The Messaging Platform is our primary messaging tool for creative staff at The University of Alabama, including writers, designers, web programmers, content strategists, photographers and videographers. Comprised of a master narrative and three storylines (Blue, Yellow, Brown) the Platform is an integrated storytelling road map anchored by the authentic personality of The University of Alabama.
Familiarize yourself with UA’s storylines so as to become well versed in the University’s personality. Reference the usage techniques below and apply these guidelines to determine your creative angle, write copy, create an ad for social media, draft a flyer, design a homepage, compose an email and more.
Recruiters, admissions tour guides and community representatives may also benefit from this platform as a guideline for talking points when speaking with prospective students and the wider community.
We advise keeping a copy of The University of Alabama messaging guide in your office for frequent reference.
- Establish yourself as the expert.
- Accurately and consistently deliver key messages to audiences.
- Make decisions about what messages are delivered.
- Relevance is impact. Know your audience’s interests.
- Don’t just answer questions, deliver messages.
Craft Your Message
Harness The University of Alabama’s storyline platform to write your own on-brand messaging.
- Step 1: Get into character
- Step 2: List your evidence
- Step 3: Map your evidence to the dimensions
- Step 4: Find your storyline
- Step 5: Gather keywords and phrases
STEP 1: Get Into Character
You’re about to communicate the story of The University of Alabama by creating your own on-brand messaging. The first step is to get yourself into character. Remember, The University of Alabama is a singular human being with one voice — not a fragmented split personality that people can’t recognize. So, you must start by assuming the persona of the organization. You are writing and speaking on behalf of this human personality regardless of the specifics of the message.
STEP 2: List Your Evidence
Motivated by the personality and character of The University of Alabama, identify the tangible evidence that is important to your message. Don’t worry about creative flair, just make a list of facts, data, events, details, people, places and other pertinent information about the message you desire to create.
STEP 3: Map Your Evidence to the Dimensions
The University of Alabama’s master narrative is defined by three storylines. Each storyline is an on-personality messaging pillar. Notice that each storyline is associated with five unique dimensions. These dimensions offer more relevant connections to what you’re writing about. Your objective is to “map your evidence” and find the right dimension for your evidence. Review all of the available dimensions across the messaging platform and determine which best aligns with your message.
STEP 4: Find Your Storyline
Next, your chosen dimension will guide you to the best storyline for the message you’re crafting. For example, a brown dimension will guide you to the corresponding brown storyline. Note that each storyline is weighted toward certain color characteristics in The University of Alabama’s personality, which will influence the tone and style of your writing.
STEP 5: Gather Keywords and Phrases
For your final step, gather appropriate keywords and phrases that align with your chosen storyline and dimension to help you in the creative-writing process. These can be any bits of content that you feel are inspiring and appropriate for your message.
Sample “Blue” Keywords
Strong, prominent, influential, distinguished, powerful, dominant, established, effective, confident, reliable, stable
Sample “Brown” Keywords
Tenacious, determined, grit, competitive, driven, resilient, focused, strong, steadfast, empowering, ambitious
Sample “Yellow” Keywords
Progressive, influential, cutting-edge, forward-thinking, inventive, advanced, visionary, knowledgeable, intelligent, innovative, transformative
While product type and content volume dictate your final approach to message construction, laddering is an effective technique to provide scaffolding for message development. Using this technique, you’ll build the basic framework of your message using one of the two sequences – Up The Ladder and Down the Ladder.