UniversityMarketing and Communications

Voice, Tone, Writing Style

Brands have personality (just like people). Voice, tone, and style are three separate elements, which work together in harmony to reinforce the personality of our brand.

The Difference Between Voice, Tone, and Style


Voice includes our personality, our rhythm and pace, and our vocabulary. It is how we communicate based on our personality traits. As described in the related section of this site, the SCU brand personality is  caring, ethical, creative, intelligent, and bold. With many different people writing on behalf of the University, we need to demonstrate one voice so that when our audiences read our communications they feel confident that we know what we’re talking about.


Tone is how we use our voice in different situations. In life, we adjust our tone according to whom we’re talking to and what we’re talking about, but our voice remains the same. While our brand voice is singular, we can use it with many different tones, based on our intended audience. Separating voice and tone means we can be empathetic to our users, making a difference between just meeting user needs and really engaging them.


“House style” is what Santa Clara writing looks like in technical terms. Our A-Z Editorial Style Guide includes advice on how to write certain words and phrases, how to show numbers and dates, when to use capital letters, abbreviations and acronyms, apostrophes, commas, quotations, titles, and much more. You don’t have to remember it all, just refer to our house style guide whenever you need an answer.


Putting it All Together for Our Audiences 

Santa Clara is a respected institution of learning, so people listen to what we have to say. If the way that we express ourselves is intelligent, interesting, and consistent, we continue to build trust and inspire our audiences to engage with what we do.