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Should You Brand Your Reference Program?

Posted by Bill Lee on June 26, 2006 at 09:46 AM

PROJECT KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE: Tanya Orman from WebEx Communications asks:

I’m wondering if other companies have branded their customer reference programs like Network Appliance did (Evidence 2WIN). I need a few more examples including any examples of the logos that were created as part of the branding. For those companies that do have a branded program, did they have to “make a case” for the need to brand with their internal marcom team? If so, what “evidence” did they provide?

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In my previous company we started to do this and I reached out to some key clients to get feedback on branding the customer reference program. I think it's best to reach out to your customers.


Documentum has a branded Customer Reference Program called Studio D.


Tanya - I can help make an introduction or two to some companies that have done this. I am sure they'd be happy to help, and so will pass your question along to them and encourage them to post any useful information they have. If you'd like to talk to them directly, please drop me a note at

In our experience of running programs - the branded logo is a 'nice to have' but can set all sorts of alarm bells ringing depending on company brand policies - more important is a distinctive and impactful name for your initiative. You need a label that execs can rally behind.
Also, think about how you align to any other internal sales and/or customer satisfaction initiatives. Sometimes its stronger to be integrated with these connected initiatives rather than compete for mindshare.

Our reference program is called the "Customer Excellence Program" it's not necessarily branded but we've been able to achieve mindshare across the company so that people tie customer refs and the source together.

In most cases, we encourage our clients to brand their customer reference programs at least with a name (not as much with a logo). Branding can create long-term recognition and instant credibility for the program both internally and externally. One thing to consider: How will customers perceive the name? If it's too sales-centric, it won't appeal to the customers you want to involve in your program.

Hi Tonya,

Our program at EMC/Documentum is called Studio D and it is branded. We would be happy to discuss the benefits and limitations with this brand. Let me know. You can also look at our website

Marie Ross

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