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Adapting Your School Brand’s Tone & Voice for Mass Notifications
Connor Gleason

Your school brand's voice is your anchor, but it goes much deeper than logos and mascots. It's your school's unchanging character that resonates in every message you send.

What you say is just as important as how you say it, and when urgency knocks on the door, the tone of your communication needs to swiftly adapt to the situation at hand. Having a mass notification system for your school that allows for quick, effective communication across platforms is a game-changer.

And as you tweak your tone to match the urgency of the notification, you can stay true to your school's brand and seamlessly adapt your message across various channels including email, mobile app, text, and voice.

Your School's Brand: Voice vs. Tone

Your brand voice is your school's personality — it’s the unchanging, distinct character that captures your school's ethos, mission, and spirit. It's the unique flair that separates your school from others. For instance, your school might embody a nurturing, or innovative voice. This voice should resonate in every communication you send out into the world.

However, your brand’s tone is the emotional inflection within that voice — it's flexible and depends on the context of the communication.

For example, while your voice may be nurturing, your tone can shift from cheerful (celebrating a sports victory) to serious (addressing a safety concern). Maintaining a consistent voice while adapting the tone in line with the situation is needed for effective communication and to preserve the integrity of your school’s brand.

  • Your brand's voice could have qualities like being helpful, bold, friendly, or informed.
  • Your brand's tone could be informal, confident, honest, or sympathetic.

And while your voice represents your identity, your tone is reflective of your actions. Both voice and tone need to be adapted to resonate with your audience, as they can shift depending on who you're communicating with.

messages xr dashboard on a laptop mockup

Different Modes of Mass Notifications for Schools

There's a wide range of communication tools for schools, each with its unique advantages. 

  • Emails, being relatively formal and allowing for more content, are perfect for delivering detailed messages
  • Mobile app notifications are fantastic for prompt updates and reminders
  • Text messages are great for personalized, brief alerts
  • Voice messages add a human touch
  • Website notifications are great for hosting and linking to more detailed information

The challenge for school communicators is to ensure your school’s brand voice remains consistent across all platforms, while your tone adjusts to fit the medium and the message's nature.

Remember: How you mix your voice and tone is what makes your communication effective and your brand memorable.

messages xr screenshot on a laptop

A mass notifications solution like Messages XR makes it easy to send notifications to your entire school or district community via email, text, voice message, mobile app notification, and/or a website alert, all at once, all from one place.

Not only does it eliminate the need for multiple tools to send the same message, but mass notifications software gives you the ability to send parents the information they need in the way they choose to receive it. And, since they are all sent from one central location, you can adapt the message’s tone to each channel, as you see fit.

Messages XR Tour

How to Adapt Your School's Brand Voice and Tone for Different Notification Modes

Whether it's a mobile app or website notification, a text, or a voice message, your school's brand voice should be the guiding light in crafting these communications.

Voice vs Tone: Website Alerts

Your school's website serves as a crucial hub of information, and much like other platforms, the voice here should remain a constant reflection of your school's ethos. If your school's brand voice is progressive and innovative, the website alert might consistently use language that speaks to forward-thinking and change.

However, the tone of these notifications should adapt according to the type of update and the audience. For instance, a pop-up notification about a new blog post on recent school achievements might carry an upbeat and proud tone.

On the other hand, a notification about an upcoming parent-teacher meeting might adopt a more formal, informative tone.

Voice vs Tone: Mobile App

A mobile app notification might remind students: "Let's take care of our environment — remember, wear green for Earth Day tomorrow!" A mobile app message’s tone, however, depends on the urgency — a weather warning might call for a more serious tone than a reminder about a school event.

Voice vs Tone: Text Messages

Text messages are great for quick alerts or reminders because they’re immediate and personal. While your school's voice should be "heard" in the message, your tone should adapt to the situation — a supportive tone for a reminder about an upcoming deadline, and a more straightforward tone for an unexpected schedule change.

messages xr screenshot

"We needed a service that would allow us to quickly and easily send important alerts via SMS to parents,” said Dawn Chmura, Director of Communications at the Rectory School. 

“Effectively communicating with parents is one of our most important goals. Having a notification system in place that allows us to communicate via text to our local parents about school delays, closings, or early dismissals due to inclement weather was something we were missing.”

“I have always been a fan of the Messages module, but adding the texting capability has been a game-changer. Everything can be done from one location — broadcast emails can be created, text messages can be added under another tab with the ability to link to the original email message, and a page pop can be added under another tab. Communicating digitally has never been easier.”

Voice vs Tone: Emails

Emails are ideal for more detailed communications, like newsletters, event invitations, or policy updates. It's here that your school's brand voice should take center stage with word choice and visual branding. An innovative voice might highlight a new science program, while a nurturing voice might be used for financial aid deadline reminders.

With tone, a fundraising email might adopt a warm and uplighting, persuasive tone, while an email about changes in school policy might be more formal and informative. Strike a balance between staying true to your school's voice and adjusting the tone to suit the context.

Voice vs Tone: Voice Messages

Voice messages can convey emotion more directly. A message about an upcoming snow day might echo excitement, while an update about extended school closures should be calm and reassuring while using the same brand voice.

Messages XR mockup voice on a smartphone

How to Adapt Your School’s Voice, Tone, and Speed for Critical Communications and Different Audiences

Communication is not a one-size-fits-all solution. When it comes to urgent notifications, speed and clarity are priorities, however, adapting your messages to different channels and audiences is equally important.

Audience segmentation in school communications is crucial because the message and tone you use for students might need to be more casual and encouraging than the one for parents or staff, which might be more formal and informative.

It's about being alert, direct, and clear without compromising your school's personality. For instance, a message about report card distribution might be more encouraging and supportive for students, more informative and detailed for parents, and action-oriented for teachers. Tailoring your voice and tone to your audience ensures your messages are well-received and effective.

Messages XR can provide that flexibility by preparing communications side-by-side for comparison, giving your team the opportunity to review the messaging for clarity, tone, and voice, then sending it out to various recipient lists across multiple channels at once.

Key Takeaway

Effective communication is key to building strong relationships and a positive school brand. Your school's brand voice is the reflection of its identity — it should remain steadfast across all communication platforms. However, the tone should be fluid and be able to adapt to the situation, the mode, and the audience.

Messages XR Tour

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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