What’s in a name? Ideas and inspiration for naming your intranet
Committing to a name for your intranet can be a daunting task. If you’re facing the fear of choosing a name that will please users and management alike, these outside-the-box approaches may inspire you to get started. When it comes to naming your intranet, the stakes are high. In just a word or two, you’re supposed to portray your company culture; inspire and motivate your employees; capture the purpose and role of your intranet. This is going to be the most-used buzzword (or words) on the lips of every employee, potentially for years to come. It’s the very brand of your intranet. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a name.In the 15 years of Interact, we’ve seen some fantastic approaches to creating unique, memorable, and innovative intranet names that somehow bring an otherwise inanimate (and, let’s face it, often dry or uninspiring) piece of software to life, injecting personality and purpose. With the right name, you make it easier for users to identify with and engage with your intranet, making it more personable, approachable, and instilling a sense of ownership. If you’re stuck for ideas or inspiration, take a look at some of our favorite approaches from our very own customers.Naming your intranet after an employee may sound risky, but it can be a great testament to that individual and a powerful way to humanize your intranet. Swagelok Scotland took this approach, naming their intranet after an employee of over 30 years, Ian Knowles. As the ‘go to’ staff member for information during that time, he was the human intranet for the business; naming their platform ‘Knowsley’ was seen as a fitting tribute to Ian when he came to retire from the business, while also hinting at the purpose of the intranet. Thorntons Law took a spin on this approach, after a competition amongst staff – resulting in 130 entries – saw ‘JACK’ voted as the winning name for their new intranet. The reasoning was two-fold; not only was Jack the name of Thorntons’ Chairman, who was in his last term of tenure following 20 years at the head of the firm, but also an abbreviation for the primary goals of the intranet: “Just Ask: Communication and Knowledge”. Naming your intranet after a character If going for someone living and breathing isn’t for you, a fictitious character could be the answer. You can evolve a character into a full-on brand or bring it to life as a mascot, helping users connect with it – and, ultimately, your intranet. Magenta Living took this route with a playful approach after creating the character YETI, who was also a fluffy toy. Employees are encouraged to take YETI on holiday and photograph their trips around the world, posting them to the intranet – a fun way to build engagement with the brand.
Getting an original name (while avoiding ‘Intranety McIntranet Face’)When working with customers to drive adoption and engagement with an intranet project, one of the most popular approaches is to get staff involved in naming the intranet, usually with a competition or vote. This can prove a hugely successful way to get staff excited about the intranet – and you’ll often be surprised at the hidden geniuses lurking in your own staff! However, if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the legend of Boaty McBoatFace, it’s the potential (and often comical) repercussions a total lack of control or guidance can have in an open-ended contest situation. If you’re looking to balance out the process and retain some say over the final decision, consider having an internal team shortlist favorites and get staff to vote on a winner. Giving staff a brief or overview on what you’re looking to gain from a name can also help steer things in the right direction. Are you looking for something fun, or something more corporate? Would you like the name to reflect your company values, your industry or purpose? What is the overall purpose or the main objectives of your intranet? With some basic starting points, you can hopefully remove the fear factor. For some alternative approaches to naming your intranet, consider some of the more outside-the-box approaches below.
Naming your intranet after an employeeDoes your business already have an ‘intranet’ in human form? Someone who is the foundation of all knowledge that everyone goes to for answers? An individual who embodies your values or what you stand for?
YETI is a character displayed prominently across our intranet. He is there as a friendly, recognisable face to help staff navigate across the intranet. YETI has his own profile; he uploads information and writes his own blogs, he likes and comments on other people’s posts, blogs and forums, which helps create further buy-in with staff by corresponding with him directly. We had a cuddly YETI made and we invited staff to take him on their holidays, day trips and conferences. He has visited some amazing places, including Hong Kong, Canada, Florida and the Dominican Republic, as well as the Grand Prix and the World Rally Championships. We upload YETI’s holiday pictures to the intranet for all staff to see. Having a YETI mascot has proven to be valuable to the success of our intranet.Alternatively, why not base your character on something – or someone – relating to your industry, brand, or what you do? This was the approach of both Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, who created an entire persona around ‘flo’, based on the nursing figure Florence Nightingale, and The International Federation of Accountants, who created ‘Luca’, named after Luca Pacioli – the Italian 15th century Friar and Mathematician commonly referred to as the ‘Father of Accounting’.