In regulated industries, quality assurance is a top priority. Buyers value partners who they can trust to consistently manufacture products that meet their needs. Manufacturers maintain this consistency by following established standards for quality management.
Certification to ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 13485:2003 quality management standards is one way to demonstrate competence and compliance. While a company might already adhere to the ISO standards, earning certification from a registrar adds a level of credibility that customers appreciate. This official designation is also a useful marketing tool.
Promoting your certification carelessly, however, can give the wrong impression and thus diminish your credibility. ISO provides guidelines for appropriately publicizing your certification. Here are the essential Do’s and Don’ts to remember:
Do’s and Don’ts
Reproduce or modify the ISO logo in your promotional materials or on your website
Despite what a Google Images search might turn up, there is no official “certified” or promotional logo from ISO. Companies are not allowed to use the trademarked ISO logo or any image that might be mistaken for the logo. If you want to represent your certification visually, you can a) create an image that is distinct from ISO branding, b) incorporate the certification name into your existing logo, or c) ask to use your registrar’s logo.
Use the ISO name in your product or service name
This rule also applies to domain names, website names, and company names – basically anything that would imply endorsement from ISO. Remember, your registrar affirms that you comply with ISO standards; ISO itself does not approve or certify compliance.
Imply product certification
ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 13485:2003 sets the requirements for a company’s quality management system, or QMS; these are not individual product or service requirements and therefore “must not be presented in any way that may be interpreted as their being product certifications or product guarantees.” Do not indicate the certification on product labels or packaging. If you’d like to mention your certification in product-related marketing materials, you can say that “the management system governing the manufacture of this product is ISO 9001:2008 certified,” or that your company uses “ISO 13485:2003 certified processes.”
Use the word “accredited” to refer to your ISO certification
Both “certified” and “registered” are acceptable in practical uses, as they indicate the designation conferred by your registrar. “Accredited” would only apply to the registrar’s ability to carry out such certification.
Ask the permission of your registrar to use their name and/or logo
Citing your certifying organization on your website and in a press release can add credibility to your achievement. Asking permission to use their name and letting them review your press release or other written materials is not only polite but also helps ensure accuracy.
Use the full name of the standards to which you’re certified
Writing “ISO 13485:2003 certified” helps to avoid ambiguity and confusion with previous versions of the requirements. It also helps to avoid the misconception that ISO carried out the certification. Don’t say “ISO certified.” Definitely don’t say “certified by ISO.”
Specify the scope of your certification
Often ISO 9001:2008 certifies the QMS of a certain facility or process. If this is the case, be specific about what areas of your business are covered; implying that your whole organization is certified would be misleading. In March of 2014, a division of Arnold Magnetic Technologies earned Nadcap accreditation for its Heat Treating process. The press release clearly indicated the relevant division and process in order to avoid generalization and confusion.
A well-documented QMS is the key to a quick and seamless ISO audit and certification process. Download our Audit-Ready Checklist to see if your system is up to par.
8 Ways to Publicize Your Certification
- Distribute a press release to local and industry-specific media organizations.
- Place a call-out on your website that links to your certificate and a page with more details about your QMS.
- Reference the certification (remember: full name) in a version of your logo. Incorporate this logo into tip sheets and other downloads, print materials, stationery, and trade show booth and other event signage.
- Include a reference to it in your boilerplate “About Us” text for future press releases, social media profiles, conference directories, etc.
- Create an offer “to celebrate our new ISO 9001:2008 certification” and promote it via an email campaign.
- Mention your certification in advertisements.
- Add your certification to your email signature.
- Promote your press release, offer, and other related content on your social media channels.
Promoting your ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 13485:2003 quality management certification in the right way can enhance your company’s credibility and marketability.