Does your intranet have a name? Is it an important branding feature or just lipstick on a pig? If you are developing your intranet, it’ll no doubt be a topic that you’re wrestling with right now. This post will look at the case for and against naming your intranet and provide some useful resources and ideas if that’s your preferred direction. We’re grateful to Paul Graville at Concentra UK for his help.
For: Naming is part of the branding, @digitaljonathan intranetizen team
There will come a time when designing and building your new intranet when conversations shift from the technical to the aesthetic. We know that your intranet design — its curb appeal — will be critical to early adoption; it’s technical abilities will be what keeps employees coming back. We’re visual creatures after all.
An intranet name is part of that visual design, part of the curb appeal. Here are a few good reasons for giving it a name:
- Take some time to sit with employees whilst they’re using your intranet. What do they call it? If you don’t have an intranet name as part of the branding, they’ll likely call it many different things – ‘intranet’, ‘portal’, ‘employee portal’ or maybe even ‘SharePoint’. This is the problem in a nutshell. Without a branded name, employees will call it anything they like. Employees need a common vocabulary.
- It gives the new site intranet a distinct identity and provides a break from the current landscape. Never be tempted to give an old intranet a new name and expect employees to be wowwed. A new name for a new intranet gives internal standout and recognition.
- It is easier to reference in other communications (‘for more information, visit [name]’). The brand name facilitates stronger communication. Make it easier for yourself – name your intranet
Be imaginative. If you’re thinking about calling it i[Company Name], [Company Name]Net, a pun, or contrived backronym, you probably need to see the resources below.
Against: Naming your intranet is just stupid, Paul Graville, Concentra UK
This question comes up on every single intranet project I’ve been involved with: what should we call our intranet? CompanyWeb, Connect, Core, Gateway, Dave, etc. etc. etc.
I think this stems from the fact that intranets are typically underused and therefore don’t provide much value. So the idea is that giving the intranet a personality will encourage people to use it. This is HOGWASH. Take it from me, people are not so stupid that a change in the name will get them using something.
I’ve also heard the argument that naming something makes it easier to talk about e.g. “The document you’re looking for is up on In.Sight”. While this argument holds some weight, I don’t think it’s necessary for a computer system to have a name. Just say “The document you’re looking for is on the intranet”. Or, if you’re intranet is built on the Microsoft SharePoint platform; ”It’s on SharePoint”.
Does your email system have some cutesy name or do you just call it email, Outlook or Exchange server? Same goes for your file share; is F: drive sort for Fred? If you decided to use an online file sharing tool like Dropbox would you be happy to say “I’ve put the file on Dropbox” or would you be on the phone to Dropbox’s support like asking if they do a whitelabel service that you could rename to Barry?
I think naming your intranet can actually contribute to a lack of user adoption, the fact its identity is highlighted makes people see it as a separate system rather than something they just ‘use’ without thinking about it.
Intranet Naming Thoughts and Resources
If you are naming your intranet and you’re short of inspiration, here’s some other great resources.
- Intranet Name Ideas: http://intranet-matters.de/intranet-names/
- ThoughtFarmer intranet names: http://www.thoughtfarmer.com/blog/2010/02/25/what-to-name-your-new-intranet/
- Crowdsourcing an intranet name: http://www.thoughtfarmer.com/blog/2011/08/08/case-study-crowdsourcing-name-for-new-social-intranet/
- Amanda at StepTwo’s useful perspective: http://www.steptwo.com.au/papers/cmb_namingintranet/index.html
Does giving an intranet a name drive adoption, or increase the sense of ownership? Or is it a twee rebranding exercise? If you have opted to break ground and not give your Intranet a name, how was your experience? Would you do it again? Did your colleagues even noticed?
What are some of the best and worst intranet names you’ve come across? Tell us in the comments below.