Northern Kentucky University recently hired a marketing firm to have NKU’s marks and logos officially licensed.
This means that vendors outside of NKU will be able to sell NKU products endorsed.
The three-year agreement with Strategic Marketing Affiliates provides the university with a chance to improve school spirit, increase enrollment and heigten interest in the community, according to Deidra Fajack, director of KNU Alumni Programs.
Fajack previously worked at the University of Cincinnati, where she said there was an “amazing difference,” after UC allowed its marks to become officially licensed.
The goals of the agreement include brand building, protection of the marks and revenue generation, according to John Mybeck of SMA.
“In this day of increased competition for new students, it is extremely important for any institution to make sure that their brand is as strong as it can be,” Mybeck said.
“A solid licensing program is an important cog in that marketing wheel.” SMA also serves as the licensing agent for five conferences, including the Big Ten and Mid-Continent Conferences, the Horizon League and 13 other colleges and universities.
“We are tremendously excited about the opportunities that Northern Kentucky presents for us and look forward to working together with university personnel to help them achieve their goals,” Mybeck said.
“We feel very confident that the reputation of NKU coupled with the strong support of their alumni, students and fans will lead to great things for the licensing program.”
Currently, NKU merchandise is hard to find outside of the campus bookstore.
Adam Smith, manager of Cincy Shop at the Florence Mall, said he does get some requests for NKU apparel. Cincy Shop only sells an NKU hat. Smith would be more inclined to stock NKU merchandise. But “the problem is we can’t sell it because we can’t really get to it.”
Al Stigers, owner of “I Love Sports” at Eastgate Mall, said the biggest problem isn’t getting the logo licensed.
Stigers also gets requests for NKU merchandise, but he says the factories that manufacture licensed apparel have production restrictions.
“You can get licensing, but to get the product you have to reach minimums,” Stigers said.
Stigers provided an example using the NKU flag. To sell an NKU flag, the manufacturer must create 144 flags, which can be shipped to the store in monthly increments. The store has to commit to selling 144 flags before ordering the product, or it risks taking a loss.
Mybeck said, “Many times retailers are more likely to bring new items in once there is a perceived demand for the item.”
NKU just needs demand.
“By raising this question to the store managers, we can plant the seed for that retailer to carry NKU merchandise in the future.”