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Goodwill is an Intangible Asset

'Goodwill' is regarded as an intangible asset in a business. Goodwill carries a value over and above the tangible assets of a business, and representing all benefits derived from the distinctive location, trade and brand names, credit rating, reputation, cusotmers and patronage of the business. When a business is sold, a charge is usually applied for the goodwill as one of the assets.

Goodwill develops by virtue of quality of products or service found beneficial by the customers, clients, users, vendors etc. and the manner and style in which the products or services are presented. Good advertising helps in accelerating pace of development of goodwill and prestige. Usually advertising and other image building techniques take goodwill and sales to new heights of fame, renown and prestige. Sponsoring sports and social events, donations to charity etc help in enhancing prestige and fame.

A brand name can help add to the goodwill of the business besides acquiring its own goodwill value. Truly great brands are far more than just labels for products or trademarks; they are symbols that encapsulate the desires and liking of consumers as well their trust and confidence. In most cases products acquire fame under their brand name rather the name of their manufacturer as we see in case of cold drinks and soaps etc.

On other hand there are many companies, which are famous, and their name helps in generating confidence and trust in their different products. The products of Pharmaceutical and Electric Companies and different brand names for their products may not be as famous as the company itself. It is the prestige and goodwill of the company that helps in improving competitive position of the product in the market.

Trademark as a name, symbol, or other device identifying a product, officially registered and legally restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer becomes an intangible asset and part of good will that can be sold separately or its use allowed to different manufacturers in different areas. Most franchise businesses owe their success to the fame and prestige attached to their brand names. Most chains of hotels and restaurants have been able to expand their franchise business world wide merely on the strength of goodwill attached to their brand names. Investors find it safe to rely on the prestige of the trade name rather than developing their own trade mark. Though they benefit from the guidance of well experienced experts and the prestige attached to the trade name, they have to pay royalty to the owners of the trade name.

Considerable efforts, ingenuity and investment are entailed in popularizing trademarks and brand names and building prestige for the organization. Content of the human intellect are deemed to be unique and original and to have marketplace value-and thus to warrant protection under the law. Intellectual property includes but is not limited to ideas; inventions; literary and art works; medicines, chemical, business, or computer processes; and company or product names and logos. Intellectual property protections fall into four categories: copyright (for literary works, art, and music), trademarks (for company and product names and logos), patents (for inventions and processes), and trade secrets (for recipes, code, and processes). Laws in many developing countries need to be reviewed and improved as concern over piracy of software, movies, music etc is being continuously expressed by the producers of movies and developers of software.

Relentless and persistence efforts are always required to maintain and enhance goodwill. Quality of products or service is of prime importance but many other factors are also important. Here is a partial list of the factors that can help in improving or damaging the goodwill.

1. Best possible quality for Sales presentation and distribution channels must be ensured. The quality of advertising, wrappers, packing and warranties is also vital. Location of offices and furnishings of high standard and good taste are always helpful.

2. Customer care and after sales service. Great damage comes from inattention and rude behavior of staff. Good service leads to multiple sales. If you take good care of your customers, they will open doors you could never open by yourself. Always strive to provide service above and beyond what the ordinary organization would give. It will help you build long-term relationships, trust, and referral business.

3. A comprehensive advertising and goodwill maintenance program must be kept under constant review. Advertising in papers and magazines, television, radio and Internet must be planned with great care based on assumption or surveys of your penetration in markets of different segment of population. Selection of site for hoardings, posters etc. must also be made in consultation with the experts.

4. Innovation and Research: By encouraging feedback from clients and sales outlets you can make improvement in designs and contents of new models or launch new and improved products. You must also keep a watch on fads and trends in those segments of population where your products are used.

5. Provision for participation in trade shows and in charity program and sponsoring sports and cultural events must be made in your budget.

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Shah N. Khan is editor of Weekly Fraternity Briefs He also works as a marketing and management consultant for outsourcing different jobs via Internet in South Asia to achieve economy in labor costs or to help business organizations in publishing and editing ezines for customers and prospects. Email

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