Branding the Intranet

By Adam Wasserman – Naming your intranet gives it a personality and broader appeal.

Just like a product on the store shelf or a piece of software on your computer, the intranet should be branded. A branded site goes a long way in improving the marketing around the site and increasing the traffic that the site receives. Branding the intranet is also the first step in creating a personality for the site, which helps employees relate to the internal tool.

Give the intranet a personality

The intranet can be a little intimidating for some of the less technical people in the office. Even the word ‘intranet’ is more often than not confused with ‘Internet’ and leads to a technical discussion that can be far beyond some employees' expertise. Some of this tension can be relieved through some thought to a name and identity for the intranet. It is amazing how much ‘friendlier’ the intranet becomes when it is called something to which people can better relate. I realize that this may sound a little fluffy as this is a core business tool (should we name the phone lines next?). However, there is a wealth of data and case studies that supports this initiative.

When Inventiv healthcare was faced with a naming challenge for their intranet, they opted for something fun and personal, “Buddy”. The employees really took to this name and the intranet quickly became a more approachable tool.

Deciding on a name

Although Buddy worked well for Inventiv, it does not conform to all of the best practices with intranet naming. The main things to consider when choosing a name for an intranet are:

  • The name needs to speak to the company’s uniqueness (e.g. core values, culture).
  • The name should be short and easy to say.
  • The name should be fun and approachable.

Buddy conforms well to the second and third point. The name is short and very easy to say. Buddy is a fun name and was very approachable and heavily used by employees. Where it falls short is in being unique or tied to the company. The name “Buddy” could be associated with any business, not just that of a communication firm. A better name would be more closely tied to the specific business’s intranet while still retaining elements of the other two considerations.

As a marketing device

Announcing a new “intranet” is not as marketable as announcing a branded intranet. As described before, much of the employee base will be confused by the word “intranet” to start, and it may feel too corporate. A name that’s more in touch with the culture could have a much larger impact.

But why stop at a name. Through developing a full personality for the intranet a more personal connection with the user can be achieved. Some intranets have achieved this through integrating a mascot, which has helped users through the site (Microsoft tried this with the paper clip for their office products). Adding a personality to the intranet can be an inexpensive way to make the site even more effective at being accepted by the workforce.

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