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Tone and Voice

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Give the reader something to do

Always provide a single, clear call to action.

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.

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)
  • 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.
  • What will YOU do at CMU?
  • What will your degree DO for YOU?
  • Inspiring the next generation of doers.

Our Tagline

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.