Telling stories in brand

October 29, 2019

As communicators, consistently aligning our storytelling to brand strengthens our individual messages, by positioning us against other university competition, and also reinforces SFU’s reputation.

Earlier this year, SFU launched its refreshed brand, which includes brand DNA defining what is unique and relevant about SFU based on what resonates with key stakeholders. It also clarifies the qualities and characteristics to use in our key messages, visual identity, media, SFU News, social channels and marketing and recruitment campaigns.

For communicators, the brand DNA is a guide to the language we use. In short, we are: Unconventional, Fearless, Compassionate , Approachable and Ready.

As communicators, our priority is to build on the university’s positive reputation and to extend our reach, engagement and positive sentiment using the stories we want to tell about our students, faculty and alumni contributing to social good.



Stories about students learning practical, hands-on skills in the classroom and labs or via internships, co-op work terms, research awards, volunteer opportunities, or international field schools.


Stories about prestigious rankings and awards, or national or international recognition, that extends beyond a specific field of study or touches on a relevant social issue.


Stories about how we transform ideas created in the classroom or lab into innovations or ventures that benefit society.


Stories about how we cultivate dialogue, community partnerships and collaborations on important social issues.

Recently, Communications & Marketing’s Diane Luckow, Ian Bryce and Jeff Hodson led a workshop on how to align our stories to SFU’s brand. They profiled the stories we want to tell, and explained how to generate those stories, scope them, interview for them and craft them in the brand narrative.

A PowerPoint from the workshop is here:

We’ve also created this one-page PDF that can be printed for fast reference on brand storytelling along with some helpful resources on storytelling basics, interviewing for brand and tips for working with us at Communications and Marketing.