Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 55
are: "How does this represent our brand" and "is there a void
in the marketplace for that item?"
Protecting The Brand
institution's "brand" can garner it widespread recognition
and help it portray a positive public image.
"Our goal is to manage the university's brand in a number
of different ways," Blackmon says. The university asks two
questions when deciding if it should approve a request. They
Universities negotiate licensing agreements as a means to
control the use of their trademarks in the marketplace. The
goal is to ensure consistency and quality in the products carrying their marks. But this isn't always an easy task.
"We spend a great deal of time monitoring the use of our
brand," Blackmon says. "That includes promoting and protecting the Auburn brand."
Unfortunately, they will often find a number of counterfeit products floating around. In the past, that included
unapproved apparel and tailgating items with the Auburn
name and logo being sold at sports games. More recently,
the bigger problem is policing cyberspace.
"Most of the issues we have now are online, promoted
through social media," Blackmon says. "A number of websites sell counterfeit goods."
Since academic institutions thrive on their ability to create
and uphold a strong reputation, protecting their brand image
is essential. Like many other universities, Auburn works with
IMG College Licensing to help them with these issues.