Our Thinking

Building an internal brand: the Intranet Maturity Model

Marketers look to advertising campaigns, the web, a logo, and earned media to build their brands.  But these are all external: how might you do it within the organization?

One of the most important systems within an organization is the intranet.  While the external website is usually driven by marketing, the intranet is usually driven by the IT group.  And while many IT groups have refocused into a responsive client-service model, the brand and marketing aspects of the Intranet are not usually job one.  (Brand and marketing are reasonably trumped by security, privacy, functionality,  infrastructure, support, and uptime.)

One way of building a powerful intranet is to use our Intranet Maturity Model.  At each level, there is a certain purpose, but there is also a unique dimension of brand and marketing that can become activated:

Level One – Archive:  At this level, the Intranet functions as an archive:  an online version of a departmental policy book married to current organizational news.  There may also be basic legacy system access, or basic functionality.  The better Level One intranets are organized by target users’ needs, not by publishing department.  If people want to learn about marketing or brand – or see it via a common visual identity, a Level One site delivers.

Level Two – Process re-engineering:  At this level, the organization has used tools (such as Journey Mapping) to examine existing internal processes.  These processes are then improved and rebuilt, with the intranet exposing the data and functionality.  Information is collected, processed, and disseminated more effectively, improving the ability to execute the brand promise.

Level Three – Collaboration:  At this level, the Intranet isn’t just used as a data store or a tool to accomplish a task.  The intranet uses real-time “internal” social media to improve collaboration between people.  To start, it can be as simple as having the ability to comment on a page or “like” it.  A fully implemented Level Three intranet provides strategic competitive advantage.  Tools make it possible, but people make it happen.

This week’s action plan:  Referring to the Intranet Maturity Model, how well does your existing intranet rank within the three levels? Before heavily investing in “Collaboration” – Level Three, do you have a strong foundation (Level One and Level Two)?

Marketing Insight:  A Level Four Intranet recognizes the multiple relationships that truly differentiate an engaged organization (like social media platforms) – and extends collaboration through an Extranet and out from the organization to each key stakeholder group.