By Intangible Assets I mean your company's reputation, your
image, your corporate brand, all the stuff that cannot be seen
but is critically important because people judge you by them.
If you can see its
importance you will agree that this is too important an area
to be left to chance. If you can't, this would be a good time
to stop wasting your time.
Who needs it?
If you believe your reputation matters more than anything
else, you do, while if you believe it is your physical assets
that make you succeed, it has nothing to offer you.
Believe me, this isn't a facile statement. I've actually sat
in front of the head of a mid sized Indian company who
believed that the amount of money his group had was their
primary source of strength.
Like every other company,
you already have an image. The people you deal with already
have an impression of your company. Every day, these
impressions dictate how people behave towards your company.
It isn’t a question whether
you care or not. Everyone cares, to some extent. The question
is how much? This determines whether you choose to actively
manage these perceptions or leave them to chance.
The sum of most of these
impressions can be called your corporate brand. It tells the
world what it can expect from you.
Some companies consider their
corporate brand their single most valuable asset. The founder
and chairman of Sony, Akio Morita, was a firm believer
in this "...I have always believed that the company
name is the life of an enterprise. It carries responsibility
and guarantees the quality of the product..."
Is it worth putting in a special effort for this?
WHEN PRICES (or promotional rewards and prizes) become the
primary criteria for a consumer to decide what he buys, every
company would have to look for new customers every morning.
There would be no such thing as brand loyalty. When
price-cutting becomes the only competitive tool, it destroys
MOST valuable property a company acquires over time is its
reputation, its goodwill, its brand name. A strong brand
builds relationships with customers, which guarantees business
for the future.
"Buildings age and
become dilapidated. Machines wear out. People die. But what
live on are the brands."
Sir Hector Laing, Chief Executive Officer, United Biscuits
A brand is a powerful
strategic weapon. It distinguishes you from your competitors.
It defines to your stakeholders who you are, what you believe
in and what they may expect from you.
strong brand enriches your bottom line, boosts stock value, as
well as influences consumer preference.
also has an equally important internal value. When properly
planned and used, the corporate brand becomes a rallying point
for employees just like a nation’s flag binds its people
together. It is especially effective at times of crisis and
“In 1998, Nestlé paid
£2.5 billion for Rowntree, best known for its blackcurrant
pastilles, Kit Kat and other global brands, a company whose
net assets were valued at only £300 million. In the same year,
tobacco giant Philip Morris paid four times the net asset
worth of Kraft to take over the company best known for its
Apart from creating assets,
an Intangible Asset Management exercise also results in a
management structure that improves efficiency and immediately
shows tangible money savings. It creates communication
efficiencies through a synergy where 1 + 1 can achieve a
combined result that is more than 2.
This isn't about advertising. Advertising raises
expectations and very often the behaviour of a company negates
This is about an entire
organisation sharing some beliefs in terms of what they wish
This isn't about logo
designs. Its about a corporate attitude.
Who controls this?
Defining corporate goals
and strategies to achieve them is not a job that can be
delegated to advertising agencies or to juniors in an
organisation. While corporate branding yields definite
marketing results, it isn't a process that can be restricted
to the marketing area of a company.
It represents one of the highest levels of functional
control of the organisation, and it is now customary (all over
the world) for the CEO to always stay involved with corporate
brand management issues himself.
It is only the CEO who can be
the most effective custodian of a company’s izzat.
is quick, simple and inexpensive, and conducted in 3-stages.
Here is a quick pictorial rendition
What do you get from
True synergy in what your
organisation is communicating to people. True control over
what you communicate. A much bigger bang for your buck from
your advertising and communication expenditures, and a lasting
- You have a clearly
defined set of intangible assets that are being actively
nurtured and managed (Your financial auditors are encouraged
to use the results of this exercise for periodic
- Stakeholders of the
company now see the company, as it would like to be seen.
The ensuing goodwill allows goals to be achieved with less
resistance, effort and expenditure.
- Systems are in place
to ensure that this valuable asset continues to be
evaluated, measured, nurtured and grown.
- The entire
organisation now operates with synergy just as a good
orchestra works together towards a common goal.
- Consistency and
synergetic planning ensure greater communication
For many reasons:
unique blend of entrepreneurship and consulting experience has
allowed me to become one of the very few people in India who
understands and can actually create Intangible Assets for
companies. That is what has allowed me to develop my own
proprietary process for this activity.
a very new field and so far there has been little dedicated
expertise available on the subject, very little in India, not
much more elsewhere in the world.
- Many years ago, on a
shoe string budget I created my own national brand “FLYING
MACHINE” and then sold it to the Lalbhai Group (who could
not utilize it well, sadly. At one time it was easily the #
1 brand of jeans in India and it kept that position for at
least 3 years after they bought it from me).
- Ogilvy & Mather, the
international advertising giant, recognized my abilities and
opened a specialist Identity Management division in my
- Working with them, I
planned branding strategy for many Indian and multinational
- One of the most
visible is the perception shift we caused from a monolith
called The Industrial and Investment Corporation of India to
a consumer brand called ICICI.
- I have not only the
professional expertise, but am also an entrepreneur, which
means there is no “sticking to a text-book,” as I am myself
constantly evolving and rewriting the text book.
- I am not afraid to
use my subjectivity and I know that it gets very good
results very, very quickly. Want to ask someone I've worked
Rajiv K. Badlani
Norquest House, Udyan Marg, Mithakali, Ahmedabad 380006
Phone: (+91 79) 2646 3331/1626,
Fax 2644 1812
Mobile (+91) 98790 01065
NGOs and other well-intentioned organisations are welcome to
ask for a free consultation. If possible, I will be happy to
work with you without any charge.