Key Audiences and Messaging

Our university target audiences vary based on the goal, the college or unit and the specific project.


The Illinois messaging platform is based on the brand pillars of innovation, community, momentum and discovery. Our university messaging aims to communicate movement — moving past barriers, overcoming problems, creating career advancement, finding new paths, questioning the past for a better future. This doesn’t mean you should always use the word “movement” or other synonyms. Rather, you should choose topics, themes and language that make the reader feel that we are in forward and productive motion.

The stories we tell should also be informed by the university’s four overarching goals as outlined in the Strategic Plan:

  1. Foster scholarship, discovery and innovation.
  2. Provide transformative learning experiences.
  3. Make a significant and visible societal impact.
  4. Steward resources.

Faculty with gonfalons before commencement exercises.
Female employees meet in an office at the Personnel Services.
Illinois Fighting Illini players celebrate victory after Illinois won their home opener in dramatic fashion with a 29-yard Caleb Griffin field goal with five seconds to play to take down Toledo, 30-28, at Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Family tailgating at Grange Grove on Game Day before Illinois football game.

Key Audiences

There is no single target audience for the university — audiences will vary based on the goal of the communication, the college or unit and the specific project. Priority audiences include:

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students/Learners
  • Alumni
  • Peer Universities
  • Citizens of the State
  • Government
  • Donors
  • Fans
  • Parents and Families

Messaging Themes by Audience

Consider these high-level messaging themes when communicating to these audiences.


  • Illinois is home to the brightest minds in scholarship and research.
  • Illinois is committed to recruiting, developing and supporting faculty to reach their full potential.
  • We provide an inclusive environment for faculty members to teach and mentor motivated and talented students.
  • Illinois provides a vibrant ecosystem for scholars to pursue challenging research questions.
  • We are internationally recognized for our groundbreaking scholarship and research.
  • Our faculty are the world’s experts across disciplines in science, technology, biology, humanities, languages, arts, music and more.
  • Our faculty members collaborate and work across disciplines to solve complicated problems.
  • We are not afraid to ask hard questions and push for better answers.
  • Our faculty redefine the word impossible on a daily basis.
  • We attract faculty from around the world, and they help make Champaign-Urbana a cosmopolitan community.


  • Illinois is committed to recruiting and retaining excellent staff across the university.
  • Our staff members are critical to our ability to advance scholarship, teach students, engage with the community and serve as an engine of economic development for the state and the nation.
  • We value career development for our staff members, providing numerous opportunities for them to grow in their careers at Illinois.
  • Our staff members consistently exemplify the university’s values and showcase our university pride as engaged brand ambassadors.
  • Our staff members are an indispensable part of our local, statewide and global community.


  • Our student experiences represent excellence at scale. Illinois educates more students than any other institution in the state, while also maintaining rigorous academic standards.
  • We provide opportunities, support and guidance for students and learners at all stages of their educational growth to find their passion and pursue their goals.
  • We value learning that provides alternative pathways where enrolled students and general public learners can pursue educational opportunities suited to their needs, interests, situations and learning preferences.
  • We encourage learners to question the way things are and the way they’ve been so that they can create new solutions and make a positive impact.
  • We help learners develop the capacity to understand and engage with people who have different perspectives than their own.
  • We care about the holistic student experience — academic, physical, emotional and mental health.
  • An Illinois education produces excellent employees, but also capable scholars, leaders, informed citizens and empathetic community members.


  • Our greatest accomplishment is our alumni.
  • Illinois creates the world’s leaders generation after generation.
  • Illinois alumni change the world through their impact as CEOs, inventors, business leaders, teachers, performers, artists, politicians, community activists and so many more.
  • An Illinois education provides access to one of the nation’s largest alumni communities, which can provide mentoring, networking, business opportunities and job leads.
  • Our alumni are an economic asset to the state and the nation.
  • We continue to build the university’s reputation for excellence, creating more value for Illinois degree holders and more champions for the next generation.

Peer Universities

  • America’s leading research universities are built on the idea of hard work and determination. We have embraced those values and used them to achieve national recognition as one of the best research institutions in the world.
  • We relentlessly focus on providing unparalleled research resources and infrastructure so that we can make impactful contributions to society.
  • We provide access to learning, discovery and engagement on a large scale while maintaining excellence in all that we do.
  • We believe the future is built by those who are willing to question the past.
  • Our global community continues to deliver countless innovations and positively impact the lives of many.


  • We offer limitless opportunities to an astounding number of people looking to further educate themselves and improve their lives.
  • We deliver innovation that impacts the world while creating jobs and training the next generation of leaders who will help Illinois-based businesses grow and prosper.
  • We partner with our communities in Illinois and around the world, sharing knowledge and empowering people in ways that enrich lives.
  • Our ability to deliver excellence at scale means every contribution and investment has a greater impact.
  • We share our scholarship, discoveries and expertise with our partners to address societal challenges.

Note: The messaging provided is relevant to all of the external groups listed, however, this messaging will likely need to be tailored to address the specific audience.