1st Annual International Brand Master


Andrew-Careaga-picture-7-21-09Andrew Careaga’s work demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, an extraordinary ability to address the challenges of re-naming and re-branding an institution, and an exceptional understanding of new-media marketing and public relations in higher education.

Andrew Careaga is the First Annual International Brand Master.

Andrew Careaga

Director of Communications

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Andrew’s credentials included the following:

  • His success in renaming the University of Missouri-Rolla to Missouri University of Science and Technology and the quick timeframe in which it was done;
  • His strategy and accomplishments in rebranding of the university as a top national technological university;
  • His strategic and effective utilization of new media including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, http://namechange.mst.edu/;
  • His clear and distinct brand strategy, messaging, and imagery used in marketing the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Andrew also received strong support from marketing professionals voting for him as their choice for the 2009 International Brand Master. Each finalist was given a short period of time to prepare a public statement of why they would be a good choice for the Award when they were notified of their finalist status. Here is a reprise of Andrew’s statement:

Over the past two-plus years, Andrew has led a campus wide rebranding effort as the campus formerly known as the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) became Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T). The name change was a substantial rebranding that occurred in a very short time frame (at least by higher ed standards). As part of the rebranding, Andrew and the entire communications team embraced social media to address controversies surrounding the name change (through the “name change conversations” blog http://namechange.mst.edu) and to relaunch the university as one that is truly among the nation’s distinctive technological universities. Missouri S&T was one of the first to embrace micro-blogging site Twitter, setting up its account (http://twitter.com/MissouriSandT) in December 2007. This led to social media higher ed consultant to label Andy “the Nostradamus of Higher Ed Twitter” in a March 2009 blog post (http://squaredpeg.com/index.php/2009/03/27/twitter-higher-ed/).


The International Brand Master Award selection process proved to be a difficult one, with two additional finalists who demonstrated impressive achievements in their own right. We offer our sincere congratulations to both of the finalists below for their outstanding work, exceptional achievements, and professionalism: Runner-up Jenny Beckman-Wong from RMIT University in Melbourne Australia, and Catherine “Punky” Scruggs from Strayer University in the United States.

Jenny Beckman-Wong

Director of University Marketing

RMIT University (Australia)

For a number of years, RMIT University’s market position had been at number three out of the universities in Melbourne. It had lost market share in beginning undergraduate students for three consecutive years (2006 – 2008). In an increasingly competitive educational market, the difficulty for RMIT lay in its ability to clearly articulate its brand positioning in the marketplace. In 2008, RMIT commenced a brand project, articulating a new brand value proposition that was implemented through a campaign launched in September of that year. By strategically positioning the University through a robust brand strategy, RMIT University achieved a significant increase of first preferences in new undergraduate students and TAFE (vocational) students (16.8% and 22.1% respectively). In 2009. RMIT was second in the region in first preferences for higher education and first for TAFE. The brand strategy was implemented within eight months. RMIT showed a 43% increase in mid-year applications in 2009.

Catherine “Punky” Scruggs

Manager of Brand Strategy and Creative Services

Strayer University

If it has the Strayer University name on it, Punky has overseen the strategic, creative, copy and design elements. Since joining Strayer University as a graphic artist, she has created and executed brand strategies that encompassed Strayer’s rebranding effort when Strayer College became Strayer University, when Strayer’s online program unfolded, creating a global presence and branding support, and later as a new executive management team restructured Strayer’s internal and external organization. In 1997, the school had nine campus locations in a single media market. Today, with an aggressive growth strategy, the University boasts 67 campuses in 32 markets and counting. Punky has managed this growth with energy, enthusiasm and a level of institutional knowledge and creativity that allow Strayer to evolve without straying from its core brand or academic mission.