Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Intangible Principle and Innovation Perspectives

What are Intangible Assets?

Intangible Assets are assets that are not physical in nature. Corporate Intellectual Property (items such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, business methodologies), good will and brand recognition are all common intangible assets in today's market place. An intangible asset can be classified as either indefinite or definite depending on the specifics of that asset. A company brand name is considered to be an indefinite asset, as it always stays with the company as long as the company's operations continue.

Unfortunately in today's current accounting systems and rules, the valuation of intangible assets is a not an easy task, and often unrecognized or underestimated in valuing assets. For example, a company such as: Coca Cola would not be as nearly as successful were it not for the high value obtained through its brand-name recognition. Although brand recognition is not a physical asset, you can see or touch, its positive effects on bottom line profits can prove extremely valuable to firms such as Coca Cola, whose brand strength drives year over year growth. Good books to read are The Hidden Value of Intangibles, Testing Balance Sheet Strength, and Can you Count on Good Will?

A few other points that we think are key to understand the value of intangible assets are:

1.) Intangible Assets are identifiable non-monetary assets that cannot be seen, touched, or physically measured, which are created through time and/of effort that are identifiable as a separate asset.

2.) There are two primary forms of intangibles (eg: customer lists), copyrights, patents, trademarks, and goodwill and competitive intangibles such as knowledge or know-how activities such as knowledge, collaboration activities, leverageble team value dynamics for speed and trust making. Legal intangibles are IP, and generate legal property rights defensible in a court of law.

Competitive Intangibles, whilst legally non-ownable, directly impact effectiveness, productivity, wastage, and opportunity costs within an organization - and therefore costs, revenues, customer service, satisfaction, market value, and share price. Human Capital is the primary source of competitive intangibles for organizations today.

Why are Intangible Assets key to the manufacturing sector?

First, tangible assets are easily replicated due to reverse manufacturing and engineering capabilities. Competing on product and price is a no win proposition. Manufacturing companies by extending their customer services value chain to create closer customer loyalty and branding experiences that increase customer servicing, professional service offerings, community ecosystems with new channel partners to extend a core business model are all areas that need a focused business plan for growth acceleration.

Jim Basille Founder of RIM, and who help drive the MIN ecosystem forward, has a new corporate mantra internally with his employees - is is Collaborate or Die? Although Jim was not the first to coin this phrase, he like many SMART CEO's understand growth from networks and community ecosystem knowledge flows will drive more value that simply investing in only products for distribution. In Today's increasingly global economy - the realities are we need a collaboration leadership approach to talent management, and also to develop more open and collaborative business processes to achieve competitive advantage.

I wrote Collaboration Commerce a book that is now 3 three years old, but still sells actively on Amazon - we were the first to define Collaboration Commerce as a business process with linkages to innovation and growth impacting strategic planning methods and toolkits.

One of the Informative Google Groups I have joined is the Value Networks Group whose evangelistic leaders, John Maloney and Verna Allee are daily acting as global change agents to help change the world and help companies understand the value of business is in its networks. Unfortunately, the accounting and enterprise risk management realities of most F500 do not have mature innovation or value realization centers of excellence focus on Intangible Asset Management (IAM).

One of the postings I quite enjoyed reading last week from John Maloney was he asked this Quiz:

Q - What do these names have in common: Caliber, Pacifica, Aspen?
A - They are all current products from Chrysler.

I have never heard of them - perhaps you also have not. However when you think of our past history, every North American would always know the names of all contemporary Chrysler products. Remember: Charger, GTO, Barracuda.


These models were all important muscle branded cars and branded as such. Muscle cars were important as guys liked them - muscles or not. More importantly the advertising ads reinforced that women liked guys that drove them so guys thought this was the car they needed to drive. This double loop intangible branding strategy around a brand called muscle cars - was a very successful lifestyle and contemporary marketing strategy.

Chrysler strayed from it score in lifestyle marketing from the 60's and like many of the automotive giants simply did not focus on the intangible story/branding.

Just look at Opel the prize division of GM -- rich with intangible branding value - which Magna is in the process of closing for a 20% stake in the business (>300M Euros).

Toyota is another company that focused very hard on engineering fun into their branding and offerings. Arrogant Executives in Detroit ignored the fun imagery of Toyota and well the rest is history.

This week Sabaru introduced their new marketing approach. What makes a Subaru a Subara? Love.

Yes it is love.

Some of the reasons many of us believe the automotive sector is in the situation it is in NA is due to five key reasons:

1.) Not diversifying its manufacturing operations outside of NA

2.) Not focused on Intangible Value clarity

3.) Union Excess

4.) Corporate Narcissism

5.) Focusing on tangible Product /Feature positioning without (2) lifestyle marketing clarity.


As Canadian manufacturers plan their growth and innovation strategy, engaging with partners that understand value ecosystem strategy, intangible asset management, customer services innovation, and customer loyalty strategy are critical for CEO's and leadership teams to embed new talent into or around their organizations.

In addition to these realities a core competency for manufacturing executives will be on collaboration commerce, knowledge management, and leveraging new ways of working. These are all areas Helix Commerce specializes in. We simply help our clients leap frog ahead in new ways. The only competitive advantage remaining in business is human and customer capital strategies - leapfrogging for growth advantage requires more courage, not necessarily investment dollars.

What is clear is that if organizations do not think outside the box and collaborate to find new solutions - they will simply die.

Collaborate or Die - Jim Basille has this line RIGHT!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Social Sites are Everyone's Space: Visibility is a Risk

Social Networking sites and engagement continues to accelerateas their popularity and viral speed, perhaps addictiveness as well continues its global reach.Sites like Twitter (micro-blogging), Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Orkut, and Linked in -- are challenging people to manage their online identities or personal brands. WIth the proliferation of these sites - the challenge becomes a risk question

How do you manage your personal brand image across so many sites?

Our research at Helix estimates that there are over 300 popular social networking sites being used www and their popularity is growing fast.

Already social networking sites like Facebook boasts over 200 million users, LinkedIn has 40 Million, and Twitter, a leading micro-blogging site, has almost 26 million.

Recruiters are having web based delight as they now can scour the web to help source candidates but also review their character as they can see the interactions more visibly in diverse online experiences aggregated from spiders crawling the web looking for integrity or character flaws.

The reality now is that your brand image is 7x24 and having a private conversation reg: your boss on your Facebook or Myspace account with friends access can result in also getting you fired which has happened and will continue to happen as people need to understand the risks of these social networks and the form of their interactions.

Getting your head around your Digital online brand is going to be an increasingly important employee training skill and policy development area for HR professionals and Leaders to ensure are in place.

Rather than advocating online behavior policy that presumes to run your life on and off the clock - employers need to undertand what's expected of them in the online realm.

Key factors include: employees learning not to share too much personal information about themselves, ensure they activate and use privacy settings, and only add friends you really know and make certain photos are private.

Google has a long memory as images and information posted on the internet have infinite knowledge memory. As a result, companies need to develop online behavior policies that are future proof to a reasonable degree and platform netural, meaning they recognize the changing nature and platforms being used and developed.

The best policies based on our experiences will demonstrate a holistic model across all aspects of a good online citizen across different platforms and web destinations.

It is not always easy to be safe by creating separate accounts, or using different applications for different groups of people, work life, pesonal life, family life. etc.

Another opportunity for Enterprise Risk Management Policies and Web 2.0 governance leadership and training investment requirements.

If you would like more information reg: Helix training programs and best practices in these areas, please contact us at info@helixcommerce.com.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Employee Branding

For the first time, many talented executives and managers are experiencing first hand what it feels like as a job candidate during the recruiting process.

Interaction with job candidates is often not a courteous experience as phone calls, emails, keep in the loop communications are different to what they had experienced on the job...or thought was really happening in their own organizations.

Today, few candidates reach correspondence is acknowledged, calls returned - in some respects like a big black hole.

Either way your company's brand is being impacted daily by these recruiting candidates who could be a customer,supplier or an employee. Their perceptions of the HR organizations leadership in the employee recruiting experience is resulting in a shake-up for recruiting leadership talent and HR professionals.

Companies that are not ensuring every touch point experience in their culture is a memorable and rewarding experience suffer fools gladly and implications on their brand is below the iceberg but after effect will be significant.

A Stanford Business School study reports that SouthWest Airlines are role model. For one, they recognize employment candidates as not only careeer customers - but as also airline customers. Southwest's core principles of respect permeate its recruitment whre there is a focus on ensuring no applicant feels inferior or is rejected. Many of its job applicants have a better experiences being rejected than being hired by other companies. As a result, SouthWest gets the best people, and it shows in their superior financial results.

Companies have much more to gain by looking at talent and its diversity as a precious diamond that has sustainability value in the circle of life that we are in. Irrespective one reality rings true, if the experiences a company delivers to a prospective employee will influence their perceptions of the company both as an employer but also as a business they want to patronize and continue to do business with.

Employee Engagement Leadership is a key area for improvement in the majority of companies across NA ....business leaders often forget to think holistically and to create brand value against all Employee and Customer interaction touchpoints.

Time to wake up and look at Potential Employee moments as really customer moments of truth and calibrated from a growth & risk management perspective.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Facebook Edges Ahead of MySpace

Lots happening in the continued dynamics of the War of the Web 2.0 Giants.

Recent developments reported that MySpace have just cut 30% of their staff to reduce operating costs, as the intensity increases in the face of popular competition like Facebook.

These recent actions will leave MySpace with about 1000 employees and over 400 will lose their jobs. This is the biggest restructuring since the company was acquired by Fox. This was one of the first major moves of MySpace's new CEO, Owen Van Natta as he replaced Chris DeWolfe, one of the co-founders.

MySpace is now facing increasing competition from social network Facebook. Facebook and Twitter are growign rapidly.

Facebook has now edged for the first time ahead of MySpace with over 70,278,000 unique visitors to its site in May 2009 vs My Space's 70,237,000. Worldwide, Facebook has had more than 307 million unique visitors in April, according to ComScore, and MySpace has more than 123 million.

With the recent news, NewsCorp (MySpace) shares fell US4cents of 4.2% yesterday to $9.41 on the Nasdaq stock market.
Bookmark and Share