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A consistent voice is imperative to maintain UND's brand standards. In order to keep UND's voice consistent, keep these helpful tips in mind.
Use the following guidelines to ensure UND's brand voice is consistent.
The UND brand voice is always:
- Direct, using an active tone and unpretentious language.
- Positive to communicate our impact and convey opportunity.
- Straightforward, using proof points and statistics to substantiate our commitment to hard work, positive impacts and the future.
- Packed with action verbs and powerful language to reflect our determined culture.
- Concise, featuring digestible content, particularly for online and social media posts.
The UND brand voice is never:
- Complicated, confusing or featuring overly technical language.
- Forced, feigned or overly excited.
- Trying to be something it's not; we avoid qualifiers and passive phrases like "we will" or "we're going to."
- Packed with clichés or flowery language.
- Clouded with sales speak, long-winded passages of text or verbose content.
Dos and Don'ts
Use the following guidelines to ensure that content fits UND's personality and tone of voice.
- Be concise. Details can add color, but always be mindful of length. Long blocks of text are difficult to read, particularly online.
- Be conversational. Craft your content like you're telling the story of UND and its great students. Your writing should never read or feel like you're issuing a press release.
- Think like your audience (students, prospective students, parents, alumni, etc.). Demonstrate that you understand and care about each group’s different wants and needs. When talking to insider audiences, communicate to them as members of the UND community by tapping into your shared knowledge of the university. For new audiences, be clear, straightforward, passionate and informative.
- Let your pride for UND come across as arrogance. When communicating a measure of success, keep it honest and direct and go easy on the superlatives.
- Use UND lingo and insider references when communicating with audiences who are not deeply connected with the community. Always spell out acronyms and explain proprietary items.
- Use long words or phrases when shorter ones will work just as well.
Tone of Voice in Action
|Audience||What We Say||What We Don't Say|
|Brand-Building/Awareness||Lead by Action||We’re Really Leading with Action at UND|
|Prospective Students||Learn Skills that Drive the World Forward||A UND Education Will Teach you the Skills to Make a Difference!|
|Parents||A Future that Works: 86% of Graduates Hold Jobs Related to their UND Education||Your Child Will Be Employed in a Job Related to their UND Education|
|Alumni||Pass the Torch to the Next Generation of Leaders||UND is a leader in professional education, focused on preparing minds for brilliant futures|
Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind
- This institution is called the "University of North Dakota" or "UND." These are the only acceptable references.
- Unless otherwise noted, Associated Press (AP) style is the designated writing guideline for UND.
- Writing style must always be consistent. If you spell out the month when writing a date, do not abbreviate the month later in the story. If you highlight the names of alumni in bold types in an article. Instances of inconsistency will always appear as mistakes.
- Capitalize proper nouns, but never references to them. Capitalize a person's title only when it immediately precedes his or her name.
- Watch your words. To show sensitivity to rich variety of races, religions and other aspects of identity, we must respect cultural, personal and religious differences. Don’t mention ethnic, racial or other individual characteristics unless they are pertinent to the reader.
- Do not complicate your writing; use direct and practical language that is free of jargon. We want people to understand and embrace the great work being done at UND, so explain it in simple, everyday English.
- Keep your writing active whenever possible, including in headlines. When the subject of a sentence performs an action, the sentence is written in active voice. When the subject is being acted upon, the sentence is written in passive voice. (Passive: The hypothesis of the researchers was proved by their experiment. Active: The researchers' experiment proved their hypothesis.)
For questions or additional resources on UND's writing style, contact identity@UND.edu.