Intangible Asset Reluctance and Commercial Believability…

With regularity, I converse with business-organization leadership. Unfortunately a percentage of which, still convey hesitancy – reluctance to engage their intangible assets.  

In many instances, I attribute such reluctance – hesitancy to…an absence of clarity and/or operational familiarity with the various contributory roles intangible assets play affect business value, competitive advantages, and sources of revenue, etc.  In other words…for the intangible asset hesitant, it may be that they do not recognize intangibles as commercially believable!

So, here we are, well into the 21st century…and the role of intangible assets appears to be more broadly understood (resonates) at the 5,000-foot altitudes in terms of their contributory significance to (a.) business – product brand, (b.) specialized knowhow, (c.) competitiveness, (d.) value, (e.) sources of revenue, etc.

Instead, what appears to be lacking at management team altitudes of less than 5000-feet…through my lens as an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist, is recognition – appreciation for how intangible assets are likely to be inherently embedded in company cultures and play consistent contributory roles, but may not be characterized – understood as such, therefore elusive.

The economic fact – reality associated with the global business shift…away from tangible (physical) assets as company’s dominant drivers of value and revenue to the overwhelming dominance of intangible (non-physical) assets, can indeed be elusive or perhaps even abstract, for some. For example, the significance one may naturally attach to the presence of a multi-hundreds million dollar super computer versus the intellectual, structural, and relationship capital that must be acquired, assimilated, and synchronized to ensure the ‘inputs’ to the super computer represent the necessary and objective ‘outputs’.

A perplexing – persistent question is…why isn’t this ‘business reality – economic fact’ ala intangible assets, resonating more at the operational levels of business leadership in a far broader sense? After all, there is relevance and urgency for every business, irrespective of sector, small and medium size enterprises (SME’s) and/or research-based startups (RBSU’s), etc., to recognize that intangible assets clearly play visible and prominent roles, should leadership (a.) be aware, and (b.) have an interest to objectively scour their internal landscape for the necessary intellectual, structural, and relationship capital to lucratively and competitively exploit.

• It’s puzzling, not just for me, but also for many of my colleagues, why business decision makers are not acting on this economic fact as rapidly and as thoroughly as the circumstances rather clearly dictate.

• Whether leadership’s awareness – insights (operational familiarity) originate with me, i.e., the ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ training – seminars, or myriad of other sources, achieving operational familiarity with intangible assets insofar as measurably adding value, creating new sources of revenue, enhancing competitiveness, and elevating business sustainability, are frequently overlooked, neglected, or, even wholly dismissed by those who exhibit reluctance – hesitance to engage their business’s intangible assets.

I find that influencing business leadership to seek and learn…how to identify, unravel, and pursue strategies to extract – leverage – exploit value and competitive advantage from their intangible assets is largely dependent on their interest in recognizing intangible assets’…

• relevance to their business, i.e., contributory role to company value, sources of revenue, competitiveness, and overall sustainability.

I, like numerous other ‘voices’ advocating for…business leadership to assume greater (fiduciary) responsibility for recognizing and utilizing their intangible assets have opportunities – entrées to meet astute, experienced, intelligent, and talented business leaders and managers across sectors.

Interestingly, a not insignificant number…during the course of conversation, will tout the benefits of applying relatively unsophisticated (software) programs to coordinate employee work schedules as a means to minimize overtime pay, but mention the words ‘intangible assets’ and their attention span and interest may visibly wane.

It’s understandable, some business leader’s lack of interest in intangible assets is variously attributed to…others who have yet to fully recognize the significant contributory role of intangibles. Or, they interpret accounting – reporting (business) intangibles too vague and complicated to introduce and/or explain their relevance internally, or to clients, ala

1. a consequence of Sarbanes-Oxley fatigue, i.e., here we go again

2. faux strategic planning, akin to near term – quarterly-based only projections…

3. poorly framed explanations regarding the immediate application-exploitation of intangibles…

4. business leaders’ misinterpreting intangible assets as being subordinant to (conventional) intellectual properties…

5. business leaders expressing self-deprecation relative to the intangible assets their company possesses, i.e., they produce little or no value, competitiveness, or revenue worthy of the time necessary to identify, unravel, or assess…

6. the absence of a conventional sense of physicality (tangible state) related to intangible assets…

7. practitioners – consultants disposed to characterize processes related to identifying, unraveling, assessing, and extracting value from intangible assets as being far more complicated and time consuming than necessary, and…

otherwise, not demonstrating interest or need for engaging intangibles to elevate and extract value from the intangible assets a company has developed, is not rocket science, it’s just good business!

Michael D. Moberly – ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ (Since May 2006) –  “Where one’s attention span, business realities, and solutions converge”.  St. Louis – [email protected] – October 3, 2018

Readers are invited to explore other posts, papers, and books I have produced-published at


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