University of Montana Receives ICLA’s 2019 Synergy Award

ICLA is proud to announce the University of Montana as its 2019 Synergy Award recipient.

Guided by the leadership of Director of Trademarks and Licensing, Erika Palmer, University of Montana Licensing generated record-breaking royalties this past year. UM Licensing released the 1995 copper and gold throwback football jerseys to honor Dave Dickenson, recent National College Football Hall of Fame inductee, quarterback of the '95 National Championship squad and Walter Payton award winner. Accompanied by the 125th Anniversary of the university, Palmer's team also coordinated with Big Sky Brewing Co. to craft Griz Montana Lager, which generated over $250,000. Along with the millions of dollars generated, UM Licensing also continued their efforts to protect the UM Griz brand and strengthened UM's trademark portfolio development.

"The results are in and the ICLA Board of Directors have selected the University of Montana as the 2019 ICLA Synergy Award winner," exclaimed current ICLA President Adam Parker, associate director, licensing & trademarks at BYU. "Erika Palmer and her team at Montana were nothing short of amazing in 2018. From earning record-breaking royalties, to 125th Anniversary Griz Lager, plus numerous other programs both on and off campus, Montana ran a licensing program that is very deserving of the Synergy Award. Congratulations!"

More about the University of Montana's Licensing Program

  • Spearheaded by UM Licensing, the University of Montana experienced record-breaking royalties, along with a record $4 million in sales of Griz products including 530,000 single units sold.
  • Partnered with UM alumni-owned Big Sky Brewing Co. to craft and develop the 125th anniversary beer, Griz Montana Lager. Launched in mid-August, Griz Montana Lager created a short-term, limited-edition product for the market with distribution statewide and in surrounding states.
    • The goal was to re-engage alumni while celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the University with a unique, limited-release product. Along with the brewed lager, Palmer and her team produced secondary products such as hoodies, t-shirts and glassware.
    • Collaboration with Big Sky Brewing Co. resulted in a promotional video that received over 57k views and 1k shares on social media channels, and 186,612 Twitter impressions on launch day alone. Within the first month of launching, Griz Montana Lager was available in 470 locations and 76 establishments, which grew over the course of the short-term license. In total, sales of Griz Montana Lager exceeded $250,000 of brewed product and $30,000 in secondary sales.
  • UM Licensing released throwback product, designed and produced with licensing partner Nike by Branded Custom Sportswear, reflecting retired colors of copper and gold and logos from the 1995 National Championship team, led by National College Football Hall of Fame inductee and Montana native Dave Dickenson. To honor Dickenson, all products offered featured his UM Grizzly football retired jersey number, 15.
    • The primary goal of the copper and gold throwback product, including variations of men's and women's tee, hoodies and head wear, was to highlight and honor the career achievements of Dave Dickenson. In addition, the program helped to establish a retail presence within corporate partner retailers (stadium concession partnerships) and statewide with e-commerce options, generate product demand and 100% sell-through, and create positive fan and community participation.
    • Products launched for retail in mid-August in run-up to the September 22 home football game, when Dickenson was honored on field, surrounded by the football team and thousands of Griz Nation fans dressed in copper and gold. The result was roughly $100,000 in additional non-traditional sales for UM and the Facebook post giving away Dave Dickenson products garnered 1.4k comments, 1.1k likes, and was shared over 1.5k times.
  • Palmer's team generated record-breaking royalties for the University, while UM Licensing continued enforcement and brand protection efforts and strengthened UM's trademark portfolio development.
  • A 2005 graduate of the UM, Palmer returned to the University in '09 and has continued to help fortify the University's brand value through licensed product sales and trademark protection. In addition, she assists with campus-wide marketing and advertising initiatives. Described by her peers as one of the "unsung heroes" pushing creative ideas, she is responsible for establishing a partnership between UM and Operation Hat Trick (OHT).

The University of Montana will be formally recognized as the 2019 Synergy Award recipient at the #ICLA19 Awards Luncheon, Monday, June 10 at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida.

About the ICLA Synergy Award: The Synergy Award is given annually to an exceptional "team" on campus or from a conference that has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to collegiate licensing over the course of the past year and directly contributed to the betterment of the industry and their institution or organization. The team must also have made significant contributions to the collegiate licensing industry through innovative or new ideas during the current academic year, played a vital role on campus and in the industry through their leadership, and demonstrated teamwork/involvement from multiple components in the licensing process.