In these modern times getting people to use your intranet is not about software although it’s a good enabler. It’s not about tricking people also known as design for evil, or promising content. Its about good content. Is that it you say? People have been going on about that for years. Engaging intranet content is king people say and you must have an intranet content strategy. All of these are true, but to really understand how to trigger the emotional response you need to go a little deeper.

Don’t forget we are all animals. Don’t think Neanderthal, just consider at a basic level we all have triggers. The three main emotional triggers are Food, Sex and Danger. These inbuilt desires that affect our behaviour and attitude. To survive we need to eat and drink and at certain times of the day based on our body clocks we are told we are hungry and we naturally start craving nourishment. Food captures ‘attention’.

Danger is an extremely powerful emotion. The drive to keep us safe and avoid dangerous situations affects us all. The meerkat is extremely good at sensing danger and when he looks at danger others notice…… Finally the desire to reproduce is another basic trigger, the need to continue is fundamental.

So how does this relate to Intranets, it’s all very interesting in theory…

Well I don’t think you can build a layout or wireframe if you don’t understand these factors. In fact you don’t even know what people will react to unless you understand the basics of emotion. You shouldn’t write an article or message before you consider the actions you want people to take. Your message should guide people to your call to action, clearly and concisely. Why should your colleagues spend time reading your message, what emotional need are you fulfilling?

The nearest you may experience of an emotional connection is showing people a branded version of your intranet. As we all know this elicits some strong feelings and emotions in people. But again it goes deeper. What if the actual colours you use were shown to affect people’s emotions not just the rounded edges, drop shadows, white space, fonts and images?

Well here are a few simple things to consider…

1, Consider the timing of your intranet content, will it be affected by any other events or emotions? Trigger news or feeds that can be stimulated by food at certain times of the day. Canteen menus will be popular at certain times.

2, Can you drive people to get involved by highlighting not necessarily dangerous situations, although powerful for daily safety messages and other H&S related activities like fire alarms etc, but what about the danger of not knowing. What is likely to happen if I don’t read on, or am I missing out? Will I ever get home what’s the traffic like at the moment?

3, Triggering people to take action via a strong belief is an amazing intranet engagement tool. Pictures of real people being helped by a scheme or person at your business is very strong indeed. Getting behind something that people believe in. One CEO told me he offered money to a local charity to get people to update their information on their intranet, 96% of people did this in the first week. This is a short term trick without continual stimulation (how long can he keep doing this), a long term goal would be to turn some of that emotion into value.

I hope you found this useful. Emotion is an important factor in keeping people engaged and to some level returning, but adding value is also about influence. In my next blog I will explore the 6 principles of influence and how this directly links to getting others to notice and increase the value of your intranet and indirectly your role in the business.

If you are looking for ways to engage your intranet audience I am delivering a workshop in October, teaching the principles of making great content and showing how to access simple and reasonable tools to help you keep your content sparkly fresh. For further details, click here. If you are not sure what the best way forward is, why not book a 30 minute consultation where we can discuss your intranet related challenges.

About us:

Reviewing your intranet can be a daunting process, we’re here to help. We’ve experienced hundreds of intranets of all shapes and sizes and are skilled at helping uncover opportunities to improve the “want” and business processes. Our sister company SORCE intranet are software providers, so together we provide complete end to end solutions for a range of clients from finance to manufacturing, not for profit organisations (such as charities and housing associations) as well as local authorities and other public sector agencies.

If you would like to find out more about our training and consultancy services or software please get in touch.