Voice & Tone

When we tell the world about Mississippi State, we're not just talking about faculty quality, social opportunities or course variety. It’s much bigger than that. It’s an attitude. It’s a mindset. It's an experience we're inviting the world to discover.

That's why the language we use to communicate MSU's brand is so important. When people hear the words "Mississippi State," we want them to know who we are and what we stand for. We desire awareness of an organization that is driven to make a difference via pacesetters who lead, discover and ignite. For our messaging to be effective, we must establish a consistent voice and tone that embody MSU's brand.

  • Voice is our unique personality and identity. Our voice is bold, passionate, imaginative, inspirational and authentic.
  • Tone is the manner in which we engage with audiences. Our tone is confident, composed, professional and purposeful.

Striking the right voice and tone is essential because our brand strategy must reach far beyond simply promoting MSU's achievements. In the big picture, we're working together to shape perceptions.

Perceptions are important because they have the power to deliver tangible results. Positive perceptions can do things like drive growth through increased enrollment and spur new partnerships that enrich research opportunities. They can ignite and expand MSU's base and boost contributions and endowments. Being perceived nationally and globally as a leader can be a source of pride for our campus, our community and our state.

To our great advantage, Mississippi State's accomplishments as a leading research university provide limitless opportunities for us to tell stories that build positive perceptions. From social media posts to news releases, from community presentations to departmental announcements, from speeches to event promotions, all communications that originate at MSU should positively influence perceptions and reinforce the brand.

When we communicate about the brand, our challenge is to transcend the ordinary. We are building a compelling narrative that positions MSU as a leading research university. We are engaging audiences in ways that inform, inspire and overwhelm. The voice and tone of our brand messages must be honed to:

  • Generate excitement about the role that MSU plays in shaping the future.
  • Emphasize how MSU prepares students to be leaders and solve challenges.
  • Convey the central roles of community and family in preparing our graduates for successful careers and lives.
  • Describe a sense of curiosity and optimism that allows us to think beyond what’s possible today to deliver results based on a vision for the future.


Examples of effective brand messaging:

Weak: MSU enrolled a record 20,000 students in the fall.

Translate the numbers into a compelling story.

Better: Life-changing opportunities await MSU's largest and most academically advanced freshman class.

Weak: We're like one big family at MSU!

Avoid empty catch phrases and tie messages to the big picture.

Better: At MSU, we're part of a community that nurtures and supports students so we can achieve career and life success.

Weak: MSU has $600 million in construction underway for new classrooms.

Instead of focusing on cost, focus on results.

Better: MSU is making big investments in new facilities to prepare tomorrow's leaders.

Weak: MSU is home of the Grant Presidential Library.

Here's an opportunity to position MSU as national leader and member of an exclusive group.

Better: As home of the Grant Presidential Library, MSU is one of only five universities in the United States to house a presidential library.

Weak: I am pleased to announce that Mississippi State is embarking on an exciting new project involving unmanned aerial systems.

Make every word count and be specific and direct about MSU's accomplishments.

Better: Mississippi State has taken another ambitious step into the future of flight by becoming a National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aerial Systems.