Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 56
IMG manages trademark-licensing programs for more
than 200 universities and assists those institutions with
brand development, management and protection related
to university marks. These include sports team nicknames,
logos, mascots, colors and other insignia used on apparel
Overflowing with enthusiasm for their alma mater, Auburn consumers buy anything from pencils and notebooks
to sweaters, t-shirts, sweats, socks and even underwear that
feature the Auburn brand.
While apparel is the top-selling category, the university
has licensing agreements with companies that make flags,
custom floor mats, cutting boards, automotive decorations,
bags, chairs, housewares and jewelry.
"We've even approved items like urns for cremation ashes," Blackmon says. "And we have a company that provides
stencils of our logo so you spray paint it in your front yard."
Blackmon and Harbison, who is the manager of trademark licensing, spend a great deal of time finding out what
Auburn fans want. Much of that is done through hosting
focus groups and conducting in-person and online surveys.