Monetizing Intangibles

Not many companies can claim that they have figured out a way to monetize life’s intangibles.

No, I’m not talking about compliance with FASB 141 and FASB 142.

Nor am I talking about selling intangible services, like search engine optimization, or matchmaking.

Closer, but still off the mark, are those intangible brand experiences that certain companies “sell,” as in how Disney sells “family fun,” or how Nike sells “athletic performance”, or whatever it is about the “experience” one gets at Starbucks. Those brands convey certain ideas or values, tapping into certain worldviews in order to sell their products, and as a result those companies and their shareholders have reaped the benefits. Yet, that’s not what I’m talking about.

What I’m talking about is really figuring out a way to make money by actually measuring and delivering an intangible concept, like LOVE or GENEROSITY… as a commodity.



Imagine if a company could figure out a way to monetize the intangible concept of TRUST. What kind of fortune could that company and its investors make, if it entered a market that sorely needed such a facilitator?

Shawn Broderick’s latest company, TrustPlus, has all the right ideas. Check it out.  


(I’m still looking for a company that can manufacture FREE TIME.)


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on March 15, 2007, in Cool Companies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. hi danspira

    You’ve raised a valuable idea around monetizing intangibles. It is the missing link indeed for companies to nail down. It may be near ‘sci-fi’ to monetize concepts like TRUST, LOVE or Generosity across an organization and throughout its customer or brand experience, but companies like BMW, Tata and our clients are proving that they can monetize their business philosophy if packaged into an operational, trademarked asset (6 words or less). Hopefully this provides a ray of hope that something great is being done!


  2. Thanks for the comment, Harish.

    So, I guess as a flipside of what I described as the “intangible brand experiences” that some very successful companies have, one could also look at this idea of monetizing (i.e., making money from) intangible concepts, and see “monetizing” as meaning how to TAKE ADVANTAGE of an intangible concept by creating a strong brand association with it.

    Here are some other thoughts on the concept of “Trust.”

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