Intangible Assets…Are Management Teams Listening?

Michael D. Moberly   February 11, 2010

Today, for many intangible asset specialists, its puzzling, even occasionally frustrating, but more importantly, unfortunate anytime we hear company management teams, leadership, c-suites, and/or boards express-convey a sense of dismissiveness about intangible assets, or a reluctance to utilize intangible assets in general, and their company’s intangible assets in particular. 

Its become a universally accepted economic/accounting fact and business reality, in the knowledge-based (global) economy, not merely theoretical ‘academic speak’ or self-serving marketing jargon, that 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, building blocks for future wealth creation and sustainability today, lie in – are directly related to intangible assets and intellectual property.  

Given this, It seems appropriate then to respectfully ask, are management teams listening?, when far too few of them are benefitting from those realities.

Intangible asset specialists are professionally obligated to respectfully and aggressively engage business leadership globally, to bring relevance and clarity for the full and efficient utilization of a company’s intangible assets.  One requisite to helping companies and management teams achieve this state of awareness, is by incorporating more relevant, timely, and respectfully simplified narratives designed to more effectively, but quickly, articulate three key-essential things, (1.) the practical existance of intangible assets, (2.) their contributory value to a company, and (3.) how to identify, utilize and exploit them to benefit a company. 

An obvious, and perhaps one of the biggest challenge for intangible asset specialists however, aside from issues related to intangible asset monetization, is articulating that intangible assets are just that, they’re intangible.  That is, they lack physicality.  But, their lack of physicality does not mean their performance and value cannot be objectively measured and benchmarked. 

So even though most management teams readily understand and recognize intangible assets’ existence, and appreciate their singular/individual contributions and importance to their company, e.g., brand, reputation, image, goodwill, customer/client (external) relationships, and internal know/intellectual capital, etc., there still remains a sense of reluctance and/or desire among some management teams to advance to the next level of intangible asset utilization and exploitation.

That next level would entail-encompass, in my judgment, four key elements, i.e., taking a more active role in…

1. engaging best practice fiduciary responsibilities for the management, stewardship, and oversight of the intangibles, 

2. identifying, unraveling, positioning, leveraging, and efficiently utilizing a company’s intangibles,  

3.  recognizing how to effectively exploit intangibles to generate revenue, enhance company value, create building blocks for future wealth creation and company sustainability, and 

4.  put in place measures to ensure control, use, and ownership of the assets is indeterminately sustainable, and their value and materiality (to the company) is consistently monitored.

 

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