Augsburg’s Brand Voice

Augsburg CollegeRecently, the Augsburg College Department of Marketing and Communication produced a document on the college’s “brand voice.” It describes how to write in a way that reflects the tone and character. Whether you are writing for a department website, an email on behalf of the college or one of its departments, or anything else, follow these guidelines. Here is the content of the document in full.

Brand Voice (Tone and Character)

The brand voice addresses how we convey the Augsburg story in writing, including through theme, word choice, and prose style. Employing a tone and character consistent with the college’s positioning and brand values—and doing so consistently across various media—is as important as selecting the right images and typefaces. As with photo selection and design choices, the appropriate tone and character will vary somewhat based on audience: an “institutional” tone may be appropriate when communicating the college’s mission and vision in the broadest sense, which will be different from the tone used in writing for prospective first-year students or alumni audiences.

Augsburg’s voice is: Authentic

Auggies are friendly, genuine, hands-on, adventurous, and smart.

1. Friendly

What we mean
Welcoming, inclusive, neighborly, accessible, supportive, and helpful, but not overbearing

How does friendly sound?
Conversational, warm, responsive; not lofty, pompous, or overly formal; connecting with people in a personal way

2. Genuine

What we mean
Honest, natural, sincere, real, familiar, but not folksy

How does genuine sound?
Write how you would speak; straightforward; don’t use eight words when two will do; simplified language, but not dumbed-down

3. Adventurous

What we mean
Experimental, at the forefront, innovative, courageous, inventive, bold

How does adventurous sound?
Write with vision; creative and clever, but not goofy; cause excitement and enthusiasm

4. Hands-on

What we mean
Experiential, discovering, practical, learn by doing; out in the community, service-learning

How does hands-on sound?
Compelling, effective, motivational; soul-searching, but not daydreamers

5. Smart

What we mean
Confident, but not arrogant; intelligent, but not stodgy; clever, but not cynical

How does smart sound?
We like to talk about outcomes, tell success stories; use language that encourages, but doesn’t patronize or confuse

Okay, so we want to write conversationally, but how far can I go?

You are free to

  • Use contractions
  • Break up longer sentences with ellipses, em dashes, and semicolons
  • Write in first and second person when appropriate
  • Start sentences with “and” or “but”
  • Ask the reader hypothetical or rhetorical questions
  • Write to your target audience

But shy away from

  • Ending sentences with prepositions
  • Using slang and clichés
  • Writing with a passive voice
  • Abbreviations or acronyms without spelling the words out on first mention
  • Personal opinions
  • Too many exclamation points
  • Redundancy


Write like this …
Set in the vibrant Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in the heart of the Twin Cities, Augsburg College offers the benefits of a friendly, close-knit campus in a bustling city. We are proud of being a liberal arts college guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church and committed to service-learning, intentional diversity, experiential education, and the exploration of vocation.

Not like this …
Augsburg College is a private, coeducational institution of higher education located in Minneapolis, Minn. and bordered by I-94 and Riverside Avenue. It was founded as Augsburg Seminary in 1869. Augsburg College enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate students and 800 graduate students. The school is known for its service learning, where volunteering in the community is an instructional strategy.

If you have any questions about communicating with Augsburg’s brand voice, contact our Marketing Copywriter, Christina Haller, at .