Language matters. That's how Miami University has achieved a distinctive position as one of America's top undergraduate institutions – by maintaining and presenting a clear identity to the world.
Challenging. Distinguished. Classic. Catalytic. Exciting. These five brand tone words help create a flexible brand voice for different audiences. Each word represents an important and indivisible quality of our brand that may be dialed up or down as appropriate.
All communication efforts – from printed brochures to websites to news to social media – should convey consistent voice and tone. As brand communicators, strive to use a voice of confidence, excitement, and authenticity in our communications, talking "with" our audiences as opposed to "at" them. The goal is to be approachable in tone of voice, and to provide relevant information. So, first person is desirable, and conversational style preferred. Full sentences are not required.
At Miami University, our brand communicators are also responsible for ensuring that marketing materials, publications, content, and design communications reflect an inclusive, welcoming, and affirming environment. Additionally, effective communication is respectful of all intended, and unintended, audiences.
This guide should act as a foundation for how Miami communicates to both internal and external audiences in order to maintain editorial consistency aligned with Miami's values. For this reason, all university communication materials must adhere to the standards outlined in this section.
Miami University's Office of Communications and Marketing follows the Associated Press Stylebook with limited exceptions and additions. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is the preferred dictionary. Miami University Libraries offers the most updated digital version of the AP Stylebook. You are encouraged to reference the AP Stylebook regularly as terms and phrases are continually updated to reflect societal changes.
While this editorial guide addresses commonly used terms, please refer to the AP Stylebook for detailed information on capitalization, punctuation, hyphenation, abbreviation, and spelling.
In addition to referencing this guide and the AP Stylebook, it is highly advised to consult with individuals or groups that are the subject of communications, specifically those from any underrepresented groups. Many people have intersecting identities and may choose not to share all of those identities in your communications. When possible, it is strongly recommended that you ask people how they prefer to be described, and which identities they would like to include. As a brand communicator, it is also important to consider context. Is noting someone's characteristics or identity relevant to your piece?