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Telling Brand Stories


MSU’s core brand narrative builds understanding and affinity among our audiences.

It communicates that, as Spartans, we are part of something bigger than ourselves. In MSU’s latest brand campaign, a high-impact visual style paired with strong, succinct headlines plays off these two meanings — ‘Spartans’ and ‘part of’ — to show they are inseparable. It also focuses on people, who are the heart of our university.

The ‘Part of’ campaign builds on MSU’s core brand strategy and is summed up in the following statement:

As Spartans, we are part of a community of people who inspire us, push us and change our perspectives. It’s about more than just the progress we make as individuals. It’s about being part of a group of ambitious individuals who tackle the world’s greatest challenges, together. With determination, grit and an uncommon will, we impact industries, culture, the world. Because as Spartans, we are part of something bigger than ourselves — part of something more. Spartans Will.

The following brand messages, organized around our three brand pillars, help communicate what is distinctive about MSU and how we deliver on the promise of our positioning. Use them to shape communications so audiences hear consistent messages, no matter who is speaking to them. Also use them as guidelines for content planning.

Passionate, Talented People

Spartans are driven to make a difference. Forward-looking and open to new ideas, we collaborate to generate new solutions and serve as partners to make the world a better place.

  • We have a passion to make a difference.
    Spartans have a deep passion to help affect the lives of others through their work. They are resilient and determined to make a difference.
  • We are forward-thinking change agents.
    Spartans are forward-thinking problem solvers and active agents for positive change. Spartans innovate to make the world better.
  • We are team players.
    Spartans believe teamwork is critical to helping individuals and communities thrive and to solving hard problems. We are open to new perspectives and collaborate for the common good.
  • We produce leading talent.
    With nationally recognized faculty, accomplished students and notable alumni, Spartans are shaping a fast-changing world with the excellence needed to deliver impact.

Inclusive, Collaborative Community

Spartans come from many backgrounds. We celebrate and respect the diversity of our community and support the inclusion and success of all. Spartans connect and collaborate, working together for the greater good.

  • All Spartans belong here.
    Committed to building a welcoming, inclusive community and ensuring equity for all, we recognize and celebrate diverse social and cultural identities, respecting and supporting every Spartan.
  • Our power is our collective strength.
    We are a force for good as Spartans improve their own lives and make a difference in the lives of others in communities across the nation and world.
  • We partner for impact.
    Spartans come together to foster creativity for the best solutions. We work across disciplines, boundaries and cultures and in partnership with the communities we serve.

Academic and Research Excellence

As a leading global research university with a land-grant mission, we advance knowledge to address global challenges and improve lives. Our drive to excellence is a commitment to advance equity and generate positive impact.

  • We offer top programs and an exceptional experience.
    With top-ranked programs, nationally recognized faculty, more than 400 programs of study and an array of unique co-curricular opportunities, we offer our students an exceptional and personalized educational experience that prepares them to succeed and lead.
  • We provide access to excellence and opportunity.
    We deliver access to a high-quality education and support the success of every student’s journey to graduation and beyond.
  • We are leaders in research and innovation.
    Our research, scholarship and creative pursuits push the boundaries of discovery and drive practical solutions to address global challenges and improve the lives of all. Our rising research funding, nationally recognized faculty and programs, and innovative research facilities contribute to and reflect our success.

Making Content Stand Out

Spartans are exceptional. Our stories should be too.

  • Bring Spartans to life. They are the heroes of our stories. What drives the people behind the work? What inspires their work, and what is the impact?
  • Demonstrate how Spartan research makes a positive impact on people in Michigan and/or the world in a way that instills pride and inspires sharing. Highlight the benefit of the work to others and why it is important that MSU does this work.
  • Communicate how MSU is preparing students for successful careers/lives and to be the next generation of leaders, lifesavers and world changers by providing distinctive academic opportunities and support for their success.
  • Highlight Michigan State’s excellence and the impact of an institution of our scope and scale. MSU is a leading research university, a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and a Big Ten institution. We are home to world-class research and teaching facilities, a contemporary art museum, historic arboretum and botanical garden and more.
  • Look for first, best and only points that distinguish us. MSU was the first institution of higher learning to teach scientific agriculture. We have dozens of top-ranked programs and some of the world’s longest-running research experiments. The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams is a world-leading and one-of-a-kind facility advancing the study of nuclear science.
  • Include historical context: MSU has a storied history. Including relevant past achievements, discoveries and recognitions establishes our track record of excellence and helps demonstrate our momentum.
  • Provide useful, interesting information that is valuable, worth subscribing to, following and sharing.


Want to Learn More?

Next Section: Spartans Will.