next generation of
Corporate brand communications
Intranet design viewpoint
How do you build
an effective and
In this issue we discuss the trends and best-practice innovations being
employed to create the next generation of cutting-edge corporate intranets.
The corporate intranet landscape is changing. Organisations are recognising
the efficiency and productivity benefits a good intranet can bring and are investing
resources to ensure the latest generation of intranets are pushing boundaries.
The challenge is a fascinating one with huge potential to benefit the business.
But there is also a balancing act between delivering cost benefits and delivering
something that engages, inspires and motivates staff. At View, we know from
experience that building a truly successful intranet is the result of careful
planning and focused delivery.
1 Stakeholder engagement
Talk to your staff and assess business requirements. Audits, workshops and
research will all help define and drive the project and ensure everything needed
is captured – from the CEO wanting to share his vision, to staff out in the field
who need to stay in touch.
2 Information architecture (IA)
The biggest problem facing many intranets is information overload. It is critical to
structure information and signpost users to relevant content through a smart and
clear structure. Consider new methods of targeting content such as information
personalisation or page customisation to ensure content is quick and easy
Content is key to a successful intranet. Ensure it is presented in a succinct
and engaging manner and updated as regularly as possible to keep it
relevant and interesting. Don't just recycle existing content from other places.
Instead consider how it might work more effectively online: potentially as a video
or an animation. Old content needs to regularly audited and archived where
relevant so that the intranet doesn't get cluttered with too much information.
4 Design and branding
Corporate brand should be at the heart of your intranet, enhancing its appearance
and helping communicate your company values to staff. Ensure the intranet
complements other communications channels such as your corporate website,
CSR brochure or financial reports? But make sure you get the balance of
corporate messaging right. Too much or too obvious could be counter-productive
in the long term.
Innovation should underpin all aspects of the intranet – from the design and brand
implementation to the technologies used. The right innovations will future-proof
your intranet and ensure it becomes a fundamental communications tool for
your organisation. It is no longer simply a question of being a 'nice to have'.
Innovation is something that users expect.
Listen to your people...
Every successful intranet is built on an understanding of what your employees need.
User testing, surveys, field studies and prototypes will help engage with all stakeholders
from the very beginning of the project.
Some innovations which might help
Every business is unique and has different requirements for its intranet.
However the following trends and innovations are worth discussing with
your agency at the planning stage.
1 My status
HOW can i book Killer Apps. New technologies such as
AJAX-enabled applications can transform
business flights static HTML pages into rich and responsive 2 Flight finder
web applications. Should be a low
more easily? investment, high impact tool, that attracts
more staff to use the intranet.
I HAVE AN OPINION Web 2.0. It means different things to
different people. We think it should mean
ABOUT THE ‘enabling collaboration to allow teams and 4 Wikis
individuals to communicate more efficiently
BUSINESS TOO.... and share information with greater ease’.
6 Book meeting rooms online
I WISH I COULD Self-service tools. The best intranets
provide tools to support employees’
BOOK MEETING everyday work and improve productivity. 7 Online expense forms
Useful time-saving devices are the order
ROOMS ONLINE! of the day.
8 Online holiday forms
9 External RSS
HOW CAN I CONNECT Communication is key. Intranets provide
a platform to share information with staff
WITH OUR STAFF? globally and help develop a cohesive 10 Internal news
corporate culture. 11 Inspiring corporate comms
12 Customisable news feeds
13 Dedicated HR section
What’s our health HR Tools. Intranets are the perfect
channel for HR teams to reach out to staff,
& safety policy? inform and educate. Consider including 14 Online training
employee orientation sections for new
joiners or online training.
HOW CAN I SHARE Collaboration. Intranets can now provide
a wealth of new collaboration tools to allow
15 Collaborative working
WORK ONLINE? teams to share online and work together 16 Knowledge sharing
WHAT’S IN Targeted content. Recognise that
different users have different needs and
IT FOR ME? offer them choices Develop features and 18 Tag cloud search
tools to allow individual users to tailor
19 Intelligent search functionality
An example corporate intranet
The example shown here contains a wealth of new features allowing staff
to collaborate, share knowledge and do business more quickly and efficiently.
19 Intelligent search
1 My status
7 Online expense forms
11 Inspiring corporate communications
8 Online holiday forms
10 Internal news
15 Collaborative working
9 External RSS
16 Knowledge sharing
12 Customisable news feeds 18 Tag cloud
2 Flight finder
13 Dedicated HR section
6 Book meeting rooms 14 Online training
Intranet design clientview
“It is essentially
just about getting
to the right people
Global Practice Leader - Communications
Rio Tinto plc
At a corporate level Rio Tinto has always worked to improve its online
presence internally, not only to support a growing business and evolving brand,
but most importantly to ensure we meet the needs of our staff.
Rio Tinto employs over 106,000 people, with operations and offices on
every continent. In such a large and diverse organisation the intranet has always
been a key channel to keep our staff informed and allow them to work more
effectively with each other.
Today, new innovations bring the potential to genuinely help companies engage
with staff and make the intranet a useful business tool for the company as
a whole. For instance, message boards that allow more personal dialogue
with staff; videos and podcasts that allow the presentation of corporate messages
in a more dynamic manner; blogs and wikis that allow staff to exchange
information and opinions with each other and hopefully feel a greater sense
of involvement with the company.
The ability to target content is also becoming increasingly sophisticated,
allowing greater levels of page customisation for individual employees.
This ensures the intranet only carries information relevant to them and their job
roles and does not bombard people with unnecessary information whenever
they log-on. Corporate messaging on issues such as safety or productivity,
and ensuring they are consistent and reach all employees effectively, fully exploits
the intranet as a communication channel and helps develop a cohesive corporate
culture across diverse geographic regions.
With the right platform, it also begins to open up the possibility of true online
working and project collaboration between teams based around the world.
Material that might otherwise have been printed and distributed can be produced
online and made available to employees globally, providing considerable cost
benefits and time efficiencies.
Although many of these innovations were originally designed for consumer sites
I believe they have now made the transition successfully to the corporate sphere
because they have proven benefits for corporate communications - not just as
window-dressing but as tools that can really assist the business. Essentially the
role of the intranet is to get better information to the right people more effectively
and any innovation that helps do this should be embraced.
View has designed and built a number of intranet solutions for its clients, across a range of technical platforms.
View partnered with Microsoft to help this major Scandinavian oil company plan their next global intranet. A major
component of the project used collaborative technologies to integrate social networking into the intranet and
deliver features such as blogs, wikis and instant messaging to staff.
View developed an innovative online ‘Leadership Lounge’ to allow Diageo’s 850 top executives to share information,
sign-up for events, contribute to forums, and access news and communications tools, allowing them to be kept
up-to-date and informed on the issues facing the business.
View undertook stakeholder research and developed a solution to support the business as it consolidated its global
operations and migrated multiple intranet sites into a single group-wide portal, including: personalisation features,
collaborative tools and discussion forums to allow staff to work together more closely.
View designed and built an intranet portal to improve internal communications. The new portal provided a single
information point and knowledge resource for staff across the business; it also introduced an innovative ‘have your say’
feedback mechanism for news stories.
View developed a virtual meeting place where senior managers can debate and discuss the day-to-day issues
the business faces in a more creative and collaborative environment, including: interactive discussion forums,
knowledge sharing features, latest news and analyst briefings.
Intranet design viewblog
“Before you get too excited
think twice... Twitter is
a particularly sharp
Audrey O’Kane Senior Planning Consultant
It seems that all of a sudden everybody, including corporations, is jumping on
the Twitter bandwagon. Thanks to new technical platforms provided by companies
such as IBM and Socialtext, Twitter can be added to corporate intranets as the
communication channel of choice for employees to ‘tweet’ each other with
meeting requests, document uploads or general “who has my stapler?”
type office enquiries.
But before you get too excited please think twice. Incorporating social media into
your intranet can be more hassle than it is worth. And Twitter is a particularly sharp
Why? Because as a communications channel, Twitter is too convenient.
“What?”, I hear you say, “Now you are being ridiculous!”. But think about it.
Whereas on day one we’re full of good intentions and ‘tweet’ about CEO
announcements and industry news, one month later the most twittered topic
is more likely to be about the company’s most unpopular secretary. How can
you sort out the good from the bad and the ugly? Given the obvious risk of
Tweeter-swarming and abuse, robust governance is absolutely necessary
to organise, filter and potentially archive content. Unfortunately, in our experience,
so far this critical element is found wanting in many corporate intranets.
The second problem arises when a group of hardcore Twitterers assume that
everybody else in the company is as enthusiastic as they are. The average
employee already has to keep an eye on their overcrowded Inbox (and possibly
IM too). What if your SOS meeting request is not picked up because your required
attendees did not check their Twitter in the morning? Then the company will have
to upload yet another set of guidelines onto the intranet: what types of messages
are too urgent for Twitter? Who are active users and who are not? By the time you
submit your proposal to the senior management team the Twitter phenomenon
will already be officially dead.
So unless you are a very Web 2.0 company, dedicated enough to hire a full-time
tweet-supervisor or have someone like Mark Zuckerberg as CEO, here is my
advice: stick to your Lotus Notes or Outlook. Their time is not over yet.
For more View blogs visit our website:
A useful glossary
Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the terminology - and this is never truer
than in the world of intranets and Web 2.0! Here we have listed some of
the common terms you may come across.
Accessibility Rich media
The degree to which a website or intranet is usable A generic term for any advanced form of interactivity
by people with disabilities. Sites should be designed to delivered to a user through video, audio or animation.
remove as many barriers as possible and allow all users
to understand, navigate and interact with content. RSS
The W3C organisation provides industry-recognised Stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. A form of
guidance for achieving accessibility. syndication that allows users to subscribe and receive
new or updated content, for instance from blogs, news
Aggregator or other frequently updated online content sources.
A tool which gathers information from multiple online
sources, usually via an RSS feed, and then republishes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
on your site. For instance, allowing users to view The process of improving the quantity and quality of
BBC news headlines on your intranet homepage. traffic to a website from search engines. Typically, the
higher a site ranks in a search results, the more users
AJAX will visit it.
A development technique for creating interactive web Social bookmarking
applications that increase a web page's interactivity, Systems to enable users to store and share lists or
speed and usability. Internet resources that they find useful to view or use
again in the future. This sharing of tagged content can
API create a grassroots popularity rating of a site by users.
Short for Application Programming Interface.
A development interface that facilitates the use Social networking
of third party applications, such as Google search Using the web to communicate with friends, colleagues
or Google maps. and even strangers is now at the heart of the online
experience for many people.
A series of personal articles written in an informal tone Syndication
but can also refer to photo, audio or video content, To make information on your website - such as
which often contain links or tags to other online sources corporate news, blogs or podcasts - available to other
of content. Derived from the term 'web log'. sites or registered users, for instance as an RSS feed.
CMS Targeted content
Acronym for Content Management System. To provide individual users with content tailored to
An application used to create, edit, manage, search their own specific interests or profile (also referred to
and publish content online to a website or intranet. as personalisation, customisation or localisation).
Good examples are the BBC or iGoogle websites,
Extranet or Google sponsored Ad search results.
A secure online environment with restricted access
levels for sharing information with clients or partners Taxonomy
outside of your immediate network. Refers to the way a site organises its data into
categories and subcategories, as seen in a sitemap.
An administrated content area. You set a topic Podcast
and people will come and talk about it. Digital media files that users can subscribe to and listen
to on their computers, PDAs or mobile phones. Can be
Intranet very effective for marketing and training purposes.
A website for an internal audience typically hosted
behind a company firewall. Usability
At its simplest this means making online environments
Portal as easy to use as possible and matching them more
A web interface which allows users to access a variety closely to user requirements.
of resources and information, including non-web based
services, quickly and efficiently. Wiki
Websites that allow users to create, edit and
collaborate on content.
View is a corporate brand communications agency.
We think if you've got something to say, you should say it in a way your
audiences will understand; whether you're launching a new website or
intranet, producing an annual report, developing a CSR strategy,
or creating an employer brand.
We work with a range of FTSE and global companies; our clients operate
across many sectors, including Energy & Utilities, Manufacturing, Technology,
Defence, Pharmaceutical and Financial Services.
For more information please contact:
Jason Ross, CEO
Tel: +44 (0)20 8811 8651
Ben Procter, Senior Account Director
Tel: +44 (0)20 8811 8613
Block A, Long Island House
+44 0(20) 8811 8600
Corporate brand communications