Marketing budgets in higher education have been decimated, which means that universities and colleges across the country – like their corporate counterparts everywhere – have had to come up with new, low-cost strategies and tactics to reach their audiences. Enter Andrew Careaga, of Missouri University of Science and Technology, the prototype of a new breed of marketers who are finding that today’s communications require a different mindset and whole different set of skills.
He blogs. He tweets. He Facebooks. All while conducting traditional PR marketing, brand identity and strategic communications duties. These skills make Careaga a model for an emerging style of marketing professional, and they earned him the prestigious title of “International Brand Master of the Year, 2009.”
Careaga is director of communications at Missouri S&T. Over the past two-plus years, Careaga has led a campuswide rebranding effort as the institution, formerly known as the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR), changed its identity.
As part of the rebranding, Careaga and his communications team embraced social media to frame communications and address controversies surrounding the name change. Missouri S&T was one of the first to embrace micro-blogging site Twitter, setting up its account in December 2007. The effort helped to reposition the university as one of the nation’s distinctive technological universities.
“With the rise and influence of social media, communicators have more ways to get our message across than ever before,” Careaga says. “But it’s important to remember that social media is a two-way street, and we need to listen to stakeholders as much as we talk to them – if not more so.”
Careaga will be the featured speaker at Educational Marketing Group‘s 2009 Brand Manager’s Summit, October 19-21st in Denver, where he’ll reveal his secrets to new media success for other higher education professionals from around the country.
Careaga won top honors in the international brand master competition in which Jenny Beckman-Wong from RMIT University in Australia and Catherine “Punky” Scruggs from Strayer University in Newington, Virginia were runners up.