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Voice, Tone & Audience


When creating communications about MSU, consider who you are speaking to and how you want your message to sound to your audience.

Crafting an appropriate voice and tone is an important part of telling meaningful, engaging stories.


Communicating with a consistent voice helps us establish and express our personality and reflect the way Spartans think and work and what we value. We are conversational, direct, smart and genuine.


While our voice is consistent, our tone changes based on the audience we are communicating with and what’s happening in their world and ours. While staying true to brand, we adapt our messaging and content when communicating with prospective students, alumni, staff and faculty, donors and other audiences.

Tone is reflected in messaging and through other content choices, including photos, design and music. It’s also reflected through our content choices and our content mix. Using the appropriate tone at the right time shows we respect and understand our audience.


Before creating communications, consider the audience you want to reach. Some of MSU’s audiences include:

Faculty: Tenured and non-tenured faculty, instructors, teaching assistants and academic staff.

Staff: Support staff working in many roles, including clerical-technical, facilities and grounds, health and safety, communications, student services and more.

Students: Prospective and current undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

Parents and families: Family members of current and prospective MSU students.

Alumni, donors and friends: Those who earned a degree, who donate to MSU or who have other connections to the university.

Greater Lansing and Michigan public: MSU community neighbors and residents across the state who benefit from the university’s positive impact on Michigan.

Funding partners: Local, state and federal agencies and organizations that allocate money to MSU research and academic activities.


Want to Learn More?

Next Section: Telling Brand Stories