Each story we tell should have both a clear purpose and an authentic tone that feels distinctively like Central Michigan University. A helpful first step for any communicator is to commit the personality words to memory, as a reference. Then, use the following writing tips as a stylistic gauge.


Writing Tips

  1. Be clear and concise

    The most effective messages are uncomplicated. Rather than getting hung up on academic language or marketing jargon, write clearly and in a straight-forward tone.
  2. Know your audience

    The Central Michigan University brand will be communicated to lots of different audiences, with different needs. Before you start writing, know who it is you’re aiming to connect with.
  3. Make it all about "you"

    Use the second-person “you” or “your” to engage and motivate the reader. While everything you write will feel like it’s about us, in reality, it’s about them.
  4. Say one thing well

    Every tweet, pamphlet, headline, or blurb should have one distinct message. Get to the point and refrain from sending mixed messages, so that your audience knows how to act on the information you’re giving them.
  5. Focus on doing

    We have a great history; but the most important work is the work we do in the present. Express our ‘can do’ spirit by speaking in an active voice, and talking about the great things we’re doing for our students and our state right now.
  6. Provide a benefit

    What’s in it for the reader? If you can’t answer this question, it’s time to pause and reconsider the piece.
  7. Back it up

    Our storytelling should feature relevant points of pride, statistics, testimonials, and emotion — but use them to support our messaging, not as a substitute for it.
  8. Give the reader something to do

    Always provide a single, clear call to action.
  9. Be human

    Our students, faculty, and alumni are the best examples of the work we’re doing. Highlight their stories, their wins, and the challenges they face as part of the fabric of the Central Michigan story.
  10. Be confident, not cocky

    We have a lot to be proud of — and it’s okay to tout our successes. The key is to make sure our messaging is witty and bold, rather than derogatory or boastful.

Brand Headlines

Brand headlines can be used in various tactics for Central Michigan University at the brand level. Each headline ties back to CMU’s brand essence and brand pillars. They can serve as calls to action or copy on advertisements (billboards, digital ads, light pole banners, etc.), and are intended to demonstrate how the CMU brand messaging can be brought to life in various ways.

  • We DO _____ (connection / community / cutting-edge / competition / compassion)
  • I CAN _____ (predict tornadoes. Save endangered species. Do research that matters.)
  • Learn. Lead. Level-up.
  • Learn together. Lead together.
  • Put your learning into motion. (/Put your knowledge into action.)
  • Student-focused. Action-oriented. Forward-facing.
  • We dive in. We ask questions. We take action.
  • Where learning _____ (active verb here, dependent on subject area) e.g. Where learning takes flight (for mechanical engineering) / Where learning and action collide (for physics) / Where learning leaps off the page (for literature)
  • What will YOU do at CMU?
  • What will your degree DO for YOU?
  • Inspiring the next generation of doers.

We Do Taglines

The role of a tagline is to create a quick and memorable phrase that reinforces and supports the tone and message of the brand. The tagline is required on all recruitment pieces, advertisements and all large communications. Because of that role, taglines must not be changed, and should be used alongside the brand identity.


Tagline Identifiers

Tagline Stacked