We want to identify and tell the best stories that exemplify Penn State's brand purpose in a way that resonates with our audiences. Our brand pillars come to life through the “what,” “how,” and “why” of our stories. This goes beyond an accomplishment at Penn State and extends to the larger impact outside of the University.
As a communicator, it's important to recognize individuality in our stories while showing how the Penn State community amplified an individual's impact. Each and every accomplishment at Penn State was a team effort of offering support, creating opportunity, and celebrating successes. To help you draw out stories that highlight what makes us special and unique, we’ve created a framework for you to reference in your storytelling.
Our purpose of “bring positive impact to humanity” serves as our North Star. It's the reason we exist and the driving force behind everything we do. It acts as a reminder of the broader message behind our storytelling and should align with your specific unit, college, or campus goals.
Think of “the what” as the outcome and relevance of your story. It's the impact that results from your subject's actions.
Think of “the how” in the context of our three brand pillars: openness, interdisciplinary, and culture of “we.”
The "why we do things" is what makes our stories meaningful and unique.
Our three pillars are the themes behind all our stories. Looking at your communications through these lenses can help create consistency and shape the way you express our core principles. (See Brand Pillars on the Who We Are page.)
When positioning Penn State, individual storytelling and themes and slogans are not enough. Proof points, or reasons to believe, will help to contextualize and differentiate the University's level of excellence and vast reach and impact. Some, for example, show our comparative excellence as an elite research university. Others demonstrate the scale, reach and impact of our efforts, or the size and breadth of our community as a source for scalable change and opportunity.
In our brand research, three proof points resonated strongly with external audiences. When appropriate, weaving these proof points throughout your messaging helps convey our value in meaningful ways.
The power and strength of the Penn State alumni community distinguishes us. Our reach spans more than than 673,000 living alumni around the world. Locally, one in nine Pennsylvanians with a college degree are Penn State graduates.
Penn State's top-tier quality establishes a focus for our excellence, especially in comparison to other top-tier institutions. Penn State consistently ranks as a top twenty-five research university. Fifteen disciplines—from psychology to atmospheric science and materials engineering—rank nationally in the top ten for research expenditures. (Only one other major research university—Johns Hopkins—has as many disciplines ranked in the top ten.)
Our scope and reach is twofold: