Written by OneCoast Collegiate & Custom Territory Manager, Susan Kirtland
When I started with OneCoast, I thought that I would have to create new custom graphics for the collegiate market every year. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, the best sellers are the college Word Mark, arch and the mascot. These collegiate symbols have been critical icons for hundreds of years. This job didn’t require me to come up with new items. Instead, it allowed me to work with buyers to update these looks on current fashions and capitalize on the colleges’ strong sense of pride, their long history, a form of identity, and the continuation of longevity of the institution.
Custom reflects pride. Working in the “custom” business you quickly realize there is a great deal of pride and spirit on a college campuses. Pride can be achievements or feeling a part of something that is well respected. Pride is important to prospective and current students, alumni, and relatives of those who have attended the college. I have a daughter who is currently a junior at a Florida Atlantic University. As we went through her college selection process, she made it a point to go to a school that had a student body that was proud to be there. For example, she did not apply to schools without a football team because she wanted to participate in the full college experience. Many colleges in my territory are very school spirited such as Cornell, Colgate and RIT. These schools have both academic and athletic programs that are to be noted. This is important to know as you approach a college store buyer in order to help direct them appropriately to the bestselling custom graphics. Where there is pride, there are multiple opportunities for sales and growth.
Custom reflects history and longevity. Special notable events of the past are vital to school recognition. Special awards, notable discoveries, famous alumni, super star athletes and news worthy social events all contribute to the institutions story, evolving creation and character. A prospective student or alumni will somehow feel deeply connected to the power of the history. Here are a few names you might recognize; Ernie Davis, the first African American to receive the Heisman Trophy, Syracuse University; The Ivy League colleges/universities, old and accomplished, highly respected establishments; Michael Jordan, one of the best NBA players of all time, North Carolina; Marco Rubio, United States Senator, University of Florida; Adam Sandler, Actor & Comedian, Syracuse University.
Custom capitalizes on identity. Identifying the College’s Word Mark, mascot or name arch is essential when working with a buyer. This special recognition has marked the college since the beginning of their inception. Most of these schools carry special licenses. This is to ensure they are used in the proper form and held to the highest standard. One quick glance and anyone would know, in an instant, which college is being represented. These graphics are a staple item in each store and have shown that they are consistent reorders. These graphics also change very little over time but prove to remain best sellers.
Custom symbolizes longevity. As time passes many things change; fashion, electronics, finances, entertainment just to name a few. One thing that looks the same today, as it did upon its creation, is the collegiate symbols created uniquely for their long standing institution and brand. These symbols have transcended time and trend alike. This type of branding help root the student in the university community and give them a sense of belonging to those who have previously walked the same halls. In the custom world, is it important to note the longevity of collegiate history as you represent OneCoast line package to a buyer.
All in all, “custom” in the college market will play a key role in meeting with a buyer. To be successful, for me at least, you need a basic understanding of the pride and the spirit of a campus as well as recognizing their history and longevity.
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