Communications Toolkit: Content

Applying Our Brand:

The content guidelines detailed here will inform the way you produce on-brand, consistent and engaging materials that establish a strong, meaningful connection between Stony Brook and its audiences. Pay very close attention to these guidelines; with every communication you create — whether it’s a newsletter or presentation, flyer, video or tweet — you are an ambassador for Stony Brook Medicine and its brand. 

Voice & Tone:

The language we use when writing about Stony Brook Medicine shapes the way people feel about us. You should always convey the spirit of Stony Brook — direct, yet friendlyinclusive yet thoughtful, and confident, but never boastful. This is the same brand voice as Stony Brook University.

The Stony Brook Medicine brand is further defined as confident, intelligent and passionate. It gives the reader credit for their own intelligence as a healthcare consumer who is looking for the smartest choices. We are eager to share information about the latest advances we’ve been able to bring to their health.

The Stony Brook Children’s brand voice is empathetichumancompassionate and fun. Even when we deliver information that is complex or serious, we try in our communications to explain things in a way that is emotionally relevant and interesting to parents.

Our brand voice should also be reflected in internal communications. “The best ideas in medicine” is more than an advertising slogan: it’s an institution-wide commitment.

The way we communicate with one another internally — in newsletters, on posters, on hallway video monitors — should aspire to be the voice of that brand. We should be enthusiastic, motivating, and eager to share the power of our ideas with our fellow employees and other parts of the Stony Brook Medicine enterprise.

Communications Objectives:

Our goal is to move consumers through a relationship process, from unaware, to brand awareness, to preference, to usage, to brand advocates who help tell our story.

Remember: Every ad is a brand ad. Even when it’s a simple flyer, brochure, or a short term effort to build clinical volume, we need to consider whether it reinforces the goals of the Stony Brook Medicine brand.

Ask yourself: Does this piece of communication reflect our passion for innovation and our unique expertise as an academic medical center? It is focused on our brand pillars? Does it communicate our brand essence? Does it express our brand voice and tone, and convey our brand personality?

Here are a few more things to think about as you’re preparing a piece of communication, whether it’s a social media post, a news release, a brochure, or other vehicle:

  • What is the innovation or idea that your message will convey?
  • Who will benefit most?
  • How is it unique on Long Island or in Suffolk County?
  • Why is Stony Brook devoted to this particular idea?
  • When will patients be able to benefit from this innovation?

Consider all three missions of an AMC. While one – research, education, or patient care – may dominate your message, look for opportunities to frame it in terms of the larger mission.

This linkage does not have to be forced or unnatural, but do take the time to consider potential synergies which may help the larger institution as a whole.

Creating Content:

Telling a great Stony Brook story not only furthers the mission of Stony Brook Medicine and spreads an engaging, powerful message about the incredible people, discoveries and opportunities — it also can create emotional connections, change perception and drive the audience to action.

Every Communication is a Story

While calendar listings, event announcements and lists/tips are not typically wrapped in a narrative, the information around them should provide enough context and enthusiasm to draw attention and garner results. There is so much content noise to compete with, it’s important to think critically about what will inspire your audience.

Every Story is an Opportunity

For longer stories — whether they are about patients, alumni, faculty, staff, initiatives or research breakthroughs — remember the key ingredients of a compelling narrative thread will keep them engaged.

Words and media should support the core idea. Consider strategically placed pull quotes, photographs and headlines that create a visual rhythm to your storytelling and make the story richer and more engaging.

Also consider the opportunity to draw in a broader audience via social media. Is there a particular subhead that could double as a Facebook or Twitter headline? A photo that could serve as a visual header on a website?

Take the time to craft these elements specifically for the appropriate channels, and your story will travel beyond its original medium. That said, for social media, don’t force it. If these is not enough there, don’t create social media components just because you think you are supposed to. Always keep your core idea and goals in mind. Please review our Social Media Guidelines for any questions on this topic.

Clear Call to Action

What would you like your readers to do or feel once they’ve finished the story? It could be an emotional response or transactional, or both. Whatever the end goal, keep it firmly in mind as you develop the story, considering who or what will grab your readers and create the desired outcome.