Our Verbal Identity

Our tagline connects us with our audiences with a short, memorable set of words that help set expectations of what an Oklahoma experience is like. “Imagine that” is an expression that universally represents surprise while inviting audiences to dream of their own personal opportunities. While your marketing efforts may incorporate various themes and messages, “Imagine that” is the only tagline that may be used across the state for external communications. It can be used within headlines, in body copy or as a sign-off. It cannot be used alone as the headline.

Example usage:

externally-facing applications such as advertising, collateral, posters, websites, trade show materials, videos, and interior facility signage. For more information on applying the tagline, see Our Tagline in the visual identity section.

Messaging​
Messaging is comprised of the essential ideas audiences need to know about
Oklahoma. It informs the words you choose, but it is not meant to be copied directly
into your communications. Below are the three key messages about Oklahoma.
You can use all of them or only one, depending on the requirements of your brief.
It’s up to you!

Overarching message

Everyone has the opportunity to make what they want here

Key messages

Defying Expectations

Oklahoma is not what you expect. It’s not a relic of the past – it’s brand new. It’s not a flyover state – it’s a land, build and make-something state. It’s a culture that’s home to world-class musicians, artists, dancers, actors, filmmakers, and creatives. It’s a people who call it home…and challenge others to find the inviting and the exciting. This state was built on boot-strap sheer innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, and poets. And we haven’t hit our high points yet but we’re actively investing our time, money and resources into making this a better place for everyone – no matter who you are. So whatever you think we are – come ready to be surprised.

Something For Everyone

How many places can say you can have it all? Want to live in a downtown loft, walk to an NBA game and take public transportation? You can. Want to own your own home in a good school district with lots of family entertainment? We’ve got plenty of options. Want some land, some animals and a peaceful place to build your future? This land is your land. Want an affordable, pro-business place to create or relocate your business? We’ve got your back. Just looking for a place to get away for a few days, take in some world-class food, some history, some incredible performing arts? Come check us out. Seriously – whatever you’re looking for, there’s something here for you, and there are millions of friendly people here to help you have the experience you’re after.

A Pioneering Spirit

This is a place that was built from scratch, starting with indigenous cultures that learned how to survive and thrive in changing conditions, to those who gave up everything to pursue new opportunities in the land run of 1889.  However you got here, whenever you got here, however long you stay, you’re invited to exhale and bring out the pioneer inside yourself – to make something of your time, your opportunity and your future – and be part of something special. Our roots run deep, and we’re still running, still making, still pioneering. Join us for a day, a weekend or a generation.

Tone of Voice
While Messaging is what we say, Tone of Voice is how we say it. Below are voice
principles and corresponding writing tactics to help you communicate in the new
brand voice. The Overarching Voice Principle gives you a high-level feeling of our
“sound”, while the Voice Principles and Writing Tactics that follow give you more
concrete guidance.

Overarching Voice Principle

We are about action.

We respond without hesitation: we work together facing challenges and solving problems with gusto. We’re intimately involved in our communities and genuinely concerned for each other, including all Okies and new fans/transplants.

Voice Principles

We Look Forward

With our long history of people pioneering their own innovation, Oklahomans have every reason to see powerful opportunities in their futures. We imagine. We dream. Then we get that red dirt power moving forward towards success. From companies to musicians, artists, tech innovators and everything in between, we are all building towards a powerful future.

We Are Authentic

We are exactly who we seem to be. We say what we believe. We say it directly, so we can get our points across simply and efficiently. If we’re going for a little humor, audiences can see the wink that comes with it. But we never say too much or speak without having something worthwhile to say. And we wouldn’t want to be perceived any other way.

We’ve Got Swagger

Some say we don’t like to brag, but we’ve got some powerful stories to tell. About our pioneering innovation. Our strength. Our resilience. We have a kind of swagger that’s contagious and inspiring. Our swagger helps others feel adventurous and upbeat.

We Speak As People

We communicate as vibrant members of our communities, sharing the goals and dreams of all those who live here. Supporting others’ dreams as much as we advance our own. The moment our voice seems detached from our audience, or from each other we lose our human connection.

Tone of Voice and Writing Tactics

Voice Principle

We Look Forward

With our long history of people pioneering their own innovation, Oklahomans have every reason to see powerful opportunities in their futures. We imagine. We dream. Then we get that red dirt power moving forward towards success. From companies to musicians, artists, tech innovators and everything in between, we are all building towards a powerful future.

Writing Tactics for this Principle

  • Try heightening anticipation in our stories and copy.
  • Speak enticingly about what could be, and tempt people to see their own futures come true in Oklahoma.
  • Rely on tangible, empowering and uplifting imagery to help transport your audience reader quickly.
  • Use shorter sentences to get directly to the punch.
  • Use historical references and track records to frame the possibilities of today.

Voice Principle

We Are Authentic

We are exactly who we seem to be. We say what we believe. We say it directly, so we can get our points across simply and efficiently. If we’re going for a little humor, audiences can see the wink that comes with it. But we never say too much or speak without having something worthwhile to say. And we wouldn’t want to be perceived any other way.

Writing Tactics for this Principle

  • Hit the central point quickly and in simple, common terms. Avoid flowery language.
  • Try reading your copy out loud or better yet, sing it as a country song to test whether it sounds authentic.
  • Steer clear of hyperbole unless you’re using it for humorous effect.
  • Use active voice as much as possible.
  • If it doesn’t sound like a human would say that,
    don’t say that.

Voice Principle

We’ve Got Swagger

Some say we don’t like to brag, but we’ve got some powerful stories to tell. About our pioneering innovation. Our strength. Our resilience. We have a kind of swagger that’s contagious and inspiring. Our swagger helps others feel adventurous and upbeat.

Writing Tactics for this Principle

  • Use the power of swagger to stir the emotions. Would your copy make a Ferrari blush?
  • Use narrative that invites the reader to insert themselves into the story.
  • Power doesn’t need long sentences. Brevity is your friend.
  • Try short, declarative sentences and phrases to highlight that confidence.
  • Use humor! Surprise people with your words, ideas, and sentence structure. Arrest them with your humor.

Voice Principle

We Speak As People

We communicate as vibrant members of our communities, sharing the goals and dreams of all those who live here. Supporting others’ dreams as much as we advance our own. The moment our voice seems detached from our audience, or from each other we lose our human connection.

Writing Tactics for this Principle

  • Use unifying language, like “we”, “us”, or “together”, to underscore our commitment to community
  • Keep it simple but don’t gloss over complex ideas or important facts
  • Your reader should feel like she’s speaking with a good friend that has invited you to a dinner among friends
  • Try to refer to collective goals that are singular and relatable to all audiences
  • Avoid using words that are charged and can be divisive. Err on the side of caution.
Before and After Examples
These Before elements of these examples are based on actual existing copy. The
After elements give you a sense of how that copy might change once the new messaging has been incorporated. You’ll see the messages color-coded, with the legend below.
 
Note how not all messages always have to appear. Sometimes only one message is required. It all depends on the brief you’re working to. Immediately below the messaging examples are versions that reveal how the new Voice Principles have been applied. Again, not all Voice Principles have to be used for every communication. It’s up to you which ones to apply.
Commerce

Before

For Business Attraction,
Creation and Retention

We recruit new businesses to the state by promoting the great assets we have for businesses to succeed. We work to foster an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure in Oklahoma to encourage the start-up of new businesses and partner with communities to ensure existing businesses grow and prosper.

After, with new messaging applied

Whatever Your Dream, We’ll Help You Build It.

The next chapter of your great idea starts right here in Oklahoma. Whether your dream is to start a new business or simply run yours in a more efficient, affordable, pro-business environment, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce is here to help you build it, grow it, support it and sustain it in our state. Our state was settled by visionaries, entrepreneurs, risk-takers and pioneers. If you identify as one of those, you are our kind of people.

Messages applied:
Defying Expectations
Something for Everyone
A Pioneering Spirit

Before

For Business Attraction,
Creation and Retention

We recruit new businesses to the state by promoting the great assets we have for businesses to succeed. We work to foster an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure in Oklahoma to encourage the start-up of new businesses and partner with communities to ensure existing businesses grow and prosper.

After, with new messaging applied

Whatever Your Dream, We’ll Help You Build It.

The next chapter of your great idea starts right here in Oklahoma. Whether your dream is to start a new business or simply run yours in a more efficient, affordable, pro-business environment, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce is here to help you build it, grow it, support it and sustain it in our state. Our state was settled by visionaries, entrepreneurs, risk-takers and pioneers. If you identify as one of those, you are our kind of people.

Voice Principles applied:
We Look Forward
We are Authentic
We’ve got Swagger
We Speak as People

Before

Community Development

We partner with city and county elected officials and community leaders to help raise incomes, improve the quality of life for local residents, and help local businesses to thrive. Through federal funding, we oversee vital infrastructure and human services investments that help position communities as favorable for business attraction.

After, with new messaging applied

Build Something Great.
Build a Community.

Every day, people from all over the world are moving right here to our state, and we recognize that momentum plays a big part in that. The success of one comes in part from the success of others who have come before, so when you decide to locate your business in Oklahoma, you’ll have the resources of not just our commerce department, but our champions of commerce, city and county elected officials and community leaders, all working towards your success. We all wake up every day and work hard to make a thriving, fair, inclusive and competitive business environment for all Oklahomans. And once you’re settled in, we want you to help drive what comes next. It’s your dream. Build it. We’re waiting for you.

Messages applied:
Defying Expectations
Something for Everyone
A Pioneering Spirit

Before

Community Development

We partner with city and county elected officials and community leaders to help raise incomes, improve the quality of life for local residents, and help local businesses to thrive. Through federal funding, we oversee vital infrastructure and human services investments that help position communities as favorable for business attraction.

After, with new messaging applied

Build Something Great.
Build a Community.

Every day, people from all over the world are moving right here to our state, and we recognize that momentum plays a big part in that. The success of one comes in part from the success of others who have come before, so when you decide to locate your business in Oklahoma, you’ll have the resources of not just our commerce department, but our champions of commerce, city and county elected officials and community leaders, all working towards your success. We all wake up every day and work hard to make a thriving, fair, inclusive and competitive business environment for all Oklahomans. And once you’re settled in, we want you to help drive what comes next. It’s your dream. Build it. We’re waiting for you.

Voice Principles applied:
We Look Forward
We are Authentic
We’ve got Swagger
We Speak as People

Tourism

Before

Whether planning a family vacation, a road trip with friends, or a romantic getaway for two, you’ll find that Oklahoma is home to an amazing variety of attractions and activities. Browse through our attraction categories to discover interesting new destinations and fun things to do throughout the state. Select a category below and begin exploring all the exciting things you can do in Oklahoma!

After, with new messaging applied

If all you see is flat land and red dirt, keep on driving. But if you happen to notice all our beautiful lakes, our Olympic-level riversports, our rich tribal history, our world-class performing arts and professional sports, our stunning wildlife and agriculture, our historic routes and peaceful national memorial, our exhilarating gaming and racing industry, and our thriving metropolitan areas….well, it seems we might have something for you to do around here.
Oklahoma. Imagine that.

Messages applied:
Defying Expectations
Something for Everyone
A Pioneering Spirit

Before

Whether planning a family vacation, a road trip with friends, or a romantic getaway for two, you’ll find that Oklahoma is home to an amazing variety of attractions and activities. Browse through our attraction categories to discover interesting new destinations and fun things to do throughout the state. Select a category below and begin exploring all the exciting things you can do in Oklahoma!

After, with new messaging applied

If all you see is flat land and red dirt, keep on driving. But if you happen to notice all our beautiful lakes, our Olympic-level riversports, our rich tribal history, our world-class performing arts and professional sports, our stunning wildlife and agriculture, our historic routes and peaceful national memorial, our exhilarating gaming and racing industry, and our thriving metropolitan areas….well, it seems we might have something for you to do around here.
Oklahoma. Imagine that.

Messages applied:
We Look Forward
We are Authentic
We’ve got Swagger
Something for Everyone

General Public

Before

Oklahoma Works is designed to increase the wealth of all Oklahomans through facilitating quality employment for workers and ready availability of highly skilled talent for business and industry. Oklahoma Works’ strategic priorities are coordinated by the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development.

After, with new messaging applied

Our state is only as good as our people, and if you’re looking for work here, we want you to succeed. Similarly, if you’re hiring at your business, we want you to find great people willing to work hard and help you succeed.
Oklahoma Works has the resources and services to help ensure you can make it here, whatever it means for you, your business or your family.

Messages applied:
Defying Expectations
Something for Everyone
A Pioneering Spirit

Before

Oklahoma Works is designed to increase the wealth of all Oklahomans through facilitating quality employment for workers and ready availability of highly skilled talent for business and industry. Oklahoma Works’ strategic priorities are coordinated by the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development.

After, with new messaging applied

Our state is only as good as our people, and if you’re looking for work here, we want you to succeed. Similarly, if you’re hiring at your business, we want you to find great people willing to work hard and help you succeed.
Oklahoma Works has the resources and services to help ensure you can make it here, whatever it means for you, your business or your family.

Voice Principles applied:
We Look Forward
We are Authentic
We’ve got Swagger
We Speak as People

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