Center for Branding // About Us

Advancing the Principles of Excellence in Brand Management

A group of students having a discussion in a team room

About the Center

The Center for Branding is committed to engaging in cutting-edge research, educating business leaders, partnering with industry, and collaborating with other academic partners both inside and outside of business schools, at the University of Pittsburgh, and beyond.

The center provides innovative programs and workshops to educate our graduate and undergraduate students in the latest practices in digital branding. Focus areas include personal branding, branding using social media and social influencers, and the use of big data/artificial intelligence to understand brand preferences and digital personalization.

Center Director

Vanitha Swaminathan

Vanitha Swaminathan is Thomas Marshall Professor of Marketing at the University of Pittsburgh and the Director & Founder of the Katz Center for Branding, which aims to be a global thought-leader in digital branding and technology branding strategies. As Center Director of the Center for Branding, Prof. Swaminathan has been active in developing thought leadership, partnerships and programs involving various aspects of digital branding and technology branding strategy.

Swaminathan is the incoming Editor of Journal of Marketing, and will serve in that role from 2022-2025. Professor Swaminathan has published extensively in various leading marketing and management journals including Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, and Strategic Management Journal. She has served as Area Editor of Journal of Marketing. She has won awards for her research including the Lehmann Best Paper Awards, Journal of Advertising’s Best Paper Award. Professor Swaminathan is currently serving on a three-year term on the American Marketing Association Board of Directors and previously served in AMA’s Academic Council as President. Professor Vanitha Swaminathan has also co-authored the Fifth Edition of the world-renowned textbook Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity, along with Professor Kevin Lane Keller.

Professor Swaminathan’s research and commentaries on branding and digital marketing are quoted in various international media outlets such as Forbes, The Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Report, NPR, Sirius Radio, Science Daily, Slate, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Economic Times (India), Frontline (India), BBC Brasil (UK), and Último. She has worked with companies such as EA Sports, Smucker’s, DowDuPont, Young & Rubicam, The Hershey Company, KraftHeinz, StarKist, AC Nielsen, GlaxoSmithKline, and P&G, on marketing and branding consulting projects. She has also extensively worked with small businesses on advising them regarding their digital marketing efforts.

Terri Gregos Fitzgerald

Executive in Residence

Terri Gregos FitzgeraldTerri Gregos Fitzgerald was named Executive in Residence of the Katz Center for Branding, a role assigned to a senior-level Pittsburgh-based professional who volunteers time to help guide Katz students and clients of the Center.

Terri has supported Center for Branding Workshops and Independent Study Projects with the Allegheny County Bar Association, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) program(s), and Pitt’s Department of Physical Therapy On the Move program.

Terri has over twenty years of progressive leadership roles in Brand Management, Recruitment Marketing and Sales Promotion. This experience spans across industries including consumer brands-PepsiCo, pharmaceutical-GlaxoSmithKline, higher education-University of Pittsburgh, financial services-BNY Mellon, and consulting – Booz Allen Hamilton -where she has received CandE Award recognition from the Talent Board for her current work supporting the importance of Candidate Experience.

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Elizabeth Sismour


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Throughout my part-time MBA program, I’ve been able to pursue experiences that have helped shape the future of my career. My work with the Center primarily focuses on the collaboration with Pitt Athletics and the NCAA’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) program. I’ve enjoyed working with the Center because it has not only helped me learn better marketing skills for brands but how to better brand myself. I am excited to see where my career goes from here.

Caroline Willig

PT-MBA '23

My time at Katz inspired me to further work within brand management in the sports industry and look at potentially applying for a PhD in the near future. The Center for Branding has helped me develop a love for understanding how sports teams can increase engagement with their fan base and also has allowed me to do research pertaining to that.

Drew Klingenberg

MS '20