Make Your Intranet a Success from the Very Start

All the effort & enthusiasm that goes into creating a successful intranet before it goes live will be done in vain without good user adoption. If your users aren’t pulled to your intranet from day one it doesn’t matter how good it is; it will never meet its objectives. For this reason the promotion of your intranet is as important as any part of the build.

Read on and discover how to make your intranet a success from the very start.

The best time to raise the profile of the intranet is right at the outset (you may even start planning during the buying, building, or software proof of concept stages). An intranet launch can take many forms, both large or small scale. Many of the ideas outlined here can be used in a coordinated approach during the intranet launch. This ‘big bang’ approach works best when the intranet is able to deliver on the high level of expectation generated.

Even a small launch can be effective in making staff aware that a new method of finding skills expertise and information is now available.

Instantly Engage People with Launch Videos

Teaser videos and launch videos instantly engage people. It makes it easy to watch and follow as well as giving an impression of being cutting edge, clicking play to watch a video is as simple if not simpler than using YouTube. Bauer Media made an excellent launch video to encourage both launch and sustained adoption.

The Launch

Romec launched their intranet with the opportunity to win a weekend away in New York. Remote workers were sent their log in details through the post on the back of a New York ‘Wish You Were Here’ postcard, the competition was advertised across over 2,500 sites and the message was consistent through cascaded communications and the company magazine.

They had 800 entrants with 1032 users viewing the competition. This is a phenomenal result given only 2,000 users can directly access the Intranet through company technology.

While your budget may not be so generous, a smaller incentive can be just as motivating.

Glasgow Housing Association branded internal launch emails in the Intranet style – they sent one a day for a week until launch day.


Superdrug chose to launch with a fold out poster promoting the benefits and ease of use of their intranet.


Don’t Just Name Your Intranet but Give It Character

We’ve seen an increase in the number of Intranets with a character. Glasgow Housing Association’s intranet Holmes has a Sherlock Holmes character who talks to customers and discussed users ideas.

Swagelok named their intranet after a long serving employee who was due to retire. He had been the ‘go to person’ for all queries so they decided to create their new intranet around him in tribute include a character called Knowlesy.


G4S had a life size version of their intranet image Hari walking around the office plus a host of competitions and gifts to raise awareness and excitement.

G4S Character

If you do name your intranet then it is a good idea to use it in all conversations and communications as early as possible. That way the brand (name) can be established.

Email links to intranet

A very effective marketing method is to replace email attachments in global emails with links to the relevant page on the intranet. In this way, the emails act as ‘push’ marketing of intranet resources. It also reduces the load on the email systems. This works well, for example, with news items and other announcements. Some education (intranet governance) is required to encourage email senders to reduce their reliance on attachments.

Build Excitement with Key Communications Tools

Internal communications or internal marketing teams are professionals who specialize in conveying targeted messages to the organisation. Use this group as a resource to promote the intranet, and to further increase usage.

“We launched Clubhouse in time with our Peak Season Christmas promotion. With all the communication regarding the promotion it created a huge pull to it, which really got staff engaged with the intranet from the off-set.”

Malcolm Payne, Management Information Manager, American Golf

Automatically loading homepage

Throughout the organisation, every browser should have its homepage set to the intranet. That way, when the browser is opened by the user, the intranet is immediately presented. Beyond this, some organisations have chosen to automatically launch the browser on login. This puts the intranet in front of users at the beginning of every day. Many of these organisations have found this approach to be very successful, particularly when the intranet homepage changes frequently, such as presenting news.

Displays in foyer

Posters or other displays in the main foyer of offices can attract the attention of staff arriving each morning. These should feature high-impact designs that can be easily read from a distance. Large format colour posters can be a practical way of achieving this.

As part of their launch strategy Bron Afon set up ‘Intranet Café’s’ where people could drop in during  their breaks or lunch and explore their new intranet, Buzz, with help at hand to answer questions and offer guidance.

Giving presentations

The visibility of the intranet must be maintained at every level of the organisation. For management and executive, presentations are typically the most effective way of communicating messages. These may cover the intranet at a high level, explain specific initiatives, or new functionality. Ensure these presentations are well-prepared and concise. Keep talking about the intranet, as often as you can, to as many people as possible.

Internal Documents

The intranet should be listed on all internal stationery, newsletters, in fact any internal printed material that provides information. In this way, the intranet is promoted as the primary source of information in the organisation. This ‘ever-present’ advertising can be quite effective over time.

Gimmicks and novelties

A wide range of promotional products have been used to increase awareness of the intranet.

These include:

  • Mouse mats
  • Stickers
  • Balloons
  • Masks
  • Lollies and other confectionary
  • T –shirts

G4S Cake

G4S’ celebratory cake

GHA Block

Glasgow Housing Association Headphones so staff could listen to the launch video

Merlin Employee

Merlin Highlighter

Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust named their intranet Merlin and used highlighters, and personalised playing cards

Whilst these can be effective, make sure you understand the culture of the organisation. Not all staff may appreciate such gimmicks.

Intranet Treasure Hunt

Another way to get your new users to tour your intranet is to run an intranet treasure hunt competition. Users follow a series of clues around your intranet, in the process familiarising themselves with the content available to them.