Visual components within your design should align with the company or organisational brand but not copy it. Perhaps there is a graphic component, font, colour or shape that is recognisable as part of your corporate identity. This can be used within your Intranet branding. However there should be no risk that an employee can be confused whether they are viewing the Intranet or the external web site.
Your branding should carry on through the entire site. Have standard page designs and style sheets throughout. Use a specific colour palette across the site. Maintain a standard site structure and navigation. Some business sections will want to create their own identity and be seen as individual but you will need manage this and find a way to provide them with some uniqueness while at the same time maintaining the look and feel of the rest Intranet (this can be difficult but can be done).
A successful Intranet brand will:
- Help engage employees and build trust in the Intranet
- Become synonymous with accurate and timely delivery of information (this is a big ask and will take a lot of effort but is an achievable goal)
- Be instantly recognisable
The following example is from an Intranet I managed about 5 years ago called "The Lounge".
The colour palette used was the same as that used in our Corporate Logo. This helped align the site to the organisation without having to have the actual company logo on display. The branding imagery was contemporary and funky without being viewed as inappropriate for the business.
We successfully used cross promotion in other communication channels across the organisation. For example, within printed newsletters, articles would include a line at the end " for more on this story visit The Lounge". On promotional posters where there is usually limited space for great detail the tag "Visit The Lounge for more details" was used to drive people to the intranet for further information.
The Lounge site was a great success and received strong support by the company leadership who were able to recognise its value for staff engagement and its eventual position as the primary communication channel.
As the Intranet Manager of this site I got a great sense of satisfaction when I would overhear conversions like:
Did you read about the new travel policy on The Lounge this morning?
Q. Where can I find the Leave Policy?
A. Its on The Lounge
Many may disagree with my thinking but I maintain that a strong Intranet Brand plays an essential part in making your Intranet a success.