Voice and Archetype
A Few Thoughts About Our Brand Voice
The words we use to speak to our audience will define who we are as much as our actions. A focused and unified personality across all customer contact points is critical to ensuring our brand’s success and claiming a vibrant position within a dynamic world. Every word, every paragraph we use clearly supports our brand’s essence and key selling points. Our brand voice is not artificial or riddled with sales speak. It’s genuine, fun and approachable. It’s intelligent, open and self-assured, and it promises credible offerings, benefits and personality. We don’t oversell because we are confident that what we offer is worthwhile and exciting in itself.
The Archetype Behind Our Voice
What is an archetype?
Archetypes are psychological templates for specific "characters" in our lives and are useful in advertising.
- They appeal to us, and are hard to overcome.
- They are attractive, universal and timeless.
- They are memorable.
Archetypes are the primal way we categorize brands.
U of I’s archetype is the Explorer.
The Explorer is driven by the thrill of discovery and shares these discoveries to liberate others. The Explorer desires to help its constituents achieve the freedom needed for them to find their best selves.
Explorers are authentic. They want to help push success, and they like peers to lean forward.
The Explorer fits well with brands that:
- Help people be the best they can be.
- Seek out new experiences.
- Nurture individualism, but also group wellbeing.
- Provide autonomy.
The Explorer archetype guides how we talk about ourselves. The words we use give people an image of who we are as an institution. All of our content — from internal memos to newsletters to feature articles to marketing materials — should reflect our institutional character and voice.
The U of I style and writing guides offer guidelines and tips for using language to support the institutional brand.
- Innovative, not trendy We lead the way, we don’t follow.
- Curious, not lost It’s OK to ask questions.
- Inclusive, not followers People from all backgrounds are welcome here.
- Open, not aimless We know what our goals are, and we welcome new information.
- Agile, not disconnected We are able to adapt to new information and situations; we don’t close ourselves to new ideas.
- Confident, not aloof We are experts in our fields, but we are eager to share our knowledge with everyone who seeks it.
- Playful, not irreverent A fun, engaging style that doesn’t walk too close to the line of being offensive.
- Intelligent, not arcane We own our expertise, and don’t have to rely on buzzwords and labels to prove our value.
- Authentic, not staid We care about you on an individual level and want the best for our employees, students and partners.
- Leaders, not dismissive Our confidence in who we are and our mission means we welcome all perspectives to the table.