The Fresno State Trademark Licensing Program, under the leadership of Clarence Chiong, was recognized as the national collegiate licensing program of the year, earning the 2017 Synergy Award from the International Collegiate Licensing Association.

Chiong, who also was recognized for his promotion of the University’s brand, will receive the award for Fresno State on June 14 at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of

Clarence Chiong

Clarence Chiong

Athletics national convention in Orlando, Florida.

The Synergy Award is given annually to a university or other collegiate organization that demonstrated extraordinary commitment to collegiate licensing and contributed to the betterment of the industry and the institution or organization.

The awardee must also have made significant contributions to the collegiate licensing industry through innovative or new ideas during the current academic year, and must play a vital leadership role on campus.

Fresno State’s licensing office manages the use of the University’s trademarks on products and merchandise for commercial, promotional or internal use. The University’s trademarks include, but are not limited to: the words “California State University, Fresno,” “Fresno State” and “Fresno State Bulldogs,” as well as University and athletic logos, including the Bulldog logo, Green V and word marks.

Fresno State was cited for putting a creative and unique flavor on traditional marketing strategies and also for fostering collaboration in implementing sound collegiate licensing strategies across all University departments.

Fresno State’s most prominent project of 2016 cited by the association was the “Check the Tags” campaign. The campaign educates the community on the importance of recognizing and purchasing only officially licensed merchandise in the marketplace. Videos and promotional signage were developed to promote the campaign’s message throughout the campus and at athletic and retailer/licensee events. Through the Fresno State athletics media rights holder, Learfield, the additional marketing opportunities were secured at athletic events.

Fresno State receives royalties from the sale of officially licensed merchandise produced by licensed vendors. The royalties from about $12 million in retail sales of officially licensed Fresno State merchandise last year was used to support various student programs on campus, including intercollegiate athletics.   

Other initiatives that went above and beyond traditional marketing collateral included:

  • Innovative marketing signs such as free-standing mascot cutouts and an interactive, reprogrammable video display that was incorporated into displays at multiple local retail outlets.
  • A Fresno State-themed hat as part of the Paul George Collection by New Era that lays the foundation for future development opportunities with Fresno State alumni and former student-athletes
  • Local merchandise buyers were hosted at special events at basketball and football games for networking and to provide first-hand looks at the Bulldog brand they are championing, including a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Save Mart Center.
  • Collaborating and improving relations with other campus programs such as teaming up with University Student Union Productions to improve and support its ongoing “Bulldog Wednesdays” initiative that encourages students to wear Fresno State gear on campus the first Wednesday of each month.

“[Chiong] has gone above and beyond to educate and engage the Fresno State community throughout the year’s campaign, further strengthening both the University brand and our collegiate licensing industry,” said Rachael Bickerton, president of the International Collegiate Licensing Association and director of trademark licensing and enforcement at Boise State University.

A native of Oakland, Chiong began working in the athletics marketing department when he graduated from Fresno State in 1997. He started managing the trademark licensing program in 1999. In 2015, the program moved to the Division of University Advancement, which oversees marketing, communications and fundraising for the University.

For more information on the trademark licensing program or for details about becoming a licensed vendor or sourcing officially licensed product for resale, contact Chiong at 559.278.4451.

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