Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Update That ‘Vardrobe…

by Richard Sweet, Associate A.D. for Marketing & Public Relations

I hope everyone is getting ready for a fall season of football and “Boulevarding” (if this isn’t a word yet – and spellcheck tells me it’s not – then I’m inventing it now. After all, we don’t tailgate at SMU, we “Boulevard.”). As we get ready for the season, we’re taking a look at ways to increase our brand visibility and bottom line.

To that end, I’ve just finished the third day of The Collegiate Licensing Company’s licensing and merchandising convention. To some of you it might sound boring, but to me it was very enlightening. At Southwest, we licensed and sold branded merchandise - but not to the extent that an athletic department at a major University like SMU does… or should I say can.

It’s amazing what licensed merchandise sales can do for SMU’s brand and bottom line. Retail outlets from Neiman Marcus to Walgreens carry many variations of products sporting university logos and colors. For every licensed item sold, SMU receives a royalty that ultimately helps support the growth of our athletic programs. The more fans wearing an SMU logo in public, the more powerful the brand becomes.

Over the course of the next year, we will increase our efforts to get licensed merchandise in more and more retail outlets around the area and hopefully around the country. Don’t be surprised to see merchandise in colors other than SMU Red and SMU Blue. Being trendy and fashionable is incredibly important (especially for women’s apparel). We’ll continue to stay true to our marks where it makes sense and you will see most of our apparel and non-apparel items presented with traditional marks.

So, how can you help? Well, a few ways… when in a retail outlet that doesn’t carry SMU merchandise, ask the store manager for it. At the end of the day, demand drives the stores to carry SMU items. Also, if you see non-licensed merchandise being sold, let us know. The selling of unlicensed merchandise is unlawful and takes money out of SMU’s pockets. SMU has invested millions in its brand over the years and these individuals are illegally profiting on our investment.

Finally, August 31st is College Colors Day. Companies and corporations across the country are encouraged to allow their employees to wear their college colors to promote higher education and, of course, the kickoff of the college football season. This is a great way to get SMU fans geared up for the Texas Tech game a few days early. So update that SMU ‘Vardrobe and do so by visiting