Articulating Intangible Assets: It’s Not Always Easy…

Michael D. Moberly   September 26, 2012

Let’s face it, intangible assets are not always easy to articulate, to explain, or define, particularly to those unfamiliar or unaccustomed to recognizing their contribution to a company’s value and revenue.

Unfortunately, intangible assets are, in many sectors, still perceived – interpreted as obscure and/or theoretical concepts best espoused in – suited for university lecture halls’ than ‘real world’ business applications.  After all, intangible assets do lack physicality, thus they bear no conventional ’brick and mortar’ components to measure, manage, or account for using the most customary methods.

Intangible asset practitioners and strategists who conduct briefings, seminars, and/or awareness training about these elusive assets are well advised to have a strong reaching repertoire at the ready to respond to an array of often times warranted criticisms and/or skepticisms about what intangible assets are and strategies to utilize, leverage, and/or exploit them best.  The more persuasive and convincing manner in which such inevitable questions are addressed relative to their global universality and relevance to business wellbeing, will help achieve a two-fold mission….

  • recognize that 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth and sustainability today lie in – directly evolve from intangible assets, and
  • demonstrate better, smarter, and more effective techniques to identify, foster, utilize, manage, and exploit (a company’s) intangible assets as attributes that can be converted to value, sources of revenue, competitive advantage, and sustainability.

That’s why it’s absolutely essential for intangible asset strategists to articulate as much (definitional, business, economic, and competitive advantage) clarity as possible to minimize – mitigate any managerial and/or administrative hesitancy, reluctance, and/or skepticism to aggressively engage intangible assets.

So, the mission is quite clear; articulate what intangible assets are, what they aren’t, the various forms they take, and how and when they’re effectively applied,  can lay valuable and strategic groundwork to boost a company’s value, sources of revenue, competitive advantage, market position, and longevity.

Ironically, in the midst of this extended and generally global, economic downturn (malaise), conventional wisdom would suggest that decisions makers of all stripes would find it in their business’ interest to seek, or, at least be more receptive to considering – examining (new, different, viable) options to elevate their company’s performance potential for successfully weathering not just the recession, but achieving a sustainable prognosis well into the future.   Of course, that would require engaging and executing on the intangible assets their respective company’s inevitably produce and possess.

Most respectfully, I return to the original theme of this post, that is, its challenging for some management teams, c-suites, and boards to step outside their ‘past practice’ comfort zones and/or b-school teachings that generally give short shrift to intangibles, to acquire the motivation necessary to critically examine/assess viable alternatives apart from what they believe has worked best for them and their company previously.

Members of management teams, c-suites, and boards are generally, and in most instances, quite correctly, pragmatists who exercise, usually in their own way, varying degrees of risk aversion.  These operational characteristics, while generally admirable, contribute in various ways to sustaining a broader reluctance and/or skepticism about the prospects of embracing any new, and for many, untested initiative, particular in the midst of an economic slowdown.

Comments regarding my blog posts are encouraged and respected. Should any reader elect to utilize all or a portion of this post, 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.  And, I always welcome your inquiry at 314-440-3593 or [email protected]


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