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Voice and Tone

Our Core Message

Our core message, found at the center of our messaging map, is a concise articulation of our role in the world. It should be used for internal reference, as a gut check for messaging, but it should not be used verbatim in external communications.

At Tulane University, we address problems of dramatic proportions so we can improve the human condition.

Our Creative Platform

Our creative platform is the emotional translation of the core message. It’s the bridge between the core message and all of our communications—the launch pad that guides the creative output on behalf of Tulane. Our creative platform must be unique, bold, differentiating and authentic, so that our communications resonate and stand out in a very crowded marketplace.

The Stand Apart platform was developed through an extensive process of thoughtful research, design, vetting, editing and creative exploration, involving many voices within and outside of the Tulane community. The result is a bold but flexible concept that can generate many messages and ideas, which all feel connected back a greater theme.

Stand Apart

Tulane is a community where the unexpected is expected. Where we’re unafraid to stand out. Where we look to stand for something, especially if it protects and preserves the most vulnerable people, places and things on our planet. We look to solve emerging issues that will one day affect us all. And we raise one helluva hullabaloo while doing it. Tulane is a place where being different is how we make a difference. In so many ways, we stand apart.

Further proof of our creative platform

  • We stand apart through our commitment to biomedical research and through powerful action that puts that research to use.
  • We stand apart because we call the nation’s most vibrant city home.
  • We stand apart with an innate ability to collaborate across academic areas and industries, to create the solutions and ideas our world needs most.
  • We stand apart through the impact we make on the people of New Orleans, and our ability to translate that impact all over the globe.
  • We stand apart by preserving the culture of our city and sharing it with the world.
  • We stand apart as we put forth every effort to protect, maintain and build our coastal environment.
  • We stand apart with our deep understanding, appreciation and creation of music and all that it affects.
  • We stand apart for tirelessly serving, protecting and speaking out for the underserved populations of our city and our world.
  • We stand apart by fighting disease near and far, which we’ve done since our inception.
  • We stand apart as an incredibly tight-knit community of incredibly different people.
  • We stand apart by letting students pursue the passions unique to them.


How to use our creative platform

  • Use it to purposefully communicate that we are different from any other institution, and we couldn’t be prouder of that.
  • Use it to emphasize that standing apart unites the entire Tulane community, and we believe there’s no greater way
  • to come together.
  • Use it as a filter to select stories about students, faculty and alumni who go on to stand apart in their actions, careers and lives—making a true difference in the world. These stories are the best way to illustrate our platform, and we have so
  • many of them.
  • Use it as a reminder that we should communicate our story in differentiating ways. Explore different sentence structures, tactics, formats, ideas and implementations. What better way to show we stand apart than by demonstrating just that? Have the confidence to go bold, be authentic and celebrate
  • our unique features.
  • Stand Apart isn’t just a content direction. The platform should come to life in visual choices as well.
  • Use it as a gut check. Does the tone of what you’re writing capture the spirit of Stand Apart? Does it sound like the personality of someone who embodies that idea?

How NOT to use our creative platform

  • The creative platform is not a tagline.  Instead, it’s the lens through which we craft our messages.
  • It is not a sign-off and should not be used without supporting copy.
  • It is not a singular campaign.
  • It is not a headline structure that should be used over and over again.


There are many ways to communicate our platform

1. Use it overtly, in a headline structure.

Approach 1

  •   Collaborate to create a critical cure. Stand apart.
  •   Solve age-old challenges with brand-new technology. Stand apart.
  •   Carve a path that’s all your own. Stand apart.
  •   Find peace in a city that’s bustling at every turn. Stand apart.

Approach 2

  • Stand for new ways to tackle old problems. Stand for giving back by giving your all. Stand for a cause backed by action.

Approach 3

  • Malaria kills 800,000 people every year. We’re taking a stand.
  • Liver disease has reached epic proportions worldwide. We’re taking a stand.
  • Because students in urban areas should have equal opportunities to thrive.

2. Say “Stand Apart” in a headline without using those two words.

Approach 1

  • Be a different kind of leader. Make all the difference in the world.
  • Be a different kind of entrepreneur. Develop a service that makes life better.

Approach 2

  • Studying the Native American communities of southeastern Louisiana isn’t a surface-level exercise. At Tulane, we go deeper.
  • The music, food and culture down here? It’s offbeat—just the way we like it.

Approach 3

  • Take alternative measures. Work with community leaders to meet the needs of the underserved.
  • Swim against the current. Devote time to making a difference today.

3. Communicate the idea of Stand Apart by leading with the point, process, approach or outcome that is most differentiating.

Grad student helps build model to study wildfires.
(Add the ‘‘why’’ this matters, lead with what makes it interesting and unique.)
Grad student studies wildfire effects to predict flooding.

Math professor awarded for impact on the field.
(Don’t just highlight that an award was won, highlight the unique process that achieved it.)
Professor fights infectious disease with mathematics, wins prestigious award.

4. Use the idea of Stand Apart as a filter for story selection.

Choose stories that make it easy to call out the ‘‘stand apart moment,’’ whether it’s a unique process, an unprecedented outcome, a new collaboration, or any defining differentiating fact.

KEEP IN MIND: The words “stand apart” should be used sparingly and at the highest, university-wide level. We do not want it to become a trite, overused phrase.


Keep these tips in mind as you create communications.

Avoid jargon.

  • Specialized language has its place in peer-reviewed journals, but strive to make content relevant to the general reader.

Avoid clichés.

  • Tulane's work is original and unique. Our communications should be too.

Find the balance.

  • Every “give” (attribute) has a corresponding “get” (benefit). Be sure to include both.  Don't talk about what Tulane offers without also talking about what the individual (or group or city or country or world) gets as a result.

Make it enjoyable.

  • Vary the cadence within the communications.
  • Mix short sentences with longer ones.

Make headlines work hard.

  • A headline should be more than a label. It’s what will entice the reader to go deeper into our content, so it’s important to make them exciting and inspirational.

Make it about them.

  • Never stop thinking about the readers and what the story might tangibly mean to them. It helps keep the information relatable and relevant, even if it means breaking a grammar rule or two. Used judiciously, contractions and sentence fragments add personality to communications.

Celebrate the unexpected.

  • At Tulane, you don’t have to look far for compelling stories with an interesting twist. Use them.

Show outcomes.

  • Every story has the potential for an inspiring result, a concrete example or a goal achieved. Even pure research leads to new possibilities and breakthroughs.

Make it true.

  • Back up statements with proof points. Share real honest stories of the work we’re doing.