Guidelines for Testimonials and Endorsements of Outside Entities
From time to time a vendor or other company with which CSU works will ask our faculty or staff members to provide testimonial quotes for the vendor’s promotional purposes. These can be good opportunities to help a partner and benefit the university through positive public exposure CSU’s expertise and respected leadership. However, endorsements can also lead to misunderstandings and to misuse of CSU’s name or reputation, or give a vendor an unfair advantage when competing for CSU’s business. Participation is acceptable under the following parameters:
- CSU does not endorse products or services of external entities.
- CSU employees may not imply CSU’s endorsement of the vendor, product or service, or promote the vendor, product or service in comparison to competitors.
- CSU employees may describe factual information such as what the vendor, product or service does, how it is used, and its attributes (e.g. speed, accuracy, efficiency, etc.).
- Information shared in quotes, interviews, etc., must be factual rather than opinion-based. It is acceptable to make a statement that based on experience the product or service performs well, but not to make statements that the product is high quality, the best on the market, or other such qualitative pronouncements.
- A CSU employee may render an opinion about a vendor, product or service if they do so in an individual capacity and not on behalf of CSU. There must be a statement included to the effect that the views represented are not official ones of the University.
- Promotional material that identifies some unit of the University as a customer or client but does not give an opinion concerning the quality of a product is permissible.
- Statements made should be as specific as possible, identifying the unit or individual involved. For example, it is not CSU that is using a particular software product, it is the faculty member teaching a particular course in a certain department.
- Endorsements may not be given in exchange for a pecuniary benefit such as free or reduced cost services or products, monetary payments, or financial interests.
- Yes – “In the Clark Lab of CSU’s Biology Department we use the Ramco1870 software to quickly measure test samples, which is important because we process thousands of samples each day.”
- No – “CSU has found that the Ramco1870 is hands-down the fastest and best tool on the market.”
- Yes – “Prof. Smith and her colleagues do a lot of research on remote mountain glaciers, so the light weight and portability of the iCAM allows our research team to study the problem right where it occurs.”
- No – “All the other products similar to the iCAM are much heavier and aren’t worth considering.”
- Yes – “Because the MorrillACTivator is cross-compatible with tools other labs are using, we are able to share results and collaborate with our international partners. It also allows users to customize the interface depending on their skill level which allows undergraduate students to share the equipment with more experienced researchers”
- No – “If CSU used any other product it wouldn’t be as compatible as the MorrilACTivatoris with other equipment. Plus, it just looks better, so our team wouldn’t consider any other brand of measurement tool.”
- Photographs of identifiable CSU landmarks, buildings, statues, etc. which imply an endorsement of a product or service are not permitted (for example, an advertisement for a new car parked in front of the CSU Ram statue).
- Advance, written permission must be obtained from the Division of University Communications for any use of CSU’s name, logo, trademarks or images for fundraising, advertising or promotion for any entity other than Colorado State University or one or more of its colleges, departments or other units.
- Use of CSU’s name, logos, trademarks, or images in the context of a university strategic partnership or preferred vendor arrangement approved by the CSU System Office and/or CSU Procurement Services will be authorized and detailed in the partnership agreement.
- A university strategic partnership may also involve co-branding. Co-branding occurs when CSU’s name, logo, trademarks or images are used in conjunction with those of an external entity to denote an ongoing strategic relationship, shared facility, joint project, or donor contribution. Co-branding must be approved in advance by the Division of University Communications.
For clarification, or to discuss questions that arise, please contact the Director of Public Affairs and Communications at (970) 491-1545.