I. The Voice of the College

The voice of the College of LSA brand is expressed through a number of channels such as print, collateral, and digital communication, as well as less obvious but still valuable media such as PowerPoint presentations. 

The editorial brand guidelines on this page are specific to the College of LSA. Helpful, additional brand guidelines can be found on the University of Michigan's brand style guide page

In general, for the College of LSA:

Let’s strive to make that voice more intelligent but not arrogant, creative but not eccentric, passionate but not effusive and always clear.

II. Our Brand Pillars and Key Messaging

Below are the pillars of our brand -- Resources, A Pragmatic Education, A Complete Experience -- along with a few key messages for each pillar (this is not a comprehensive list). 

RESOURCES

  • Top-ranked programs, top-ranked school for teaching
  • More than 100 majors; more than 100 minors
  • A vast 200k alumni network

PRAGMATIC

  • LSA degrees develop skills for the future
  • Learning from multiple perspectives
  • Advisory and financial support for internships
  • Practical, hands-on learning

EXPERIENCE

  • A unique blend of tradition and innovation, rigor and fun, academics and athletics
  • Engagement beyond the classroom academically and socially
  • Creating a culture of giving that fosters a deep tradition of philanthropy

It may be tempting to take a phrase from the brand pillar, place it in your communications piece, and call it the College's voice. However, there’s much more to crafting key messages.

The brand pillars are a jumping off point. Content creators and editors in departments and units College-wide should be thinking about how to illustrate these ideas with real-world examples when possible. In that way, the brand pillars should inspire and guide your content, instead of just providing text to repurpose. As communicators, the goal is to always be thinking about results and outcomes around these pillars, communicated in an authentic way.

 

III. Developing the College’s Voice in Your Communications

The stories you tell and the way you do it will depend on your audience and your objectives. Here are some examples of effective voice and storytelling based on different audiences.

  • Sample project: LSA Gift Story (from LSA Magazine, during last fundraising campaign)
    • Audience: LSA alumni, potential donors
    • Objective: To inspire a culture of giving to LSA by showing transformative gifts to the College
    • Ideas to communicate from the brand pillar: We work to create a culture of giving that fosters a deep tradition of philanthropy
    • Text used:
      • [title] Thoroughly Modern Mildred
      • [body] Mildred Sommer never forgot the four years she spent at U-M.

        She kept her diploma with her—at her home in Cleveland Heights, Michigan, and then at the nursing home where she lived before passing away last year at the age of 100. After her death, her relatives sorted through her belongings and found an invitation to her June 18, 1928 graduation ceremony on Ferry Field, along with pictures of Sommer, a proud Phi Beta Kappa graduate, in her cap and gown.

        In honor of her days at U-M, Sommer decided to leave $5.2 million, the majority of her estate, to fund LSA fellowships for graduate students.
    • Tips for gift story writing:
      • Use a catchy title. In this case, the title is a play on the Broadway hit, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
      • Help us get to know the subject. The money shouldn’t be the lead—rather, lead with the reason for the gift or a story behind it.
      • Keep it short. Ideally, gift stories should be between 350 and 500 words.
      • Think about repurposing. Is this a story that Leaders & Best would be interested in? Can it be shared via social media?
  • Sample project: LSA Admissions Text
    • Audience: Prospective students and their parents
    • Objective: To convey the power of a liberal arts education and its real-world applicability, as well as what sets LSA apart from other liberal arts institutions
    • Ideas to communicate from the brand pillar: LSA degrees develop skills for the future; engagement beyond the classroom; more than 80 study abroad opportunities across six continents; top-ranked programs, top-ranked school for teaching
    • Text used: Your college education should be nimble and forward-looking – a hallmark of the liberal arts that is embodied by U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA). In an evolving world full of new technology, changing industries, and unexplored ethical questions, our top-ranked faculty and hands-on learning opportunities will provide you with what you’ll need most – a durable set of intellectual tools built for a lifetime.

      LSA offers over 100 majors, more than a dozen small learning communities, world-class undergraduate research opportunities, and over 80 study abroad programs. So you’ll have the opportunity to study the things that excite you.

      Ultimately, you’ll graduate with the analytical, communication, and collaborative skills required to adapt to any future path. From the professional to the unexpected, the artistic to the entrepreneurial, you’ll be poised for success.
  • Sample project: Admitted Student Email
    • Audience: Accepted undergraduate students in the College of LSA
    • Objective: Convert admitted students to enrolled payees. Convey opportunities at Michigan and the tradition of excellence that each student will be part of once they set foot on campus.
    • Ideas to communicate from the brand pillar: Access to world-class tools, facilities and equipment; learn fro multiple angles; top-ranked programs, top-ranked school for teaching; iconic campus
    • Text used: On behalf of the faculty of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA), congratulations on your acceptance!

      The heart of the undergraduate experience at U-M lies here, in LSA—a  highly ranked liberal arts institution with all the resources of a major research university. Our campus offers you unparalleled tools and facilities, things you might not have a chance see on a campus tour. Catch a glimpse in the video below.

      As an LSA student, you’ll gain an education with the durability to help you pursue whatever career or interests you choose throughout your life. Whether that’s serving as a judge by day and fronting a band at night, working on environmental projects in India, or conducting research alongside leading scientists, Michigan students are using their liberal arts degrees in every conceivable way.
  • Sample project: LSA Today front-page story
    • Audience: LSA students, faculty, and alumni
    • Objective: To explain the real-world applications of complex faculty research, and the interdisciplinarity of the work
    • Ideas to communicate from the brand pillar: Award-winning faculty conducting transformative research across disciplines
    • Text used: [teaser] Professor Mark Newman merges physics and computer modeling to explain networks and relationships of all kinds, enhancing our understanding of everything from six degrees of separation to strep throat.

      [body] Not only does this painstaking analysis explain a network’s behavior in the present, but it is even more valuable in making highly accurate predictions about the future as well. “We study social networks because we want to understand and perhaps predict the behavior of communities and societies,” explains Newman. Network scientists have studied terrorist networks and Newman himself collaborates with Betsy Foxman, an epidemiologist in the U-M School of Public Health, to better understand the spread of serious diseases like HIV and Group B streptococcus.
  • Sample Project: Helen Zell Facebook Post
    • Audience: LSA alumni and friends, and members of the campus community
    • Objective: To show the impact of giving to LSA, specifically in the case of Helen Zell’s transformative $50 million for writers
    • Ideas to communicate from the brand pillar: We work to create a culture of giving that fosters a deep tradition of philanthropy
    • Text/Image used:

Helen Zell Writers Image

Our forthcoming social media guidelines will have more information about social media in the College. Stay tuned. 

IV. The College’s Voice: Going Beyond Text

The College of LSA’s voice translates beyond the written word. Images are a powerful part of conveying the impact of what we do best. Please see the University’s branding guidelines for photography, and remember to:

  • Let images anchor you social media posts when possible. Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37 percent, where text only is 0.27 percent (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text).
  • Your articles and press releases should be grounded in powerful, Michigan-centric images, too. Articles with images get 94 percent more views. Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45 percent.
  • Let images tell your stories for you. Sites such as heritage.umich.edu and sustainability.umich.edu are photo-heavy and let a compelling image carry the day. Upping U-M-centric visuals and condensing text can be a powerful way to communicate results and outcomes.

College of Literature, Science & the Arts 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1382 © 2014 Regents of the University of Michigan