Intangible Assets Delivered Through Architectual Design

 Michael D. Moberly     December 3, 2011

Security intangibles…

Security intangibles are the positive ‘feel good – feel safe’ by-products of tangible security products, i.e., access control, intrusion detection, and CCTV systems, etc., that are routinely integrated into building design. 

Security intangibles represent client and user expectations in today’s increasingly security conscious and (security) standards governed environments.  Unfortunately, they seldom get translated into premiums that distinguish – create bid (presentation) competitive advantages for building design (architectural) firms or their designs. 

Instead, security intangibles are often unspoken or poorly articulated assumptions left to user’s imagination with little or no discussion about the value added (risk management) premiums they create for prospective clients and users (invitees) of the client’s environment, and especially for the architectural design firm itself.

Security intangibles are important because it’s an economic fact that 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, sustainability, and foundations for growth lie in – are directly linked to intangible assets.

While tangible – physical assets, i.e., plants, real estate, equipment, inventory, etc., have been the dominant sources of company’s value and revenue, in today’s knowledge-based economy the sources – origins of company value have shifted to intangible assets, i.e., intellectual property, proprietary know how, brand, reputation, image, and goodwill, etc.  (For a comprehensive list of intangible assets see 

The phrase ‘knowledge-based economy’ is a business/economic reality not merely a cliché’.   For building designers and security product manufacturers/vendors, this phrase should provide insight into how both clients and user’s ‘feel safe and secure’ needs, demands, and expectations have evolved. 

An increasingly important factor in design bid competition and presentation equations is the ability to effectively articulate the relevance and ‘value add’ of security intangibles as constituting measureable competitive advantage premiums to be exploited on behalf of client/user security interests, efficient building management, and the building design (architectural) firms.

Security and asset protection products deliver a much broader spectrum of measurable client and user benefits (i.e., intangible assets) beyond the conventional and highly subjective risk-threat mitigation elements. 

Security intangibles are not routinely articulated components of building design presentations or bids due in part to the mis-perception that:

  • because intangibles lack physicality they’re too esoteric to explain their by-product benefits to prospective clients as design premiums
  • intangibles are often portrayed (reported) solely through an accounting lens in the form of company goodwill

Safeguarding, mitigating, and monitoring the risks to a client’s intangible assets are important drivers to security design!  Building/environment design and security products can converge to produce desirable and measureable sources of value and revenue.

Such convergence is analogized in a security product presentation I recently witnessed.  The product had multiple advanced selling points and numerous venues where it could be applied.  Unfortunately however, the vendor either did not recognize or chose not to include in his presentation the various ‘security intangibles’ this product could obviously deliver for prospective clients and the users of their environment.

Had the vendor understood strategies to bundle and characterize the ‘security intangible’ as measureable (quantifiable) by-products in his bid presentation and accompanying promotional materials, client receptivity could have been substantially elevated because their return-on-investment projections would have been more clear and much broader.

While visiting/reading my blog, you are encouraged to browse other topics/subjects (left column, below photograph) .  Should you find particular topics of interest or relevant to your circumstance,  I would welcome your inquiry at  314-440-3593 or [email protected]

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