A merging of minds

What’s involved in creating a brand new charity intranet for a brand new charity? Well, we can tell you with absolute confidence, quite a lot!

In November 2014, the UK’s two leading breast cancer research charities, Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, announced our intention to merge. The aim – to combine the skills and expertise of both organisations to create the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, dedicated to funding research into this devastating disease.

Seven months later, on June 15 2015, Breast Cancer Now was born. In that short space of time, we’d brought together two sets of staff, moved into a new office, created a new brand for our new charity, built a new website and launched a national TV advertising campaign. Let’s just say we like to keep busy.

An intranet with a story to tell

Breast Cancer Now believes that if we all act now, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. We’re passionate about stopping women dying from the disease and we know we can get there through the power of research. Equally vital is our policy and campaigning work, public health information and the support of the public through fundraising and donations.

That’s the story we tell every day – to our fundraisers, our campaigners, our scientists and, importantly, our staff. It’s not always a simple message; medical research can be an incredibly complicated field, but it’s vital our staff feel part of the progress being made in our labs. Because if we don’t know what we stand for and what we do then, how can we expect anyone outside of our four walls to get it – let alone support our work?

So as an important part of our new charity’s launch, we developed a brand new intranet. This didn’t come without its challenges. But the end result is something which we feel truly brings us together under one new brand, with one clear ambition: to stop women dying from breast cancer by 2050.

Embedding a new brand

Our look and feel

Our intranet had a lot to live up to. It needed to bring together two sets of staff as one new organisation. It needed to make sure they had all the information they needed to help them in our first exciting days as Breast Cancer Now. And it needed to keep them coming back, and enable them to engage with each other better than before, long after our launch week was over.

We wanted to create an intranet which is highly visual and instantly engaging , but we also wanted to make it a space where everyone felt they had a part to play – and that they were part of something new and exciting. That’s a vital part of our brand that we communicate externally, so it’s something which had to exist internally too.

To help us achieve this, we held a competition with staff to name our new intranet. The eventual winner was ‘inow’, which not only helps to reinforce the name of our charity but represents the personal element of our intranet – it’s for all of us, and it’s owned by all of us.

We used our two brand colours, pink and grey, throughout the site – again reinforcing our new brand and making use of our heart symbol as a background. One thing our staff tell us they loved about our old organisations was the family feel – so this was something we absolutely needed to bring forward into Breast Cancer Now.

In anticipation of launch, we filled our homepage with interactive features such as video content, new imagery, blogs, our twitter feed and a ‘what’s going on’ timeline to pique our staff’s interest and get them immersed into our new brand from day one.

This highly visual approach creates a great energy across our intranet, which is something which lies at the heart of our brand and organisation.

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Our tone of voice

With a bold new charity you need a bold new voice, and this is carried across from our external communications through to our intranet. At our heart are three values – we’re bright, affirming and free-thinking, and this is reflected through a tone of voice that’s smart, straightforward and not afraid to say what it thinks.

From the way we introduced our new TV advertising campaign:

…to a video explaining who we are:

Our tone and messaging is peppered throughout the site. inow talks the talk, and it’s really helping our staff get to grips with our new tone of voice.

Our user needs

We worked very hard to create an information structure which would make the intranet easy to use for all staff, at all levels, and in all areas of the charity. Having held some really useful workshops with members of the team to get their views on how we should lay out our intranet, we tried to create a structure through the eyes of the end user – and place information in the areas they would expect to find it, and not where we as ‘creators’ want to put it.

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Breast Cancer Now_embedding a new brand within the hearts of employees_latest news

This helped to create a site which users are able to use quickly and efficiently to help them do their job and keep up to date with what’s going on. This is aided by our homepage, which is not just lovely to look at but functional. It includes ‘quick links’ to key resources our staff told us they need everyday access to, a simple navigation bar and useful widgets such as an upcoming events calendar and latest news stories from across the charity.

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An intranet that works – now and tomorrow

It’s been just less than two months since we launched inow to our staff, but already it’s a trusted source of information and early indications show it is being well adopted by our colleagues. Over 90% of our staff are already engaging with the intranet; a figure we are confident will continue to rise. We also know that inow is helping to embed our new brand within the hearts and minds of our staff on a daily basis – something which is absolutely vital in the early days of our new charity.