December 9, 2009

VSU Partners to Promote Image

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University recently partnered with Strategic Marketing Affiliates (SMA) to provide licensing representation for VSU in an effort to regulate university marks and logos. University Advancement Vice President John Crawford said the partnership will enable VSU to closely monitor its image and provide revenue for scholarships.

“The remarkable growth of Valdosta State University has also caused our brand appeal to increase. Our students, alumni and fans have embraced the V-State logo, and it has become an instantly recognizable symbol of VSU,” Crawford said. “It is our responsibility to protect all of our symbols and word marks, and our relationship with SMA will do that.”

Athletic Director Herb Reinhard said the partnership is a win-win situation for all parties involved -- the university, vendors and customers. SMA’s national reach will expand opportunities for a growing constituency to purchase VSU items. The university will gain revenue and brand recognition because of increased control over its logo, and vendors will gain customers loyal to VSU.

“Offices and departments throughout campus are working together for the strength of the university’s image,” said Reinhard. “We are all extremely excited to increase brand awareness and promote the university in a way that brings money back to the university and its students.”

Tony Johnson, vice president for SMA’s Southeast region, said his team of marketing professionals will assist VSU in establishing a comprehensive strategic licensing plan -- including royalty rates, exemption policies and logo usage guidelines. The organization coordinates licensing with various local and national vendors, and enforces the use of logos authorized by the university.

“We are a full-service licensing agent with more than 144 clients nationwide, and we are here to protect and promote the university’s image, ” Johnson said of the Indiana-based company. “We will give Valdosta State our army of professionals to visit vendors, even provide game-day enforcement, to ensure that VSU’s brand is being marketed properly.”

The VSU Bookstore previously dealt with licensing of VSU marks and logos, but the task of monitoring university-themed items became increasingly complicated and time consuming.

VSU Alumni Director John Trombetta said alumni and friends are looking forward to seeing VSU merchandise on store shelves in their hometown retail outlets. They are excited about the opportunities that will become available as SMA broadens the university’s reach through licensing with national department stores and online vendors. SMA prides itself on keeping up with the latest trends in university logo items, and works closely with the bookstore and other vendors to offer clothes and goods in high demand.

“The VSU Bookstore offers a great selection of apparel and gifts and they will continue to be the flagship source for these items as is customary on college campuses,” Trombetta said. “SMA will take the brand off campus so that alumni, parents, students, fans and friends of VSU can have access to merchandise via the Web or other retail outlets they frequent.”

For more information about SMA and licensing procedures, go to the company Web site

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