A few thoughts from Carly Murray, Communications Director at The Surgery, a creative comms agency.
It all started with a LinkedIn post. I dared to share what I thought I was brilliant at. And it went down like a storm. You see I’m an IC professional and judging by the comments from other IC pros congratulating me for being so bold, it’s not something we do often enough.
Then there was a comment from Phil, the founder of Ripple, saying he wanted to be my friend. A bit weird? On another platform maybe, but on LinkedIn, my response is nearly always ‘consider us friends’. It turns out Phil wanted to get inside the head of an IC pro, to find out what we do, how we do it and what makes us tick.
I was more than happy to jump on a call with Phil and tip out the contents of my head. This is something Phil is still trying to get used to - just how approachable and open the IC community is. We’re always willing to share our thoughts as we’re used to being in that headspace of wanting to help to create something better.
Phil told me that Ripple had been building intranets for some time, but they’d been doing it for IT people. My immediate response was ‘IT people don’t give a shit about intranets – it’s the IC people who care, they’re the ones you need to be talking to!’
Okay, Okay, Let’s take a breath. If you’re an IT person who does give a shit about intranets, I’m sorry. I know it’s a huge generalisation. I can only go on my previous experience. You’re unlikely to get the value of internal communications, but don’t worry, lots of other people don’t either. And, of course, you’re working on the next big IT thing that’s going to transform your business. You’re delivering award-winning stuff for external customers, so it’s no wonder you don’t have time to give a shit about an intranet! We can still be friends though right?
I digress. IC pros need an intranet that works brilliantly, as part of a suite of other channels, so we can reach and engage with our audience. If it works brilliantly, it frees us up time to work on the more strategic and important stuff. Stuff like coaching leaders on how to better to connect with their people, amplifying the voices of our people and joining the dots between what they do day-to-day and what the business is striving for, otherwise known as the big picture.
From my first conversation with Phil, I recall him saying ‘I had no idea’ a lot as I described everything that IC pros get involved with, work on and deliver for a business. He’d also been working under the misapprehension that an intranet was one of the most important things for the IC community. He now realises that it’s just one part of our channel strategy that allows us to do a great job.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Phil was using the call to check out my credibility with a view to asking me to become an advisor to their business. Of course, I’d love to, I said, particularly as it gave me the chance to pick exactly what I would want for a new intranet.
This was my must have shopping list;
- A campaign planner/dashboard – so I could ditch the Excel spreadsheet
- A really simple and straight-forward way of creating content – critical if you want content owners across the business to take ownership – it won’t happen if they need 10 hours training to learn how to do it
- A homepage design that you could easily reconfigure yourself, without IT support, in less than 30 minutes
- A campaign measurement dashboard – so you can give your stakeholders a real-time view of how well a campaign is performing or not, based on engagement and outcomes, not just clicks and views
Within weeks the Ripple team had built my dream intranet, and we were ready to demo the new product to a wider IC community. It was a nerve-wracking moment for me. Was what I said I wanted representative of my peers or had I led Ripple up the garden path?
Thankfully I wasn’t far off the mark. Since holding multiple demo sessions, Ripple has been working to refine and enhance the product, while keeping it simple and straight forward to use. Adding a ‘crisis mode’ button for example, is as a direct result of feedback from the IC community.
Seeing a new product develop and one that I know is going to help my own community, has been a really fulfilling experience. Ripple’s new intranet product stands out because it’s genuinely been built for people like me who are passionate about internal communications – I’ve seen it for myself, so I know it to be true!