Just like parents sometimes make questionable choices in regard to their baby’s name (think “X Æ A-12”), project teams can also miss the mark in naming their new intranet (think “the Intranet”). This article will help you pick out the best possible name for your new baby intranet – and nail this crucial step in your change management track.
1. Be clear about your goal
Before starting to think about names, you have to be clear about what your strategic stakes are.
- Do you want this new intranet to appear as a continuity of your previous one, as a marker of stability? => Explore declinations of your previous intranet’s name or keep the same name with a slight visual revamp.
- Does the launch of your new intranet go hand in hand with a change in company culture? => Make this change tangible in your choice of name
- Do you want to breathe new digital life into your communication system? => Opt for a dynamic name, symbolic of this 0.2 era (no, not “X Æ A-12”).
2. Create a setting that is conducive of creativity
Creativity happens through building on each other’s crazy ideas, so get more than one brain around the table. The members of your intranet project team are an obvious choice, but this might be an opportunity to get stakeholders from other teams onboard: involve your main IT, HR, Facility and business SPOCs in your brainstorming. They’ll become advocates of an intranet they have helped to name. And you’ll get some fresh perspectives from them!
To make collaborative brainstorming possible, enforce a few rules :
- Never Say No: just build upon the creative madness, you’ll bring reason into the mix later on.
- Safe Space: There are no bad ideas. And even if there were, they will not be shared outside the room.
- Fire Away: Be quick, don’t think about stuff, just think out loud
Though it is not a necessity, it helps to have your brainstorming in informal surroundings. Leave the fixed structure of work behind and chat around a beer.
3. Build on company culture
One of the aspects you may want to consider when brainstorming is company culture. Every company has a specific identity, vocabulary and history, in which you may dig to find a name or the inspiration for one.
Is there a private joke most of the company gets? A defining moment in the last few years? Some specific word or expression that is clear as water to your employees but is unintelligible to the rest of the world?
Similarly, think of your company’s values, vision, and mission – What trend hides behind them, and what recurring theme?
Make sure your chosen intranet name resonates with all your employees, cross country and throughout all used languages.
4. Build on company specificity
Another source of ideas is your core business. Write down any words related to what it is that your company and your employees do. This is an interesting avenue because choosing an intranet name that pertains to your core business demonstrates very clearly that your intranet is not just about communication: it is aligned with your business goals and enables your employees to reach them.
5. Keep it short and sweet
You don’t want your intranet’s name to be a mouthful. If it is, either your employees will end up calling it the intranet, or they’ll shorten it – possibly with dubious results.
To test the name’s ease of use, try saying it out loud five times in a row. Try using it in conversations with the other members of the project team. Try saying it in a very low voice. Try saying it in a ridiculously high-pitched voice. Try saying it standing upside down. Yes, I’m just messing with you with that last part.
6. Check if it’s safe to use
The internet can be a dark place, and you want to make sure that only politically correct things come up if your employees type the name of your new intranet on Google… So do the test yourself before communicating it more broadly – if only to make sure that no rival company has already had the same brilliant idea as you.
7. Give your employees a voice
Just like it is useful to ask your main stakeholders for input, it helps with change management to implicate your employees in the choice. If you hesitate between three to five potential intranet names, submit them to a company-wide vote. Before doing so, make sure your top management is on board with any and all of these options and get their agreement in writing. Having them overrule the employees’ choice will generate heaps of frustration and condemn your intranet before it is even born.
Another option is to ask your employees to submit names for the intranet. The employee who recommends the name that ends up being used is of course to be duly rewarded.
8. Make it visual
Once you have a name, you’ll have to show it on the intranet – so you’d best make it visually appealing! This is easier when a visual metaphor is hiding behind your name. So if you hesitate behind several options, it might help to assess which one is most likely to translate well as an image.
Example: The Bridge
If all this seems a bit daunting, remember thousands of parents name their children (more or less) successfully each year. No doubt you’ll find the right fit for your darling intranet!
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