Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 62
Sports & Tailgating
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Brand engagement opportunities drive business for Texas A&M and '47. BY ALAN DORICH
Texas A&M partnered with '47 and The FADER to
show the university's diversity with the '47 x FADER
Sessions, an interactive musical experience.
Shane Hinckley, vice
president of brand
College Station, Texas
ll businesses revolve around successful
partnerships, and Texas A&M University's licensing program is no different. In
recent months, the program has thrived
by working with '47, a Boston-based, global sports
When the two met, Texas A&M Vice President
of Brand Development Shane Hinckley says he saw
both organizations as kindred spirits. "We saw a lot
of alignment with how they were trying to position
themselves and how we represent our brand in the
marketplace," he recalls.
Based in College Station, Texas, the university is
the third-largest college in the country with 68,000
students. Texas A&M began its licensing program
in the late 1990s and operated it independently before hiring an agency.
When Hinckley joined the college in 2008, "We
were ranked 25th in terms of our overall sales and
volume among colleges," he recalls. Under his leadership, Texas A&M has raised its ranking to fifth.
Hinckley credits this to multiple factors, includ-
ing the prominence of the school's athletic program.
In 2012, its football team, the Aggies, entered the
Southeastern Conference and quarterback Johnny
Manziel won the Heisman Trophy. "People became
more aware, both in the state and nationally, of the
program," Hinckley says.
Today, the most popular Texas A&M licensed
items include headwear, apparel, socks, footwear and
other items that are sold by hundreds of retailers
in its home state, as well as online. "We've probably sold more product than about two-thirds of the
NFL teams," he says.
The university also has earned a strong following
online. "We're frequently mentioned across all social
media platforms for being a top-five school for engagement," he says, adding that The Wall Street Journal ranked Texas A&M No. 3 among all universities
in student engagement.
Extending the Brands
The success of Texas A&M's licensing program has
not been built on products alone. The university also