Intangible Assets: 
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 profitability.  

THE 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 plc.

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.  

A strong brand enriches your bottom line, boosts stock value, as well as influences consumer preference.

It 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 difficulty.

 “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 dairy products”

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 those.

This is about an entire organisation sharing some beliefs in terms of what they wish to communicate. 

This isn't about logo designs. Its about a corporate attitude. 

Who controls this?
The CEO.
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.

How?  
My process is quick, simple and inexpensive, and conducted in 3-stages. Here is a quick pictorial rendition

What do you get from it?
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 goodwill.

  • 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 valuations).
  • 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 efficiency.   

Why me?  
For many reasons:

My 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.

It is 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 office.
  • Working with them, I planned branding strategy for many Indian and multinational companies.
  • 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 with?

Rajiv K. Badlani, Norquest Brands, Norquest House, Udyan Marg, Mithakali, Ahmedabad 380006 India

Phone: (+91 79) 2646 3331/1626, Fax 2644 1812
Mobile (+91) 98790 01065 
rajiv@badlani.com

Home: http://www.badlani.com
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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.