Naming your intranet is a process and it’s one that is integral to so many parts of your internal operations. Check out Part 1 in our intranet naming process that outlines why you need to name your intranet and strategies to get your started. Once you’ve used these strategies to build a baseline for your names and have brainstormed enough, how do you know what to actually settle on and what constitutes a good name?
Here are some best practices that have worked for many of our clients and they’ve judiciously shared their pointers to get you going.
First off, you’ll want to avoid names that are too long or too difficult to pronounce. If it’s a mouthful to say, no one is going to bother.
You also don’t want to be too obvious or generic. For an organization that deals with marine equipment, naming your intranet, “The Ocean” is far too broad and has no relevance to the brand and its values.
For a healthcare organization, Asclepius, the God of health and medicine, may seem like a smart name, but no one is going to casually rattle off that they are posting to "Asclepius." Shorter and easier names are generally better for long-term use and a recognizable identity.
One naming approach is to signify the goals or vision of your intranet. For this, you’ll want to go along with words like, “connect”, “hub”, “pulse”, “gateway”, “link”, “edge”, “buzz”, “my” or “circle”. The most impactful names have a personal touch, so get creative.
Drawing inspiration from internal cultural elements that already exist is a great place to start. You can also use your company's name or what it does for inspiration. For example, one of our clients, a retailer named Colorama's intranet is named "Inforama" The North Face store chain calls its intranet "Basecamp." Trip Advisor named its intranet "Passport." The opportunities here are endless and each of these examples has a clear connection with external brand identity.
Is there company-specific lingo or words that hold particular significance? Does your company have a mascot or character attached to it?
A company with "wave" in its name could label its intranet "The Harbor" or a startup that delivers groceries could call its intranet "The Pantry." These names fit into the existing iconography of the company and have the added benefit of reflecting the intranet's goals as well.
Businesses can also adopt characters that are relevant to their organization. Greek mythology can be a good place to draw from, assuming the name is easy to say (i.e. Athena or Atlas, not Asclepius), as can popular culture.
Acronyms are also an intelligent way to incorporate several different values or ideas or give a static identity to a set of actions. These are some examples from large companies, not franchised, but they serve as good examples. The Tussauds Group calls its intranet "Tiggle," which stands for "Tussauds Intranet Global Gateway Linking Everyone”. De Beers Forevermark calls its intranet, "Sparkle," which stands for "System Providing Access to Research Knowledge Learning & Education."
Also consider if you want a URL, an internet adress for your newly named Intranet. Then you need to keep an eye open for what’s available. We recommend you run a search with www.godaddy.com or www.nameisp.com to start with.
Graphical identity. If you go all-in you might also want to create a logo or graphical element for your Intranet. Hook it up with similarity to your regular Brand – or keep it completely unique.
How & Where to Direct the Naming Process
A great way to get your creative juices flowing is to go right for a name-generator such as Shopify’s name generator (http://www.shopify.com/tools/business-name-generator/), Wordroid (http://wordoid.com/) and Bust-A-Name (http://www.bustaname.com/)
Franchise leaders should also consider a couple of parameters about their brand’s value in order to use the naming process as an opportunity to dig deeper into other parts of a franchise’s identity. For example, in the naming and brainstorming process, you might consider your customer acquisition model: are you a primarily B2B or a B2C organization? Name equity will mean different things to stakeholders interacting with that brand, depending on which it is. And this gives you further insight into external identity which, inevitably, trickles down to internal identity.
When franchisors have zeroed in on a few possibilities, it’s time to “ask the audience” and gain some solid feedback using forms, surveys and/or questionnaires. Run an internal campaign for a week setting up links to this page within internal communications. At the end of the week, you can take a look at the stats to see which page performed better, all things being relatively equal.
Soliciting feedback from your organization will provide insight into the emotional responses your names provoke as well as cause you to reframe a few choices or even synthesize new options. Engagement in these manners from your audience promotes internal communication and really allows stakeholders to feel they have a hand in growing the organization from the ground up and will help drive adoption.
Once the actual naming process has been concluded, from brainstorming, researching, gaining feedback, testing and iteration, you’ll finally have arrived at the “real” campaign. As franchise leaders, you want to promote a seamless feel to the adoption of the new intranet and it’s identity, instead of pushing change (see our article on Change within A Franchise here).
The key to driving adoption of any new element within a franchise, regardless of size or age, is reinforcement. As such, you will need to ensure you’re consistently and frequently using the name during the launch, in documents, and in conversations around the office. While formal marketing materials and official franchise documents are of course the place for consistently driving a new intranet identity, informal internal communications are where the shifts really occur. Don't hold back from marketing the name, like you would a product or service. Marketing materials are an effective way to cultivate the attitude you want around the intranet and getting employees excited about using it. Make it a happening on your Franchise conference or have your field agents do regional kick-offs etc.
After going through the whole process of deploying an intranet, choosing the right system, and implementing it within your organization, don't let all that time and effort go to waste with an uninspired name. Take advantage of naming as an opportunity to promote the values that you think are important. Use the name as a tool to achieve your goals.
The truth is that the success of a franchise is only as strong as its external brand and it’s internal operations and identity. Think here of the Starbucks corporate culture internally that treats its franchisees and employees as “partners” and it’s customers as “guests”.
Never underestimate the power of a name.