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Trafcom News Podcast 119: The use of archetypes in intranets

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Gordon Ross

Gordon Ross

Following close on the heels of Trafcom News Podcast 118, which was an interview with Jarrod Gingras about successful enterprise collaboration, comes this chat with Gordon Ross. When I met Gordon at the IntraTeam Event in Copenhagen, I was intrigued by his workshop on archetypes for intranets. Since Gordon’s topic meshes so nicely with Jarrod’s, I’m publishing them rather close together. [Note: The first speaker I interviewed from the IntraTeam Event was Paolo Tosolini, on enterprise social video.]

The interview with Gordon explains the use of archetypes in internal communications, and the benefits of taking the time to do this work up front. Gordon is a vice president and a partner at Open Road, a company in British Columbia that designs and develops websites and custom Web applications. He has worked on some interesting projects recently, including a customer portal for BC Hydro, Web strategy for the City of Vancouver, the redesign of Mountain Equipment Coop’s e-commerce website, and many others. Gordon provides strategic input for Open Road’s well-respected social intranet product, Thought Farmer.

Here are the show notes:

00:01 Introduction and welcome; about Gordon Ross, Open Road and Thought Farmer

01:30 Interview with Gordon Ross includes:

  • Definition of archetypes as “a typical example of a person or a thing”
  • An archetype is not a stereotype, but rather describes characters we recognize in the corporate world.
  • An archetype differs from audience segmentation.
  • The “average” user is not of interest; Gordon shares an excellent example of two males born in 1948 in Great Britain, married, successful …
  • Why archetypes? Consensus building; common focus gives us insights into the audience.
  • Personas are more functional, while archetypes are more related to the culture of an organization.
  • A walk through the process of developing archetypes.
  • Examples of negative consequences of not doing archetype work up front; the danger of self-referential design.

17:25 Where to send comments; email donna at trafcom dot com or comment here on the show blog.

Helpful links from Gordon Ross:

Theme music for Trafcom News Podcast is “Beneath Your Surface” by the Elisabeth Lohninger Quartet from Music Alley.

About Donna Papacosta

Writer, speaker, podcaster, communications and social media consultant, content marketer and curator. As a consultant, I emphasize the importance of storytelling and relationship-building, and enjoy helping people understand how today’s technology, combined with tried-and-true tactics, can help them communicate better with employees, customers and prospects. In other words: Share your story, build your business.

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