A common question I hear from partners is about demonstrating their relationship with Microsoft to customers. Most often, the request is related to the partner using the Microsoft logo, Microsoft product logos, and Microsoft services logos in its sales and marketing materials.

In general, the Microsoft logo and our product logos are not intended for third-party use, even by Microsoft partners. But there are still ways you can tell customers that your solutions are based on Microsoft products and technologies, and let them know you are a member of the Microsoft Partner Network.

In this post, you’ll find guidance and resources for how to talk about your relationship with Microsoft; explain how your products and solutions are based on, or work with, Microsoft products and technologies; and showcase the Microsoft expertise your company has.

Brand and trademark basics partners should know

The Microsoft corporate brand, and its product brands, like Windows, Office, Office 365, Lync, SharePoint, etc. are trademarks, and they are valuable Microsoft assets. The trademarks cover the Microsoft name and logo as well as the names and logos for Microsoft software, product, and service names. It’s important to know how you may—and may not—use Microsoft trademark and brand assets in positioning and marketing your company and solutions, including on:

  • Your web site
  • Your domain name
  • Your products
  • Your product packaging and manuals
  • Your promotional and advertising materials

On the General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines web page, you’ll find guidance for using Microsoft trademarks correctly on all of your properties—those listed above and a few others.

If you have a question about using Microsoft trademarks as a partner, please ask it in the Partner Membership forum in the Partner Support Community.

How to showcase your MPN membership, capabilities, and solutions

Here are four ways you can demonstrate your Microsoft Partner Network membership, capabilities, and solutions to customers.

1. Market your Microsoft competency with a custom logo

If your company has attained one or more Microsoft competencies, your Microsoft Partner Network benefits include a customized logo that let you align to the Microsoft brand, promote your status as a Microsoft partner, and showcase your company’s areas of expertise. Your logo is specific to your competency achievement—sign in to Logo Builder to create and download your custom logo in the formats you need to incorporate it into your sales and marketing materials to highlight the competencies you’ve earned and differentiate your business.

New competency logos were released in October 2012, and by July 2013, you must fully adopt the new branding, removing any older versions of the logos from all of your materials. Build the latest version of your logo with Logo Builder.

More about marketing your competencies.

2. Promote your team’s Microsoft technical certifications and sales accreditations

Even if your company does not have a Microsoft competency, you have probably made investments in your sales, marketing, and technical personnel to ensure they have the necessary Microsoft product knowledge and expertise to build, sell, and implement your solutions and address customer needs. Technical certifications and sales accreditations can help your company demonstrate expertise and stand out from competitors.

To find training for your team that aligns to products and competencies, use the Microsoft partner learning paths. Upcoming live (in-person and online) training opportunities are listed in the US partner training Hot Sheet.

3. Use Ready-to-Go Marketing materials and resources

On the Ready-to-Go Marketing web site, you’ll find campaigns that include prepared materials—many that include a section you can customize with your brand and offering for customers—aligned to Microsoft products and technologies, an event service that includes content to help you plan and execute customer events, and a web syndication service that lets you keep your web site updated with current Microsoft product information.

Get started with the US Ready-to-Go Marketing site.

Find additional marketing resources in the Partner Marketing Center.

4. Make sure your company and solutions are represented on Microsoft Pinpoint

imageConnect with new customers searching for qualified Microsoft partners, applications, and services by listing your company in the Microsoft Pinpoint online marketplace. By managing your Pinpoint presence and optimizing your profile, you can attract customers. More than 20 percent of Pinpoint visitors become viable prospects.

Visit the Pinpoint Partner Center.