by Mark Davey
What is the true value of a brand and indeed the mind of an organisation?
I have decided to go on a mission based on a profound experience I had this week at the Transform Conference run by Communicate Magazine. I should explain the profound first. I was in a room full of brand consultants, designers and enablers and, as I was a speaker, I was able to ask two simple questions. How many people in the audience knew what digital asset management was? Out of the 30 plus audience members three people raised their hands. I then asked who in the audience had a DAM system and one hand dropped. My mind started to ponder the implications.
Of course thirty people in a room does not make for sound analysis, I will add my years of experience in the DAM space as a qualifier for this article and I am fully aware of the tools and services offered to brands, usually by way of a module that plugs into components of DAM or standalone applications, some good others amazing. I have yet however, seen any that encompass the full gamut of handling brand and marketing technologies.
My mission is quantifying intangible assets as they relate to central hubs and control of all the data and assets within organisations!
Earlier in the day, David Haigh CEO at Brand Finance plc was talking about how the challenge has always been to find metrics to measure the value of a re-brand; both on the balance sheet and on an organisation’s biggest intangible asset – its brand. Haigh, was talking in the billions and wrapping it around an oil company gaining maximum value for a rebrand … and it is hard to argue with the numbers … what numbers you may well ask … these numbers:
Find out what the value of the world’s top brands are in 2012
This is a breath of fresh air as any measure of intangible assets on company spreadsheets is a massive leap forward. I have been banging on for years about the biggest intangible assets not being seen on the spreadsheet and arguing with accountants and CFO’s alike about how human intellect and the knowledge value of people in organisations are missing. The elephant in the room are humans and there knowledge and value to business are simply missing.
Information itself is a critical enterprise asset, and therefore should be managed and accounted for as traditional assets are, and for me that includes digital assets.
We are after all in the knowledge economy, so using metrics based on billions associated with a brand, the human intellect value must run into massive numbers when associating human capital missing off most spreadsheets around the world and in my opinion only set to increase as we head towards Web 3.0. the linked data, open date, linked open data worlds and data being the new oil, soil or snake oil.
During the conference I had my ah ha moment as it relates to DAM and brand or BAM (brand asset management) being a subset of DAM and the lack of knowledge or more importantly the use by brands of the tools that protect these massive valuations.
Also at the transform conference was Charlie Matthews a trainer at The Writer who explained the value of tone of voice as it relates to a brand, basically most of them sound exactly the same. However, the thing that struck me the most was the internal brand message or mantra given to creatives and marketing within Nike
Do a Google image search on Nike just to see how the brand is being depleted by missue or creativity externally to the marketing departments and indeed missue by wholesalers, suppliers and clients alike. They cannot be controlled outside of the brand, marketing firewall without a brand asset management system.
I cannot go into the specifics of emotional, psychological misrepresentation of a brand, but one need only to do this with a number of the large scale brands to see the negative impact on the brand and of course reputation. And these guys spend huge amounts of money and resources associating emotional ties to their products and services … I can hear Bill Hicks on marketing right now!
So why is brand asset management not being taken up wholesale by brand owners, managers and their respective partners. I think the problem may be the DAM industry itself.
After all, where is the work being done to help brands understand the ramifications? Where are the metrics and the sentiment around brand and creative? Who is offering brand owners the tools and services to protect the liquidity of these intangible assets? More importantly where is the analysis??
Once that is understood and acted upon (a job for the DAM Foundation perhaps?) then we can really start to look at the metrics of the individuals and collective teams within organisations and create an analysis and a value based proposition on these intangible assets and maybe, just maybe, one day these will be standard practice and start to appear on the spreadsheets of all companies … and then just maybe, we would get back to true business valuations within the digital realms?
All I know is that you have to start with a central repository to harness all this data … why not DAM, BAM, MAM, MedAM, KM, BI etc etc.