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verbal language

Voice and personality

It’s the job of anyone writing on behalf of IU to understand our brand’s character. Whether you’re writing to educate or to persuade, your messages should consistently represent IU’s voice and personality.


Getting to know the IU brand

It’s important to speak in a consistent voice that is authentic to our brand’s identity, regardless of the medium through which we’re reaching our audience. 

One of the primary ways our personality is represented in our marketing and communications is through our voice. That personality embodies Indiana University’s beliefs, reputation, behavior, and enduring values. It also goes hand-in-hand with our brand truths.

We reveal our brand’s character and constitution through the voice we use to speak to our constituents. It remains steady regardless of audience or execution. But, that is not to say it never changes. Just as humans evolve gradually over time, our brand voice might undergo small changes over generations to reflect similar incremental changes to our ideals.


Speaking in the IU voice

In order to understand who we are, it’s helpful to think about the IU brand in human terms. 

We are intelligent

We are knowledgeable, rational, and thoughtful, but still curious and inquisitive. We are NOT know-it-alls or pedantic.

We are confident

We are determined and assertive, exuding resolve and composure. But we are neither arrogant nor stubborn.

We are kind

We are caring, compassionate, and empathetic. By nature, we are welcoming and inclusive. But we are not sappy or pandering.

We are relatable

We are down-to-earth, approachable, and human. But we are not self-effacing or bashful.


Forming connections through consistency

If we’re doing our jobs well, over time, we’ll form lasting relationships with our constituents. They will become familiar with our brand voice, and get to know us well.

That’s why being acquainted with IU’s character is so critical. Having an intimate understanding of our persona will help guide your verbal expression, and will serve to make IU more relatable and trustworthy. This will help all of us foster more meaningful connections with our constituents.


Expressing ourselves through tone 

Although our personality doesn’t change across touchpoints, our tone is far more flexible. You might speak to a 17-year-old student on social media differently than you would to professors honoring a senior faculty member at a formal ceremony. 

Change your tone

Keep learning about IU's verbal language

There’s more to our messaging than brand voice. Be sure to dive into the other components of our verbal language system.

  • Inclusive writing

    Always make your writing accessible and inclusive to maximize its reach and impact.

  • Copywriting for different media

    Learn best practices for writing persuasively across media touchpoints.

  • Messaging strategy

    Develop an approach to messaging that can be carried out cohesively across campaign executions.

  • Our editorial style

    Get access to our style guides: the IU Web Style Guide and our Editorial Style Guide.