) are just that, they are indeed intangible, i.e., intellectual, structural, competitive, and relationship capital. The individual and/or collaborative ways IA’s contribute to value, revenue, and competitiveness when effectively captured (exploited and utilized) are non-physical, thus not amenable to many of the conventional (human) senses.
It is here, I wish to convey an example which emerged earlier this week through a locally produced NPR (National Public Radio) program wherein a panel of city marketing specialists discussed findings of a recent study that measured, compared, and contrasted specific categories of what I refer to as ‘competitive economics’ among comparably sized U.S. cities, one of which of course is St. Louis. One aspect of this study calculated ‘average daily commute times’ (to-from work) among the respective cities.
This panel touted lower average commute times for St. Louis as constituting as an attractive – enticing differentiator to prospective companies and their labor force. Interestingly, the panelists articulated ‘commute time’, somewhat mistakenly in my view, in a tangible (physical) asset context. To be sure commute times are important, for some, more than others when narrowly conveyed in minutes of actual – daily windshield time.
One’s commute time is an intangible (asset), because it is quite personal, i.e., relative to each driver-passenger in an auto, bus, or light rail, and dependent on the presence-absence of countless variables which variously affect one’s perspective of specific commutes of which few can be (tangibly) mitigated aside from experience and familiarity with a locale, and inclination/willingness to execute alternatives. Otherwise, ‘average commute times’ are, in my view, akin to presumptive aspirations.
The point I wish to make here may be interpreted by some as being superfluous minutia which has little or no relevance to commute times. Oh, but it does! Any business management teams’ inability to distinguish tangible (physical) assets from intangible (non-physical) assets and dismissing – trivializing the latter’s contributory role and value is a sure path to missed opportunities.
Mr. Moberly is an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist and author of ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ published by Elsevier in 2014.
Michael D. Moberly December 22, 2015 Where attention span really matters’ IA’s (intangible assets) have obviously become irreversibly permanent fixtures – components to most organization’s economics, i.e., their primary sources of value, revenue, and competitive advantage, etc.
And, interestingly, global (business) economies still remain in the earliest of stages, relatively speaking, of the underlying knowledge (IA) era. Through my lens anyway, as an IA strategist and risk specialist, this leaves organizations and their management teams fully obliged to push most conventional (tangible asset) thinking, strategy, and practice about where, when, and how their value, competitiveness, and revenue originate and/or evolve aside and genuinely engage – undertake initiatives intended to achieve the important and necessary eureka moment of ‘I get it’!
However, most organizations and their management teams, frequently gravitate to distinguishable ‘operating cultures’, i.e., the quantitative (tangible) vs. the qualitative (intangible). At that, it would indeed be a misinterpretation and miscalculation should any reader assume the intellectual and structural preparations for engaging an organization’s IA’s to be too disruptive to its culture and/or exceed managerial comfort zones to continue.
On the other hand this may prompt some organization management teams to ask; what type-level of thinking is necessary to effectively cross the chasm from the tangible to the intangible? Perhaps the appropriate response to that question lies in the professional irresponsibility to assume that chasm of IA thinking can be squeezed into bumper sticker ‘sloganisms’ to indulge a presumptively narrow attention span.
There is indeed a thought leader responsibility to assume that matters related to their organization’s IA’s, warrant articulate clarity to think – act differently about when, where, how, and the circumstances which organizational value, competitive advantage, and revenue originate, develop, and convert. An intent of course is to present organizational leadership with relevant and respectful insight and perspective for…
- recognizing how IA’s individually, collectively, and collaboratively contribute to value, competitiveness, and when addressed effectively favorably impact an organization’s community.
- drawing attention to the various ways value – competitive advantage attaches and contributes.
Michael D. Moberly May 22, 2015 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!
Trust between employers and employees and companies and customers (clients, consumers, etc.) is an essential and very relevant IA (intangible asset) to most company’s profitability and sustainability, irrespective of sector. Through my lens, at least in business contexts, trust is embedded in – translates as relationship capital and reputation, additional key IA’s, and, as such, play increasingly significant roles in articulating, materializing, and sustaining a company’s value proposition. But trust, like many other ‘business’ terms, are frequently prey to individualized definition and translation.
Sarcastically, when I see – hear one, in a leadership role, take a podium to evangelize about the importance of trust, I find it prudent, to recognize who, for what purpose, and the context in which they are endeavoring to characterize trust. In other words, I often find expressions of trust to be circumstance and/or context specific, but sprinkled with sufficient commonalities tantamount to self-serving glue that allows the definition to retain a semblance of palatability.
Trust, like numerous other business terms, is receptive to being defined in a manner that reflects a speaker’s circumstance to casts them in a preferred (positive) light vis-à-vis their customers, clients, superiors, and/or consumers, something which I would advise Barclays, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, and the Royal Bank of Scotland, aka “The Cartel” to not try waste resources to argue, for some time, once again.
Aside from the financial services sector, many of us remain inclined to feel that someone whom we presume possess perspectives and values similar to our own can, and should be worthy of our trust. Thus, we would likely be receptive to their overtures. More specifically, when I am engaged with individuals, in business and IA management-safeguard initiative, whom there there is evidence of shared commonalities, it’s likely I will be inclined – receptive to feeling they have my interests in mind.
That sense of course, emanates from another assumption which is, one’s present – past experiential commonalities serve as emotional entrées to trust. One might go so far as to suggest when we are surrounded by people whom we believe are like us, there will be a reciprocating inclination of trust.
Trust is a feeling, and thus a distinctly human experience says Simon Sinek. But, merely doing everything one has expressed – been interpreted as a promise you would do, does not robotically mean people will trust you. Instead, it more objectively translates that you may be reliable. To drill down further on this, most of us have friends who, by reasonable standards of assessment, could be characterized as not being particularly reliable or trustworthy, yet, because they are like us, we are inclined to trust them and remain friends, claims Sinek.
Trust is important because, when one is in the presence of individuals with shared beliefs, we are more confident – receptive to engage in some level of risk taking, experimentation, or exploration which, it’s likely we would not be inclined to do otherwise. After all, our personal – professional survivability and sustainability are, arguably dependent upon our ability to surround ourselves – serve with others with shared beliefs!
(This post evolved from NPR’s ‘Ted Radio Hour’ that aired on May 15, 2015, hosted by Guy Raz with a segment conducted by Simon Sinek, an adjuct to RAND Corporation.)
Michael D. Moberly May 4, 2015 ‘A blog where attention span really matters.!
I am confident an experienced business person who possesses an operational familiarity with intangible assets…could devise a viable and mutually receptive strategy to ‘monetize’ un-used, under-used, or ineffectively used IA’s (intangible assets) emanating from public service – policing cultures.
This suggestion is not a poorly disguised twist for continuing to utilize traffic citations as sustaining a revenue pipeline for municipalities…Instead, when it comes to policing and the variously nuanced operational cultures that quite naturally, yet invariably evolve, there remain a percentage whose mission statement and culture emanates from a conventional – time honored ‘protect and serve’ model or some variation. Unfortunately, the ugly realities of some police cultures have surfaced in Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, and other cities over the past 9-12 months. Citizens have witnessed the rudderless ambiguity of such presumptive branding that is, at minimum we find to have become irreconcilably disconnected from its citizen consumers.
The ‘protect and serve’ models have their origins in another period of U.S. law enforcement reformation which commenced in the early 1970’s following the deeply rooted tensions embedded in urban areas throughout the U.S. which sparked hard and tragic lessons which it is certainly not rocket science to draw valid comparisons to what has been witnessed of late. To suggest otherwise is to ensure repetition is just another generation away.
The objective here is to not ‘naval gaze’ on the actions of a few, remove them and quickly, but translate the principled actions of the vast majority…into policing intangible assets that deliver – generate value to citizens and their communities and neighborhoods on many levels. In most instances the assets, intangible as they are, can be individually or collectively ‘monetized’ as internal pride and external responsibility – attractivity for infrastructure investments.
Let’s not delude ourselves that policing ‘brand’ which has been revealed in such public ways, particularly since August, 2014, will not be ‘re-branded’ easily or quickly. Citizens are far to realistic and savvy for that. Here, time and constructive and affirmative action and behaviors are the predicates to effective and meaningful (culture) re-branding.
Now please, bear with me while I explain what I mean by ‘monetizing’ police culture…yes, I am an advocate of genuinely exploring strategies for ‘monetizing’ communities’ IA’s produced by normative cultures, but, such initiatives have two key components, i.e., they require…
- leadership and foresight to recognize the intangible economic – competitive advantage benefits that will accrue to communities that execute well defined and normative (public service and public safety) cultures, and
- understanding about how to effectively exploit those assets for their value-add features, i.e., community-neighborhood reputation, goodwill, image, and existing and prospective user attractivity, etc.
Specifically, public safety departmental cultures can be legitimate and exploitable (IA) catalysts to illustrate a community – neighborhood record of consistently safe, receptive, inclusive, and an otherwise attractive locale worthy of investment(s) in business, education, property value, and the critical symbolism framed by ‘we care what happens’!
A starting point is recognizing that in most instances, an organization’s culture is a verb, not a noun…in other words culture development and maintenance requires action, leadership, and consistent monitoring in order for a normative (police) culture to materialize and become self- sustaining.
Public safety department cultures are nothing particularly new…they have existed for generations. In the present context however, once a culture of like-minded individuals (employees) band together for reasons other than professional camaraderie, problems and challenges are all but sure to follow!
For a myriad of reasons and rationales, some individuals are compelled to seek out and band together with other like-minded individuals for defense, mutual support, or to accommodate a felt or acquired personal need which in turn, may manifest into an accumulation of very personalized IA’s, i.e., reputation, image, perceptions, affiliations, intellect, capabilities, fears, etc. In these circumstances, a cultures’ rationale sometimes intensifies prejudice and xenophobic attitudes antagonistic toward particular groups of citizens, i.e., racial, ethnicity, etc.
Organizational cultures, and the sub-cultures either can spring are often intertwined collections of IA’s embedded in individual – group sociology and psychology…the product and presence of which may be the product of perception or direct observation, i.e., as sets of actions or inactions which either adhere to or disregard social norms, departmental policies, or the law.
Long before there is evidence that an organization’s culture has gone ‘off its rails’ by deviating from its core, police leadership have an obligation to take action to modify it, ensure its return to a true state, and then monitor it…which are, in essence, fiduciary duties – responsibilities for taking the necessary steps to re-direct that subcultures’ rationale and monitor it for assurance and compliance.
Of course, when a (sub-) culture of negativity becomes rooted in – receives its spirit from higher echelons of a departmental or city administration, the positive actions and interactions of an individual officers can seldom sufficient to favorably influence the whole or quickly reverse what individual ‘bad actors’ may have already done.
In those instances, my counsel to good officers is to resign yesterday and seek employment in departments with leaders who recognize the all important but often unrecognized IA’s officers bring and deliver to each shift.
Integral to any prescription for reclamation – reversal of an already adverse (police) culture, is recognizing…that police are routinely the quintessential first responders to community and neighborhood challenges, particularly where there has already been multi-generational neglect and dismissiveness which can cascade into adjacent areas. It’s reasonable to conclude then, adverse police cultures are often products of a generation of mutual disintegration of trust which spark persistent antagonism and tension.
Ironically, circumstances like this and become entrées and rationales for collaborative culture leadership…by putting in place (oversight, monitoring, and assessment) practices which respect a community’s socio-economic circumstances.
But, cultivating a normative organizational culture for policing and public safety…requires principled and thoughtful leadership, wisdom, time, and the intellectual curiosity to recognize factors that influence culture development and sustainability. There are ample (anecdotal) indicators that ‘good to great’ leaders are concerned about it, pay attention to it, endeavor to achieve it, and realize it’s important to monitor it. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all or snap-shot-in-time methodology to repair or develop a proper organizational culture that fully matures overnight.
Seldom can positive organizational cultures be wholly replicated elsewhere by a competitive organization…admittedly the term competitor may appear more relevant to private – for profit sectors rather than police – public safety departments
Through my lens however, the community wide competitive advantage deliverable by public sector (policing) entities particularly those serving urban, lower socio-economic communities and/or neighborhoods experiencing gentrification.
Again, as a long time intangible asset strategist and risk specialist, I am confident, city administrators would find it beneficial to explore how their public service and public safety cultures’ can materialize to produce valuable and sustainable competitive advantages.
Michael D. Moberly June 12, 2014 ‘A long form blog where attention span really matters’.
Thinking strategically leads to transformational changes in law firm planning… Frequently I hear thinking and planning strategically characterized as managerial luxuries which can only occur in isolation when law firm managing partners are not consumed with a daily barrage and demands of putting out fires and mending various fences. Further complicating a law firm’s best efforts to engage in genuine strategic thinking and planning is a reality that a significant percentage of firms manage – operate their practice through quite conventional, hierarchical, and vertically siloed rule sets with substantial, if not total practice area autonomy. . Should the above be a reasonably accurate reflection of law firm management, which I’m quite comfortable in saying it is, it’s understandable why most law firms remain removed from, or worse, oblivious to the irreversibly intertwined and intangible asset dominated (global) business transaction environments in which clients’ intangible assets are routinely in play, at risk, and absent effective management. I do not believe it is a tremendous leap from the key implications found in the Stone v Ritter (911 A.2d 362 (Del. 2006), that law firm managing partners would have an obligation if not a fiduciary responsibility, not unlike their business clients, to ensure their firm achieves operational familiarity with intangible assets and incorporates same as a collaborative practice area geared toward the assets’ management, stewardship, and oversight on behalf of clients’.
Irreversible and global economic facts and business realities… So, what’s being advocated here is quite straight forward, that is, law firms that want to remain profitable and sustainable are obliged to engage in strategic planning that will pave the way for offering and delivering relevant services related to the management, stewardship, and oversight of clients’ intangible asset related services. This commences by firms’ managing partners and practice area attorneys recognizing…
- it is a global economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability lie in – evolve directly from intangible assets which includes variations of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, reputation, brand, and competitive advantages, etc.
- a company’s intangible assets are almost always in play and at risk in new initiatives, product/service launches, and other types of business transactions, etc.
- business client’s intangible assets are not a lesser or subordinate form of intellectual property, instead, IP is actually a subset or one category of intangible assets.
New strategic thinking and planning for law firms… Collectively, these irreversible global economic business realities warrant immediate strategic thinking and planning that allow law firms to reflect on and accommodate the range of expanded range of legal services that emanate from the permanency and dominance which intangible assets have become in today’s increasingly complex, yet intertwined business (transaction) environment. Importantly, intangible asset relevance is not limited to the legal profession, but also to the professional disciplines of accounting, valuation, security, risk management, and financial services, among others.
Misreading the global economic tea leaves… An unfortunate misreading of these economic and business tea leaves would be for any entity, law firm, or other, to assume this paradigm shift (from tangible – physical asset dominance to intangible – non-physical asset dominance) has yet to arrive. The fact is, it’s already here and for those who care to look, there has been an abundance of advance notice. For example, The Brookings Institution and Dr. Baruch Lev’s work on intangibles commencing in the mid to late 1980’s, along with comparable initiatives by the Athena Alliance headed by Dr. Kenan Jarboe, the Intangible Asset Finance Society headed by Dr. Nir Kossovsky and a host of other thought leaders like Jonathan Low and Mary Adams recognized early on the impact of intangible assets on businesses and global economies in general. Importantly, intangibles have come to be the ‘building blocks’ for most all companies’ value, sources of revenue, growth, profitability, and sustainability! For me, it is the epitome of misreading the global economic, business transaction, and competitive advantage tea leaves for any multi-service (practice area) law firm to argue that intangible assets should not play an integral role in their strategic thinking and planning!. Respectfully, I recognize that many law firms remain steeped in generations of convention and past practice that inhibits an organization on many levels, from genuinely considering such an initiative because, among other reasons, at first blush, it may appear so operationally disruptive that it could be characterized as being akin to blasphemy to conventional and time honored practices of client service offerings, delivery, and management. . One thing is assured however, emanating from these economic facts is the reality that business clients, regardless of sector, will, with increasing frequency, seek legal services variously related to the stewardship, oversight, management, and commercialization and/or monetization of the array of nuanced intangible assets they produce internally or acquire externally. But, let there be no ambiguity, law firms’ whose strategic thinking and planning do not fully explore and preferably incorporate a new array of intangible asset related services to accommodate client needs and expectations, will likely experience falling revenues and client pushback. Admittedly, not all business clients have achieved sufficient operational familiarity regarding their management, stewardship, and monitoring of their intangible assets to articulate with clarity and specificity what legal services they need today and in the future. Thus, prudent law firms will endeavor to get our front of their go fast, go hard, go global clients and prepare relevant services so the firm can create its own competitive advantages by being ‘first on the block’ to have intangible asset services readily available to accommodate the inevitable client need.
A good first start is for law firms to assess some conventions… A good first start for firms to achieve the level of (intangible asset) understanding, strategic thinking, and planning advocated here, is by dismissing any notion that intangible assets are either singularly synonymous, interchangeable with, or short term subsidiaries to intellectual property (IP) or business goodwill. Law firms that elect not to strategically delve into the obvious relevance of intangible assets to each practice area can expect to experience not only revenue stagnation, but may likely, in a growing number of instances, find themselves having to significantly downsize or possibly face firm dissolution. True, firm dissolution may not occur today or tomorrow, but as additional global universality of intangible asset regulation and oversight comes to fruition, those law firms that continue to be dismissive of intangibles will be essentially conducting business strictly in the confines of convention, and not in the context of externalities. So my counsel to law firms and their managing partners is to engage in strategic planning that includes a strong and collaborative vision that encompasses a firms’ (a.) organizational structure in terms of how its various practice areas and expertise can be aligned to better address clients’ intangible asset (service) needs, and (b.) become more accommodating to the inevitable global universalities related to intangibles. In other words, attorney’s and their respective practice areas must be fully integrated to a lucrative solution by (a.) helping structure the firms’ future to meet its future, and (b.) start annunciating and exploiting a firm’s new competitive advantages created by offering intangible asset legal services.
Paths to elevating client relationships, satisfaction, and service delivery favorables… Frankly, in 2014, and for the foreseeable future, I would be hard pressed to devise a rationale why every law firm should not achieve an intimate operational familiarity with each of their clients’ intangible assets, and incorporate same in their strategic plan as tools to…
- brand a law firm as being a leader in intangible asset stewardship, oversight, and management, which in turn will
- enhance competitiveness by providing legitimate grounds to (a.) re-engage existing clients, and (b.) engage new/prospective clients
Again, law firms that choose to be dismissive of strategic planning and do not adjust and create intangible asset relevant services should expect to experience stagnation in client relationship satisfaction and service favorables. So, it’s not a matter of when, rather it’s a matter of where and how law firms respectfully intervene on behalf of clients’ intangible assets. More specifically, while a firms’ tactical speed, i.e., the efficiencies of it service delivery, etc., remain important, being dismissive of strategic speed for developing services specific to intangibles, can confound a firms attorney’s, its practice areas, and certainly its clients. So, a law firms’ strategic plan should be designed and executed, as the adage goes, to ‘avoid continuing to skate where the puck is now, rather skate to where the puck will be’. Law firms strategically guided by aligning each service – practice area to clients’ intangible assets will most assuredly elevate their long term sustainability and revenue streams. So, it is prudent to recognize how we think, and what we think!
Michael D. Moberly February 18, 2014 ‘A blog where attention span really matters!’
Respectful suggestions to security product developers, manufacturers, marketers, and sales…
Let’s start by accepting the economic fact that an expanding majority of our work, business transactions, R&D and manufacturing, etc., occur in a ‘globalized’ economy that is increasingly rooted in intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, i.e., intangible assets which now constitute 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, sustainability, and profitability.
But, let’s also accept another reality, which is, while the above economic fact is routinely born out in numerous studies, starting, in my view, with The Brookings Institute’s Intangibles Project evolving over several years in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s culminating in the publication of ‘Unseen Wealth’ authored by Margaret Blair.
Unfortunately, however one may wish to call it, e.g., an economic fact or new business operational reality, neither has yet to become so self-intuitive to be permanently affixed to management team and c-suite radars or dashboards.
The initial step is to develop an understandable ‘pitch script’…
Regardless, this irreversible consequence of an economy and its business transactions being rooted in intangible assets, it becomes all the more essential for security product and/or system R&D, manufacturing, marketing, and sales to develop ‘pitch scripts’ that bring clarity to prospective clients – buyers insofar as recognizing the various ways a company can elevate its value, add sources of revenue, and solidify its sustainability, profitability, reputation, stature, image, goodwill, and relationship capital, merely through effective utilization of intangible assets already embedded in security services, products, and/or systems.
Too, a well designed and articulated ‘pitch script’ that brings clarity to security intangibles will elevate prospective client – buyer receptivity to paying a premium and also recognize the return on security investment (ROSI) that ‘security intangibles’ produce to favorably affect a company’s bottom line.
Well developed and articulated pitch scripts, says Dale Furtwengler, an especially intuitive St Louis-based business strategist and author of ‘Pricing for Profit: How To Command Higher Prices For Your Products and Services’ play a significant role in increasing the probability prospective clients/buyers will be inclined to make quicker buying decisions, while again, paying a premium.
Bringing real circumstance-environment specific clarity and relevance to ‘security intangibles’ also contributes to company’s achieving their strategic objectives. For example, when users of an environment, e.g., retail, office space, etc., feel (sense) their environment respects their patronage and/or productivity by introducing relevant security measures the outcomes are experiencing elevations in repeat customers – clients, or achieving a more productive and elevated employee retention rate.
Furtwengler also points out that the more clarity sales persons bring to buyers…
- leads to more informed decisions, and
- reduces the probability that buying decisions will be postponed.
A critical prelude to achieving success, Furtwengler emphasizes, and certainly no disagreement here, are that effective ‘pitch scripts’ must also describe…how to calculate the monetary value of the intrinsic (intangible) value which a vendor or consultants’ services and offerings will actually provide!
Furtwengler’s experience tells us further that when prospective buyers find themselves unable to distinguish one vendor’s services, products, or systems from another’s, a prospective client/buyer will likely and quickly turn to the conversation to (product) pricing. When this occurs, it generally translates as…
- the act of articulating and/or distinguishing the intrinsic (or, intangible) value a security product produces has not been effective, thus
- a prospective client or buyer may be inclined to view similarly competing offerings as distinctions without a difference.
That’s because, when this critical component is not credibly integrated into one’s ‘pitch script’, pricing becomes the dominant differentiator because many prospective buyers believe price to be the only remaining means to distinguish proposals and is something which business decision makers readily understand.
Furtwengler, certainly an experienced practitioner, draws attention to another reality, which is, most prospective buyers actually ‘expect to pay more to get more’, but only if ‘getting more’ adds actionable value and is recognizable to them, or users or consumers as a positive.
While acknowledging other issues and/or dynamics may be in play, Furtwengler wisely translates this as a vendors’ ability to…
- achieve quicker buying decisions, and command higher fees is substantially dependant on their ability to
- articulate the greater (security intangible) value their product and/or service will produce, coupled, of course, with a
- demonstration of specific strategies how that value can be monetized to benefit the buyers’ respective needs and demands as well as those of the users environment.
Admittedly, as Furtwengler respectfully emphasizes, and, as an intangible asset strategist, I must agree, it’s important to recognize that ‘the greater value’, i.e., security intangibles, initially derive from the deployment of tangible – physical assets, i.e., security products and/or systems.
It is at this point that Furtwengler describes the necessity for ‘value propositions’ which are what most prospective buyers of security products and systems will attach value to which I have taken some liberties of Furtwengler’s work, conveyed below, to hopefully render value propositions specifically relevant to security product-system sales. That is, value propositions should include, at minimum, these five components, i.e., security…
- Products’ innovative image: As this accrues it can manifest to elevate a company’s image and stature by being associated with and deploying specialized (leading edge) security – asset protection products.
- Vendors’ integrity and trust worthiness: As this manifests during sales calls, it manifests as reducing the amount of time required for a prospective client – buyer to make their buying decision.
- Product service and dependability: Simply stated, this means ‘doing it right the first time’ so clients-buyers do not lose time, patience, or deplete the products’ image and integrity of the vendor later due to expensive remediation and ‘down time’ before product/system deployment is fully operational.
- Vendor and/or sales reps’ must be very knowledgeable about the product or system they are selling: This translates as time savings. That is, one who knows their product well and can clearly articulate same in understandable terms, are helping prospective clients/buyers to recognize (a,) what they really want, need, and value to mitigate risks/threats,(b,) relative to their specific circumstance or environment.
- Speed andconvenience of the products’ integration/application into the buyers’ environment: For a prospective client this translates as time savings which can be a significant factor in buy – don’t buy decisions, especially when (a.) there are similarly competing products in play, and (b.) there is an immediate need for a particular security – asset protection product.
The ‘FUD’ factor…
I have never been a proponent of utilizing the FUD factor, i.e., sewing seeds of fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of prospective clients-buyers perhaps through highly dramatized examples, as being a very respectful persuasion tool. I admire Furtwengler for excluding this still widely used practice, particularly when security, risk, and threat issues are in play as a presumptive starting point for a sales call. Admittedly, playing the ‘FUD card’ may be difficult to resist, especially if a prospective client has already had a risk – threat materialize, but still exhibits reluctance, dismissiveness, or is slow to make a buying decision.
Fortunately, I now see more security product-system vendors who previously found comfort in commencing sales calls with dramatized narratives that included highly subjective FUD factor aspects, now opting to incorporate variations of ‘security intangibles’.
I am most confident, security product developers, manufacturers, and vendors would be well served by adapting and incorporating variants of this language in their marketing/promotional materials and sales pitch scripts. Again, the rationale for incorporating this language is that today’s business environment is global, increasingly competitive and predatorial, and dominated by intangible asset intensive companies, whether their leadership – management teams’ acknowledge it or not.
In other words, it’s obligatory today that security product’s, and how they are developed, manufactured, marketed, promoted, and ultimately ‘pitched’ reflect these irreversible and paradigm shifting economic facts and business realities particularly as management teams, c-suites’ and boards become more operationally familiar with intangibles and their associated fiduciary responsibilities.
Inspiration for this post largely rose from various messages conveyed in Dale Furtwengler’s fine book ‘Pricing for Profit: How To Command Higher Prices for Your Products and Services’.
Michael D. Moberly February 17, 2014 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!
I have been advocating for sometime the importance of articulating the additional value security systems, services, and products deliver, which I refer to as ‘security intangibles’. I would be remiss however, if I failed to note that, in today’s increasingly security conscious and (security) standards-compliance driven environments, those desiring to espouse – leverage ‘security intangibles’ should be aware that…
- legal counsel may caution public articulation because, they believe, by doing so, may unduly heighten user expectations, thus if/when a risk/threat does materialize, a company may subject itself to elevated liability exposures.
- intangible assets, by their nature, lack a conventional sense of physicality which some find far too esoteric to frame in product marketing materials or sales pitches, that sufficient enough to constitute a competitive advantages and/or client – user premium.
- intangible assets are routinely portrayed – reported, almost exclusively in accounting and valuation contexts. There is little broad-based familiarity how to convert ‘security intangibles’ in terms of what security products and/or services produce, outside those conventional parameters.
- some security practitioners hold the perspective that public announcements about the presence-use of security products and/or systems undermine (their) potential deterrent effects, and thus compromise the benefits they could produce.
Admittedly, these perspectives are understandable and even somewhat challenging to refute. However, based on my own, sometimes daily experiences in responding to these issues from various professional sectors, buyers (companies) are, as suggested, dismissing substantial value if they overlook or are dismissive of ‘security intangibles’, i.e., goodwill, reputation, and image, etc. And, by overlooking security intangibles, individual user imagination and perception becomes the dominant interpretive variable in which users come to draw their own, albeit subjective conclusions which may not take into account the value-added and risk – threat prevention premiums, i.e., ‘feel good, feel safe, be productive’ or security intangibles.
Collectively, this should remind buyers of security products, systems, and/or services of the economic fact – business reality that 80+% of most company’s value and sources of revenue, etc., evolve directly from intangible assets. Thus, user expectations, i.e., the necessity to ‘feel safe, feel secure, and be productive’ can be legitimately and prudently articulated in the form of the contributory value and competitive advantages rooted in security intangibles.
Convergence of environmental design and security…
Building and environmental design and security intangibles can, and frequently do converge. For example in a security product (vendor) presentation I recently witnessed, it was clear the product had multiple potential selling points and numerous environments where this product could be deployed and would likely exceed buyer and user expectations.
Unfortunately however, the products’ inventor either did not recognize or chose not to incorporate either in her presentations or sales calls. And again, this left the variously attractive and unique security intangible features of the product to the imagination, assessment, and measurement of uninitiated prospective buyers.
Had this security product inventor, turned vendor, developed a sales script narrative, something which I encouraged him to do, to artfully describe the products’ security intangibles and then demonstrate how to strategically bundle same, I have no doubt prospective client-buyer receptivity would be substantially elevated because, among other things, there would have been more measurable clarity and breadth to return-on-security-investment objectives.
Intangible asset value multipliers and risk mitigators…
Again, all too frequently, contributions intangible assets make to company value and/or serve as underliers or preservers of sources of revenue, are overlooked, neglected, or outright dismissed. One reason is that these important and relevant attributes may not be so obvious to the uninitiated because conventional assessment is obscured by (a.) intangible assets’ lack of physicality, and (b.) company management teams and procurement personnel do not know precisely where or how intangibles can be accounted for, e.g., reported on balance sheets or financial statements, or whether they should even be reported at all.
Collectively, these circumstances lend themselves to the value add and competitive advantage elements of security intangibles remaining unrecognized, un-protected, undervalued, or not valued at all.
So, why is it necessary to acquire an operational familiarity of intangible assets…?
Because I am an intangible asset strategist and risk specialists, I routinely and respectfully characterize intangible assets to prospective clients and/or company management teams as being akin to the proverbial ‘hand in front of our face in a pitch dark room’. That is, they’re often developed internally, sometimes over time, and become embedded in a company’s routine operations, processes, and functions, but, in many instances, remain under a management teams’ mba – tangible (physical) asset oriented radar and thus seldom reach prominence on their respective ‘dashboards’.
Similarly, company’s engage in countless HR-related functions as well as a range of business transactions in which the intangible asset components of either go unnoticed, unused, and seldom effectively exploited.
So, why, or how, I’m often asked, is it beneficial and necessary for company management teams, c-suites, and procurement personnel to acquire an operational familiarity with intangible assets now? And, how can such familiarity translate as multiplier effects and risk mitigators as the title of this post suggests?
The answer of course lies in being able to recognize, position, and exploit a company’s intangible assets, be they security intangibles or others, with the objective to extract as much value as possible in the form of generating favorable reputation, image, goodwill, and competitive advantages, etc., for the duration of the assets’ contributory value – functionality cycle.
Ultimately, it seems to me that when 80+% of a company’s value and sources of revenue either lie in or evolve directly from intangible assets, management teams are obliged to…
- begin exercising consistent, effective, and sufficient stewardship, oversight, and management of their intangible assets, and
- sustain control, use, ownership, and monitor the assets’ value, materiality, and risk.
Outcomes and multipliers of effectively incorporated security products…
Other, equally valuable and beneficial outcomes, i.e., multipliers of effectively incorporated security products, systems, and/or services include…
- recognizing the initial objective is to identify, unravel, and safeguard the sources of value which, in this case, the ‘security intangibles’ deliver to consumers and users of the environments in which they have been deployed.
- adding predictability to outcomes of materialized risks – threats buttressed by objective calculations for assessing people and property (asset) vulnerabilities, preventing, mitigating, and/or restricting potential cascading effects and their collective relevance to achieving projected returns, sustaining competitive positioning and internal – external synergies, efficiencies, and reputation.
- reducing the probability the ‘security intangibles’ will become a breeding ground of sorts, to costly, time consuming, and momentum stifling exposures and legal challenges that will erode and/or undermine security intangibles’ value, performance, and/or a company’s competitive advantages, reputation, image, and goodwill, etc.
- providing a durable foundation for aligning security intangibles’ utilization and exploitation with (a.) continuity-contingency planning, (b.) organizational resilience, (c.) risk management, and (d.) a company’s strategic business objectives.
- contributing to building a relevant and company specific operational culture attuned to security intangibles’ and the various ways they contribute value.
- treating the procurement and deployment of security products, systems, and/or services as genuine business decisions and not solely legal, accounting, or compliance processes.
- creating segues for converging security intangibles to achieve more timely awareness and thus opportunities to mitigate or restrict potential cascading affects of risks or threats that have materialized.
- providing an effective foundation for introducing knowledge management initiatives and balanced scorecard approaches to a company.
Security intangibles’ produced by security products, services, and/or systems…
- can be enterprise wide or circumstance specific blends, combinations, and/or collections of outcomes that enhance processes (structural capital), relationships (relationship capital), and guide activities, initiatives, and decision making which collectively create differentiators, competitive advantages, and additional (company) value. Michael D. Moberly.
- can be economically sustainable competitive advantages anchored in – evolving from features and capabilities of security products, services, and/or systems that set a company apart from its competitors by generating additional and sustainable revenue, user goodwill, sense of care, reputation, and image. Michael D. Moberly
- often emerge from the unique and sometimes times proprietary knowledge related to security products are deployed and used and the additional value that surfaces coupled with the unique understanding of how that knowledge can be used to extract the most value and competitive advantages to benefit users. This is a significant adaption by Michael D. Moberly of work published in McKinsey Quarterly, 2004.
- may not always be the result of a planned action or the product of specific capital allocation decisions. Adapted from Brookings Institution – Understanding Intangible Sources of Value by Michael D. Moberly
Security intangibles should become permanent fixtures on security product R&D, marketing, and sales dashboards because…
- most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability and sustainability today directly evolve from – lie in intangible assets.
- slight advances in technology, minor improvements in production, and/or small refinements in business processes through better utilization of intangible assets can afford companies tremendous competitive advantages over their market rivals. Christopher R.J. Pace adapted by Michael D. Moberly
- the contributory value delivered by most intangible assets can, if left unmanaged, un-monitored, and unmeasured become perishable and certainly very costly and time consuming to regenerate if compromised, lost, or undermined, particularly when considered it’s adverse effects among users and/or consumers. Too, when either occurs, economic – competitive advantage hemorrhaging can commence immediately and seldom ‘can the environments’ goodwill and reputation genie be put back into its bottle absent time, costs, and probably litigation that will adversely affect both goodwill, reputation, and revenue streams.
Michael D. Moberly February 13, 2014 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’.
In far too many instances, vendors, marketing, and sales personnel engaged in the security product, system, and/or services sector overlook, dismiss, or neglect to describe (familiarize) prospective client(s) with the intangible assets that will most assuredly accompany and add value to products, systems, or services being marketed and pitched.
What are ‘pitch scripts’ and how are they relevant to marketing, selling security intangibles…
Pitch scripts are persuasive tools to command premium fees and quicker purchasing decisions, especially when they include – describe intangible asset deliverables that enhance prospective clients’ value, competitive advantage, and profitability…(Dale Furtwengler)
The reality is, a majority of business transactions now occur in circumstances in which intangible assets are in play, often times with the transaction itself being dominated by intangible assets. Thus, it’s all-the-more likely that a favorable ‘purchase decision’ will occur when sales, marketing, and/or business development practitioners duly incorporate ‘security intangibles’ in their ‘pitch’ that draws favorable attention to the product, service, and/or systems’ deliverable security intangibles.
Why is this important…
Why is it important for security vendors (marketing and sales representatives, etc.) to reflect on this finding and incorporate it into their respective marketing – sales pitch scripts?, it’s because, globally speaking, 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, growth, profitability, and sustainability lie in – evolve directly from intangible assets.
This makes it not merely prudent, but essential for…
- vendors to acquire an operational familiarity with what intangible assets their products deliver and how, and how the delivery of those intangibles are relevant to prospective buyers.
- prospective buyers to acquire an operational familiarity with intangible assets insofar as helping them discriminate and articulate, with greater precision, what they want the security products (services, systems) they purchase to produce on relevant to the environment and the users of the environment in which they are to be deployed.
An increasingly essential requisite for buyers and sellers of security products (services, systems, etc.) is to acquire this level of operational familiarity with intangible assets, to routinely act on the above, i.e., for…
- vendors, this includes understanding and being able to articulate the desirable and value add intangible assets their product can deliver – contribute to a broad array of environment.
- existing or prospective clients/buyers achieving operational familiarity with intangible assets will bring clarity to identifying and articulating, precisely what they want a security product (system, service) to achieve and develop objective means to assess actual pre and post outcomes and deliverables.
These perspectives evolve from informal, but respectful and random encounters I had with 100+ vendors – exhibitors at ASIS Internationals’ 2013 Annual Seminar & Exhibits held in Chicago. For those unfamiliar with this event, it is correctly touted as being the world’s largest security education and exhibits venue, with, as I understand it, well in excess of 5000 exhibitors displaying and marketing their innovative wares to 12,000+ attendees.
Admittedly, I am a intangible asset strategist and risk specialist who has been directly engaged in the security profession for 27+ years. Since I have been examining these issues, starting in the late 1980’s, I have consistently found, with few exceptions, that most security products, systems, and services produce – deliver meaningful and valuable intangible assets to most every environment in which they are applied, but largely remain unrealized, unattributed, and unmeasured.
For example, security products such as access control, intrusion detection, and/or CCTV systems, when correctly incorporated into an environment can produce constructive intangible assets that will compliment buyer’s operating culture and equally important, what have now largely become user’s expectations. As already noted, these expectations broadly translate as that sense of feeling safe, secure, and being in an environment where they can be productive. Absent the ability to clearly articulate these senses (deliverables) qualitatively and quantitatively, there will be a lot of unrecognized, unmeasured, and accounted for value left on the proverbial negotiating table.
Articulating ‘security intangibles’…
The responsibility for articulating this or related ‘sense’ of personal or asset safety, security, and ultimately return on security, lies primarily with vendors, because it is expected and assumed they know and understand the intricacies of their product relative to where, how, and/or whether it will accommodate a clients expressed concerns and needs and the boundaries and/or margins of its designed and intended application.
Too, much responsibility lies with vendors to thoroughly understand each prospective buyer’s environment and the needs and/or concerns they aspire to prevent or mitigate as well as what they want they seek to sustain or achieve on behalf of their users and their overall environmental culture and demeanor.
As consumers, we have come to expect that when we purchase most products’ retail, the transaction is supported and accompanied by a warranty, some type of service contract, or the retailer’s return policy which we may or may not ever have to execute. These are generally taken-for-granted manufacturers pledges of sorts, which translate for consumers as a favorable sense of assurance about a products’ quality, longevity, and functionality, i.e., a company’s reputation, which collectively reduces the likelihood we, as consumers, will have to incur any additional costs other than the inconvenience associated with returning the product to either its manufacturer or point of purchase if need be.
So, can or should security product manufacturers and vendors be expected to develop and possess in their sales pitch repertoire sufficiently precise language to articulate the actual intangible assets their product(s) will deliver once purchased and correctly deployed? In light of the economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and competitive advantages evolve from intangible assets, I am confident the answer to that question can only be a resounding yes. Yes that is, that manufacturers should be cognizant of – routinely reflect on the intangible assets their product will produce even during its earliest stages of development. This will help ensure the intangible deliverables will be effectively conveyed in product marketing materials and ultimately be integrated in vendor – sales rep’s ‘pitch scripts’.
The underlying inspiration for this post is credited to my colleague Dale Furtwengler and the various messages conveyed in his fine book ‘Pricing for Profit: How To Command Higher Prices for Your Products and Services’.
Comments regarding my blog posts are encouraged and respected. Should a reader elect to utilize all or a portion of my posts, full attribution is expected and appreciated. While visiting my blog readers are encouraged to browse other topics (posts) which may be relevant to their circumstance or business transaction. I always welcome your inquiry at 314-440-3593 or email@example.com.
Michael D. Moberly March 14, 2013 ‘A blog where attention span matters’.
As conveyed numerous times in this blog; underlying the stewardship, oversight, and management of a company’s intangible assets is board, c-suite, and management team recognition that practices must be in place to sustain (protect, preserve) control, use, ownership, and monitor asset value, materiality, and risk.
In my view, there are no particular priorities attached to these tasks (responsibilities) but, I’m increasingly confident that if any aspect is dismissed, overlooked, neglected, or otherwise does not occur, or fails, little else may matter, because asset value and the competitive advantages being produced/delivered will quickly be undermined, compromised, or stolen with asset value ‘going to zero’! And that readers, is attributable to the increasingly aggressive, globally predatorial, and ‘legacy free’ business transaction environment that is so prevalent.
To remedy or preferably prevent such calamities which can, in more instances than are publicly reported and understood, amount to financial catastrophes or collapses because they’re often irreversible and/or very costly for a victim company to return to a state of revenue generation normalcy and competitive advantage position. In other words, once intangible assets have been compromised, having available (or, at least knowing) an intangible asset risk specialist may be worth considering if not become a (fiduciary) requisite.
Should there be hesitancy, reluctance, or worse, the feeling of invincibility by company decision makers, it’s important to remember the global economic fact that 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability today lie in – evolve directly from intangible assets! The compromise of one (key, contributory intangible asset) may well prompt adverse cascading (reputation risk) affects throughout an enterprise and its stakeholders.
To be sure, an intangible asset (risk) specialist, familiar with the ever expanding array of sophisticated, globally asymmetric, costly, and momentum stifling types of risks that adversely affect intangible assets when materialized, would bring measurable ‘ROI’ (benefits) some of which include…
- Developing a strategic plan to monitor asset risks, value, and materiality changes in accordance with assets’ respective value and functionality cycle.
- Adding predictability to business transaction outcomes, projected returns, and anticipated exit strategies when intangibles are in play and/or part of a deal by assessing their stability, fragility, defensibility, and vulnerability.
- Conducting specialized market entry and/or transaction due diligence assessments regarding the intangible assets in play, in both pre – post transaction contexts.
- Reducing the probability that project/deal momentum will be stifled by recognizing and mitigating circumstances that can (a.) ensnare and/or entangle the assets in costly and time consuming legal challenges, (b.) undermine/erode asset value and performance, (c.) adversely affect asset reputation ‘risk points’, i.e., product- service quality expectations of consumers and other stakeholders.
- Building an ‘risk intelligent company culture’ for intangible assets that converges with a company’s business objectives.
- Designing and executing comprehensive organizational resilience (continuity, contingency) plans that encompass mission critical intangible assets in order to preferably produce quicker recovery of asset value, revenue production, and market position, etc., following significant business disruptions or disasters.
- Monitoring (internal, external) intangible asset value chains, i.e., the inter-connectedness between the production, acquisition, and utilization of intangibles vis-a-vis their contributions to company value, revenue, and creating and sustaining competitive advantages.
- Providing on-going guidance to business units and management teams regarding effective stewardship, oversight and management of intangibles relative to identifying, unraveling, bundling, and extracting value and delivering competitive advantages.
The contributory value of intangibles (to company revenue, future wealth creation, and sustainability) continues to rise as intangibles have become increasingly integral to knowledge-intensive industries operating in global knowledge-based economies. These interacting economic and intellectual, structural, and relationship capital phenomena consistently put intangibles, quite literally, in play and, ‘at risk’ in most very business transaction and/or activity.
Each blog post is researched and written by me with the genuine intent they serve as a useful and respectful medium to elevate awareness and appreciation for intangible assets throughout the global business community.
Most of my posts focus on issues related to identifying, unraveling, and sustaining control, use, ownership, and monitoring asset value, materiality, and risk. As such, my blog posts are not intended to be quick bites of information piggy-backed to other sources, or unsubstantiated commentary.
Comments regarding my blog posts are encouraged and respected. Should any reader elect to utilize all or a portion of any of my posts, attribution is expected and always appreciated. While visiting my blog readers are encouraged to browse other topics (posts) which may be relevant to their circumstance or business transaction. I always welcome your inquiry at 314-440-3593 or firstname.lastname@example.org