resources. sequel presents.

21 July 2015

How we met Arthur from ACCA

Around 15 years ago, it seemed as though most aspic get-togethers began with attendees saying: “My intranet is horrible – what can we do about it?”


Now, the question is more likely to be: “My intranet is doing ok, but it’s running out of steam… how can we go from ‘good’ to ‘great’?”


So our latest session, held at The Soho Hotel in mid-July, focused on how to stop your intranet ‘flatlining’.


Sometimes – whether because of costs or technical issues – it’s just not possible to set up your dream intranet. So how can you make the most of what you have?


Sequel Group’s Digital Director Charles Fenoughty began by outlining what employees actually want from their intranet. “Research shows,” he said, “that people want tools and practical things to help them do their jobs every day.”


And attendees had evidence of this as Sarah Moffatt, Internal Communications – Channel Manager for ACCA, told the story of her organisation’s social intranet, named Arthur.


“We named our intranet after our first President,” she explained. “The name and personality reinforce the messages about where we’ve come from, and create an emotional attachment to the site.


“It’s a serious tool to help people in their day-to-day work and it’s been great for us to hear people saying things like ‘you can find that on Arthur’ rather than ‘you can find that on the intranet’. This helps to continue the integration of the brand and the tool as well.”


Arthur is positioned as the one source of information for employees at ACCA, and that’s reinforced by the fact that nearly every news alert contains a link to the site.


Another way of keeping momentum going is giving people who attend a training session or come up with a new idea an Arthur badge. Sarah said: “It’s amazing how many people want a badge! Ideas come from everywhere. Most people stick the badges on their computer, which promotes the brand and is a great conversation starter.”


Arthur is now in his third year, and his first two birthdays have provided opportunities to get people talking – and have some fun too.


Sarah explained: “For instance, on Arthur’s first birthday we changed the homepage banner and profiled different features and benefits in the top carousel. This highlighted how you can use the intranet in your everyday work.


“And one of the things we did on his second birthday was play around with the profile pictures. Where people haven’t added a picture to their profile, you see a cartoon placeholder image of a generic face. Arthur has a moustache, so we added moustaches to those placeholder pics, showing you can have some fun as well.”


Charles wrapped up the session by sharing a range of tips to keep an intranet fresh. Here’s a round-up of our favourites:


  • Vary the pace. Every room has a different personality, and so should different areas of your intranet. Use news and feature templates of varying lengths – this will present content in ways that match the different speeds at which readers will sprint, jog or walk through the site
  • Empower your people. Something as simple as giving colleagues the freedom to choose their own quick links on the homepage can be a huge time saver
  • Fake it until you can make it. If you don’t have blog functionality, write a news story as if it’s a blog. And if you don’t have social tools, use Survey Monkey or Polldaddy to create a short poll and embed that into your site
  • Theme the homepage. For special occasions you can make every piece of homepage content fit a particular theme, such as your annual results. There’s a big wow factor and it gets people talking
  • There are lots of free or cheap content generators with an embed function (try Animoto) and you can easily copy this content into your site.


Our next aspic seminar will be held in the autumn. If you’d like to find out more please email