I think James at Column Two was right to quote this as a teaser for this article:
An Intranet is not a marketing vehicle for a product; it is the product. Without proper system promotion, users won't know about the existence of an Intranet or the true value of the content contained within it. And the time, money, and effort expended to build an Intranet is far too great to hope users will simply happen upon it by chance.
This is true, and I think Intranet promotion can take many forms- and widespread internal marketing campaigns can be dangerous because of the perception that... "it's just another attempt to force something down our throats".
The makes good points about "loud" vs. "quite" Intranet roll-outs. I'm personally a fan of the quiet or soft roll-out. I believe that people are skeptical of marketing these days and when it comes from inside the company, it's even more east to dismiss.
But, if a worker hears about a cool new feature on the Intranet from a co-worker, it suddenly has an attractiveness that cannot be related in a poster or brochure.
People want to feel like they are in-the-know and part of a privileged group that has "found" something others don't know about. This word-of-mouth approach can quickly build a core of devoted users who can expand the network without spreading skepticism.