Voice & Tone
Our voice and tone reflects our school’s strengths and authenticity.
When we communicate consistently with one voice and tone across all touchpoints, our message is stronger and our brand becomes more memorable.
Use the guidelines below (based on each of the SPH personality traits) when representing the school in person, in print, and online.
For questions about writing standards, consult the SPH Writing Style Guide.
Interpretation: Change does not happen in isolation. We believe we are all in this together. We are inclusive, we partner with the community, we engage and listen, and we are leaders in transdisciplinary thinking.
Synonyms: synergy, collegial, symbiotic, interdisciplinary.
Content that highlights our collaboration
- Work done in partnership with industry and public health organizations
- Connections to SPH alumni and friends of the school
- Interdisciplinary thinking, collaboration, and teamwork
- Stories about how our students or faculty are working in the community to make a difference
- Be inclusive, use terms like “we” and “in partnership with…”
- Include quotes from our partners or people who have been impacted by our work
- Show how our work will positively affect the community
Interpretation: We are creative problem-solvers. We use our imaginations to set things in motion and to find new ways of doing things.
Synonyms: intellectually creative, inventive, original, imaginative, innovative, resourceful.
Content that highlights our creativity
- Creative solutions and fresh thinking
- Stories that highlight a new way of doing things
- Examples of innovation in thinking, learning, or research
- Use fresh, energizing language
- Avoid “impact” as a verb. “Affect” or “influence” are often better choices. If you can put an article such as “an” or “the” in front of “impact,” then you are using it right, as a noun.
- Show, don’t tell. Instead of just conveying information, give context that allows the reader to put themselves in the subject’s shoes.
- Avoid mundane quotes. It’s OK to paraphrase quotes so the statement is more interesting or has more context.
Interpretation: We dig deep in our research and education to confront the world’s most pressing health challenges. We tackle those challenges head-on, and don’t stop until we’ve uncovered truths that lead to actionable solutions. We spark conversations and set the agenda.
Synonyms: diligent, accurate, precise, conquering, expert, dedicated, passionate, confident, careful, conscientious, thorough.
Content that highlights our rigor
- Student success as a result of the high level of education received at SPH
- Stories that showcases the thoroughness of our research and how it shapes and reshapes the field of public health
- Profiles of faculty, staff, students, and alumni who are changing the field
- Give context around issues. Frame up the problem and then explain how we are solving it
- Omit the word “help” as a verb, when possible.
Interpretation: We move research into action and are committed to to solving problems. We are driven by a passion to make a difference.
Synonyms: driven, productive, ambitious, bold, tireless, irrepressible, persistent.
Content that highlights our determination
- Solution-focused research and work
- Examples that translate research into action
- Stories about how our research has an impact on the field of public health
- Striving to solve problems and discover truths
- Use active, not passive, voice
- Omit text that gets in the way (such as adverbs, words that end in -ly). Adverbs serve a purpose when they change the meaning, but omitting them can make your writing more direct.
- Lead with the point, put most important words and ideas first. Avoid wordiness.
- Make research headlines relatable, attention-grabbing, and “news you can use”
- If possible, include sources who are or may be affected by our work, such as citizens, community partners, or researchers.
Simply put: we care. We are all in this together and have a deep sense of goodwill.
Synonyms: sincere, straightforward, approachable, authentic, caring, accessible.
Content that highlights our genuine spirit
- Stories focused on our culture of support and how this support affects students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community
- Stories about the people behind the research
- Be conversational
- Don’t make your reader work too hard to understand your story
- Use sincere, familiar language
Interpretation: Our commitment to social change is at the heart of what we do. We aspire to be forward-thinking thought-leaders. We drive innovative and inspirational solutions. We live in a politically and socially progressive community.
Synonyms: unbound, unconstrained, independent, open, liberal, free, not boxed-in, socially conscious.
Content that highlights our progressiveness
- Stories about innovation and that showcase different perspectives
- Inspirational stories
- Ways in which we’re doing things in a different way and pushing the intellectual envelope
- Be future-focused to highlight how current work will influence future populations, policies, etc.