Concentrate on sales or focus on brand building? How do we
measure success? Serif or sans? Crowdsource some of the
content? Build or utilize existing technology? Online or
traditional? Is the headline overly hyperbolic? Should we try a
muted palette? How do we indicate active links? Engage them in
a contest? Have we already done this? Lo-fi or higher production
value? Matte or gloss? Standalone mobile or responsive? Are we
on brand? TypeKit or fontface call? Where’s the call to action?
Which visual treatments? How do we engage the viewer? Allow
Facebook/Twitter sign in? Animated or live action? More hand
crafted? How do we reduce friction for users? Thinner strokes?
Is there a means to re-engage? Is the approach defensible?
What kind of photography should we use? Drop down
navigation? Illustrations: pictorial or symbolic? More cowbell?
Desaturate? Treat the images consistently? Measure
ThoughtFarmer helping make
eHarmony an even better place to work
eHarmony is a solidly profitable enterprise
growing at about 30% a year with over 20
million registered users in all 50 states
and 191 countries. A mind-boggling 236
on average say ‘I do’ to their eHarmony
matches every day.
Now ThoughtFarmer is helping make eHarmony an even better place
to work, says vice president of human resources Jim Lambert. “Of all
the things we do for employees – and it’s pretty wide and varied – I think
ThoughtFarmer has been one of the biggest hits,” Lambert says.
His HR group knew from survey that employees wanted to be
kept in the loop and up to speed on what the company was doing.
eHarmony did have an intranet, but it required knowledge of HTML
coding to make changes. Result: not enough employees participated in
making changes to the site.
“What ThoughtFarmer did was provide a vehicle we could use to
communicate with employees on the fly,” Lambert says. “And it allowed
HR to manage the flow of information, while at the same time letting
employees customize their own intranet pages and share information
with others in their department.”
The HR group regularly posts current and upcoming events,
monthly updates on company performance, messages from the CEO
and COO, pictures from the latest company event, and changes
to the employee manual.
“We’re trying to avoid clogging everybody’s e-mail box by making
ThoughtFarmer the central repository for everything,” Lambert
explains. Broadcast e-mails only include links to ThoughtFarmer now.
ThoughtFarmer ensures the security of the intranet so only employees
can access the information, something that is important to eHarmony. “We
have been pleased wth the level of security and flexibility to create various
levels of access to the system,” Lambert said.
Departments can create their own private intranets – but also post
information for everyone. Employees are encouraged to include personal
information about themselves on their pages and keep them up to date.
“We also like to use ThoughtFarmer for recognition when an employee or
a department has done a fantastic job,” Lambert says.
has been one of the
SOCIAL INTRANET SOFTWARE
ThoughtFarmer is turnkey social intranet software. It enables innovative
organizations to share knowledge, engage employees, and foster collaboration.
ThoughtFarmer, a product of Openroad Communications Ltd. Suite 210, 12 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1A5 Canada
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web www.thoughtfarmer.com Tel 650.648.9599 or 1.888.694.3999
Typical server hardware for 500 users:
Single machine, dual core processor
2 - 4 GB RAM
Fast SATA or SCSI drives, 100GB+
Load balanced configurations recommended
for over 5000 users
Windows Server 2003 or 2008
SQL Server 2005 or 2008
Active Directory • Exchange 2003 or 2007
Internet Explorer 7, 8 for Windows
Firefox 3.0+ for Windows or Mac
Safari 3.0+ for Mac
Apply tags to pages and
Append files and
Change page layout to
News. Create news sections and archives.
Document management. Create, share and
manage critical pages, files and photos.
Security. Set view and edit privileges by
person or group.
Employee directory. Browse, sort and filter
employees to find expertise.
Calendars. Create shared event calendars.
Multilingual. Support multiple languages. Auto
-translate for cross-language collaboration.
Single sign-on. Windows users get a secure,
personalized view with no logon required.
Powerful search indexes
all pages and text inside
Create a single PDF from
Control view & edit by
person or group
Highly rated and
favorited pages are
boosted in search results
Track recent activity
Track changes with
Create and join groups
Social Software Features
Wikis. See a mistake? Fix it. Have an idea?
Share it. Every user is an editor.
Blogs. Create blogs, anywhere.
Groups. Create and manage groups with open
or closed membership. Sync with Exchange.
User profiles. Browse complete profiles,
relationships and recent activity for each user.
Discussion capture. Capture and record email
distribution list conversations. Manage
distribution lists with Exchange integration.
Feeds. Produce RSS. Display external feeds.
Relationship browser. Visual browser shows
relationships between people and groups.
• Make ThoughtFarmer the coveted social intranet that everyone wants to use
• Establish ThoughtFarmer as the thinking intranet company
• Turn users into “believers” who share in your mission to help people work better
• Design a flexible brand and identity system that distinctively sets
ThoughtFarmer apart from competition
• Establish an accessible, cultured, solid tone that reassures buyers and excites users
• Actively change the discussion from intranets to how to help people and
organizations work better
• Craft an elevator pitch that conveys the key benefits of a social intranet
• Create “trademarkable” features that become defensible icons
• Change the discussion from intranets to how to help people and organizations work better
• Demonstrate that ThoughtFarmer makes organizations competitive and effective by
• Sell “intrinsic value” instead of plain feature lists (this changes the game)
• Strategically parcel “trademarkable” features to make them defensible
• Use your marketing goals to set the path for the company:
• To the laggards, make this a different race by convincing them that ThoughtFarmer is a
better way to work
• To the curious, evangelize the benefits of using a social intranet and aid them in their intranet
• To transitioners, present yourselves as the next generation intranet that really helps
organizations work better
• Demonstrate how ThoughtFarmer can make their jobs easier and more enjoyable
• Tell stories that get people excited about taking control
• Give a sense of credibility to show that you are a reputable and trustworthy company
• Let users know they are dealing with experts who understand the needs of their organization
• Present yourselves as who you are: a thoughtful over-achieving software company
• Use your Twitter page to show that ThoughtFarmer is supported by a group of dedicated people
• Consider incorporating James Robinson’s 5 key points for social intranets (content,
communication, collaboration, activity, culture)
• Craft some content that speaks directly to upper management
• Group some of your content by key vertical markets
• Show client logos on Pricing page to lend confidence at time of purchase
• Employ infographics to quickly summarize concepts/facts in a memorable way
• Limit the use of humour and consider using more subtle approaches at levity
• Include resources that speak business (datasheets, whitepapers, analyst reports, awards)
• Craft a highly distinctive visual system that supports your strategy and messaging goals
• Employ a professional and completely distinctive look through bold and unmistakable visuals
• Use tight typographic standards to maximize readability and establish content hierarchy
• Use images that tell a story, which supports ThoughtFarmer’s strategy and messaging plan
• Offer areas of deep text with the ability to rapidly skim it
• Create unique symbols for parceled “trademarkable” features
• Craft every visual element with thought and care (to show that you pay attention to the details)
• Consider using icons/symbols to emphasize calls to action
• Avoid using any ORC design elements and maintain a healthy distance between these identities
• Consider alluding to “organic” and “growth” (as implied by the TF name) using visual references
• Group clients by key verticals to give potential clients useful category information
• Consider making a landing page for each vertical market/industry that you currently service
• Group features into buckets to help visitors digest detailed information in a logical fashion
• Consider flattening Product and Features into one section since there is only one product
• Create a Services section to highlight your implementation and training services
• Explore making Pricing a unique section since it’s something that clients are keenly interested in
• Move Reviews into a more prominent area
• Collect your videos into a subsection (some of your videos are hidden in case studies)
Jessica Lee, Intranet Project Manager
Jessica (42) is an intranet project manager for a large educational organization. She’s
responsible for overseeing the overall performance and health of the school’s IT system. She
attends many meetings each week and manages a small team of 2-8 people. Jessica and her
team are often busy, fighting IT related fires every couple of days. She’s concerned about
system crashes, slow performance, and complaints from the school President. She attends
conferences for intranet professionals and reads many industry publications to keep up-to-date.
When looking for potential technology providers or partners, she values reliability,
great customer service, and sales people who really understand tech. Although she’s
impressed by a lot of small providers, she wants to partner with companies that have staying
power, and will be around for years to come. Things on her “must have list” include:
Microsoft stack support, quick deployment, and customer service.
Jens Romanovich, CEO of a large organization
Jens is extremely busy managing his company but dedicates time for leadership education
and training. Lately he’s been reading articles about workplace collaboration methods in
business books and magazines. He learns about “social intranets” and how they could
improve existing processes at his company. He “gets it”—it’s a platform to share knowledge
and collaborate, it’s not Facebook. He’s curious about using a social intranet as a competitive
advantage over his competitors.
He Googles “social intranet” and the top search result is a company called ThoughtFarmer.
He clicks the URL. The site is fresh and inviting—this looks like an innovative company. On
the Homepage, he reads a few messages about business, growth, and culture—the messages
generally resonate with him. He scans the main navigation bar and finds a section called
Results and decides to investigate. The section contains a collection of case studies—the
many notable companies listed have him reassured. Each case study link has a photo, title,
and brief summary, making them easy to scan. Jens finds a case study that mirrors his
company’s situation and decides to read it. There’s a lot of info in the case study but
highlighted content makes it easy to skim. He returns to the main Results section and
reviews a few other case studies. From the case studies, he’s been exposed to a few
strategies that might apply to his company. While he isn’t fully convinced, he does think that
ThoughtFarmer could be a good fit.
Jen is curious about the people behind ThoughtFarmer. He scans the main navigation bar
and finds the About section. He learns that the company has been in business for some time
and has a competent leadership team. He quickly scans the main navigation and sees a Plans
section and a prominent link for a Demo. He looks at the pricing information and thinks that
the licensing costs appear reasonable. He would love to see a demo, but he’s awfully busy.
He decides to delegate a number of tasks to his CIO. He asks his CIO to try a demo, compare
costs, and determine if there are any road-blocks. He’s tempted to adopt ThoughtFarmer as
long as his CIO doesn’t find any critical problems.
June 2, 2011
10884b - ThoughtFarmer, Website, Site Map Version 4-0
Primary links Secondary links Tertiary links
3-2-1 - 3-2-5
6-1 - 6-x
Thank you for
Page legend Section legend
Section (no page) Primary links
Register for a
Thank you for
3-1-1 - 3-1-5
Thank you for
Thank you for
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What are we marketing?
Software that helps people and organizations work better.
What is the role of the communication?
To excite people about social intranets, and get them to choose ThoughtFarmer.
Who are we trying to reach?
• Influencers (CEOs, CXOs, Directors of HR, Operations Managers, and IT employees)
• Decision Makers (Directors of IT, CIOs, COOs, Directors of Internal Communications,
and Intranet Managers)
• Advocates (Industry writers and thought leaders)
What do we need to say?
ThoughtFarmer helps people work better within an organization by providing
simple, yet powerful tools.
Why is this true and relevant?
• Most organizations are interested in finding better ways to work
• Many use out-of-date intranets or a patchwork of programs that don’t work well together
• ThoughtFarmer coined the term “social intranet” and users love them
What is the competitive advantage?
• TF is light but powerful—employing a simple-to-use web interface atop robust technology
• TF software has been designed to help people share knowledge and collaborate effectively
• A committed team of product focused developers and support staff respond quickly to users
What is the tone?
Good, accessible, wholesome
Many subscribe to the notion that, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.” We believe there’s truth in
this phrase, but not as one of simply gaining mass. ThoughtFarmer is all about healthy growth. This
encompasses: personal development and exploration; broadening an organization’s size, offering,
and depth; and the growth of ThoughtFarmer itself, as a product and community. The
ThoughtFarmer brand will leverage notions of ecosystems, agriculture, gardens, farming, and all-around
good, honest work. The positive associations surrounding these notions will help us
differentiate ThoughtFarmer from the competition, in turn informing a unique and real promise.
Most intranet companies obsess over technology, features, and (let’s admit it) bravado. The
problem with all of this is that the focus is on the software instead of the user. What these groups
seem to completely misunderstand is that their users don’t really care about software. Similarly,
their work often has little to do with the technology, features, or ego surrounding a software
company. By casting all of this aside, and instead thinking about what our users really need/want,
we connect with people on a far more real and meaningful level. Our concept builds upon a simple,
understandable metaphor that goes to the heart of systems of engagement. Our software helps
them work well, and grow in a natural and healthy way.
• ThoughtFarmer is a good tool that will help you grow your business
• ThoughtFarmer’s software is about users, and the way companies really work
• You can trust ThoughtFarmer, because it’s a wholesome and honest company
What we like about this concept
• It uses a rich metaphor with lots of room for compelling visuals, language, and constructs
• The notions of agriculture and farming link to very positive, real, and honest associations
• It’s distinctively different from the competition, which makes it defensible (and memorable)
Good, accessible, wholesome
Concept: Healthy Growth
Consider using typefaces that are approachable to avoid
appearing stiff. Also consider type with strong historical
roots, and the ability to stand the test of time.
Explore the wide variety of new web safe fonts to bring a
unique and “own able” look to your website.
Mix type styles to maintain visual interest and distinguish
between different types of information.
Hand written type can help to reinforce the “human
element” through your materials and bring about a friendly
Order your information with a clear and distinct typographic
hierarchy making information easy to scan.
Use a clean grid to maintain order and ensure proper
spacing is given to all typographic elements.
Consider a “natural” color palette to convey an honest and
Allow the background to remain neutral while hits of bold
colour bring content to life.
Play with the tones found in garden, and explore using them
in unique ways. We like how layering elements creates new
colors, and references the merging of components.
Using natural surfaces and a simple, yet strong color palette
will help imply you’re a responsible bunch.
We suggest sampling colors that are found in nature to
bring a wholesome feel to the ThoughtFarmer brand.
Explore the possibility of using a “rich” color palette to add a
level of sophistication.
Employ a clean typographic style with ample white space to
convey a sense of top-shelf elegance.
Consider using color systems and varying color groupings to
Be brave yet sensible with the placement of graphic
elements to show you’re a little different than the rest.
Group information in clearly ordered clusters that allows
users to easily scan different types of information.
Build a family of graphic elements that can be applied
across all materials to imply that you “get” systems.
Organize content into easy to digest blocks with healthy
amounts of leading and space between graphic elements.
Form and Use of Space
Explore production techniques like letterpress printing to
engage the sense of touch.
Apply treatments to type that mimic embossing, and
letterpress printing to differentiate headlines from content.
Consider using unique graphic elements to highlight
Use subtle shifts in tone to bring depth to the screen and
clearly indicate click-able areas.
Intentionally apply hand-made textures to backgrounds and
illustrations to create a warm and inviting feel.
Vary the visual depth between content areas to clearly
distinguish where content starts and ends.
Consider effects such as duotones that lend an illustrative
sensibility to the photographs in use.
Merge photographs into illustrative spaces in order to
visually integrate real people into the “ThoughtFarmer
Explore using stark, high contrast images, in order to
minimize any hokey, old-fashioned, farming clichés.
See what can be done by collaging varying forms, elements,
textures, and motion, to create a distinctive feel for your
Show people screen captures of your application in use, so,
they can really understand what you’re offering.
Avoid stock photos like the plague, and give us candid (even
awkward) images of real people we can actually believe in.
Photography (Content and Treatments)
Use naturally colored and textured stock to differentiate
your materials from the conventional materials used by
Consider applying depth to graphic elements that allow
them to appear as though they sit on top of the page.
Use textures that are familiar to help the user feel
comfortable and break away form some more staid software
Where possible, employ a slick, machined look to balance
any natural treatments and reflect your technological
Occasionally use textures to break up white space
throughout your website.
Visually elevate elements from others to bring interest to
the page and create separation.
Consider using simple shapes to build complex systems of
illustrations, in order to establish a unique style you can call
Use earthy textures to help illustrations stand out from
backgrounds and create a warm, natural feel.
Play with whimsical illustrative styles where applicable to
show that you are real and approachable.
Explore using illustrations that are flat and graphic. They will
never go out of style and won’t date your materials.
Use abstract geometric forms and compositions that lend
progressive, forward thinking associations.
Use simple illustrations to keep users engaged when
viewing charts and diagrams.
Consider taking a unique, illustrated approach to items like
buttons. Symbols and pictograms can be a great way to
convey information quickly.
Use color, texture, and depth to define actionable areas and
Apply unique background treatments to icons and buttons
to define click-able areas.
Use button treatments that clearly indicate to users where
they are and what they are doing.
Cluster information into groups and give users the tools
they need to access further information.
When navigating through layers of information, provide the
user with a clear wayfinding system that allows them to
move around the site with ease.