Headline Hierarchy

“Within us” is our creative platform, but it’s not a tagline. Is it a headline? Sometimes. But using the words “within us” in every headline can get repetitive, so you shouldn’t rely on that construction all the time. Use the following hierarchical structure as a guide when you’re writing headlines. The smallest portion at the top represents the few times you’ll use “within us” verbatim, and the largest portion at the bottom represents the times you’ll communicate the outcomes of the traits that are within us, which you’ll do much more frequently.

headline hierarchy pyramid graphic showing level one

Using the “Within us” platform to describe what we provide and where and how we provide it

It’s fairly obvious that the “Within us” platform mainly describes the first brand pillar, “Determined Achievers.” But with careful and thoughtful writing, it can flex to communicate the other two pillars, as well.

1: Intellectual Meeting Place

Whenever possible, we should tie our headlines back to a specific person or group of people. But in instances when we’re talking about our entire institution, not just a person, we have a chance to communicate the idea of an intellectual meeting place that’s more about the collective than the individual. In this instance, “within us” isn’t talking about personality traits, but instead things happening inside a building — research, discovery, conversation, and invention.


Example:
What’s within these walls affects everything that goes on outside of them.

2: Heightened Education

We don’t just amplify traits in people. We amplify everything we do through a heightened education that enhances the University of Richmond experience and impacts everything beyond it. When you’re writing, think of the various ways we do this — by weaving together disciplines, putting theory into practice, and fighting for causes we care about — and link them with a personal trait that’s strengthened because of it.


Example:
Disciplines interwoven. Determination intensified.


headline hierarchy pyramid graphic showing level two

“Within us” headlines

For high-impact pieces like viewbook covers, billboards, and print ads, this articulation of the brand is the best way to make a succinct, powerful impression. There are two ways to use “within us” in a headline:

1: [Descriptor] + [Verb] within us.

Combine a trait from the list of descriptors (or another positive trait that pairs well with your message) with a strong verb, and follow it with the words “within us.”


Examples:
Achievement lives within us.

Courage thrives within us.

Vibrancy flourishes within us.

2: The [trait] within us [outcome].

Particularly compelling for peer institution audiences, this structure gives equal balance to the traits that are within us and the outcome they have in the real world.


Examples:
The ambition within us moves industries forward.

The curiosity within us reveals infinite discoveries.

The determination within us pushes the boundaries of possibility.


headline hierarchy pyramid graphic showing level three

Describing the traits within us without saying “within us”

For an alternative to saying “within us,” you can describe the traits that Spiders possess in another way.


[Adverb] [Trait].

Examples:
Distinctly driven.

Clearly inventive.

Exceptionally creative.


headline hierarchy pyramid graphic showing level four

Communicating the outcome in the headline, and using the body copy to describe how the traits within us made it possible

What’s within us is obviously important (after all, it’s the basis for our brand). But those inner qualities mean nothing if they don’t lead to incredible outcomes. That’s why, in many cases, you’ll lead with those outcomes in the headline, and then use the subhead or body copy to elaborate on how the traits within us led to the big impact.


Examples:
Fighting bone disease with zebra fish
A University of Richmond biology professor’s curious nature led him to examine the qualities of zebra fish in a new light—and he discovered that they’re the perfect subjects for bone disease research.

Reframing a monumental debate
Julian Hayter’s passion for history and social justice compelled him to take a deeper look at the Confederate statues that line Richmond’s Monument Avenue, digging into the truth of the matter and sharing his expertise with Anderson Cooper on a recent episode of 60 Minutes.