Since going fully distributed in April of 2020, a group of Intercom employees has been using mmhmm to help with everything from recruitment videos to more creative team All Hands. Teams are harnessing the power of mmhmm to stay more engaged with one another—and their clients—from afar, with quantifiable recruitment results.
"With mmhmm, it becomes a memorable discussion, something you want to participate in, even though what you’re doing is simple stuff."
Group Product Manager, Intercom
Founded in 2011, Intercom is a software company that provides an all-in-one communications platform with next-generation solutions for sales, marketing and support teams to convert prospects into paying customers, engage customers throughout their journey, and provide world-class support. With more than 1,000 employees across six locations (in Dublin, London, Chicago, San Francisco, and Sydney), Intercom delivers unparalleled user experiences at any scale and is used by more than 25,000 organizations, including Amazon and Lyft Business.
Forging a new path for a newly distributed team
Dublin-based Mathew Cropper was visiting Intercom’s San Francisco headquarters in March of 2020, the week that everything began to shut down. Cropper, a Group Product Manager for Intercom, had been spending his time imagining what the future of business messaging might be. Days after his return to Dublin, Cropper suddenly found himself forced into that future when Intercom shut down its offices and went fully remote.
Right away, Cropper knew that hours of Zoom meetings weren’t going to cut it. He could see the virtual meeting fatigue all over people’s faces. Just as he was pondering how to inject more personality into his presentations to help people focus on the content, mmhmm popped up on his timeline.
“I do a fair bit of presenting internally in the company to drive excitement and rally the troops, and I also spend a lot of time talking to customers demoing the products my teams work on,” Cropper says. “And mmhmm was just so much more engaging. You always get an enthusiastic reaction—like when all of a sudden a mobile phone pops up on the screen and I'm still there and my avatar starts moving around. It just gets a very different reaction."
The challenge: Breathing life into virtual all-hands meetings
The timing couldn’t have been better. Though Cropper found mmhmm just a few months into the pandemic, he had already been thinking a lot about how to hold his team’s attention during his All Hands presentations. He described mmhmm as the “camera app that makes me look cool,” and he found it easy-to-use, yet packed with features.
“When you’re live demoing, it’s so much better to have full-screen slides, text, images, that kind of thing,” Cropper says. He began to get really creative, using mmhmm as a tool for scene-setting and metaphor-casting; he hid inside company avatars, created Indiana Jones themes, and even moved himself around trying to find the X on a treasure map.
“I’m a huge fan, normally, of meeting in person,” Cropper says. “I get my energy from the people I’m with. All of those cues you get in person, I can’t replicate them, but I can do things in a different way with mmhmm where I’m more energized. I can move my head around, change my background, fly across the screen.”
Intercom’s Chief Product Officer, Paul Adams, also used mmhmm to liven the company’s end-of-the-year review. “Pre-pandemic this used to be in-person in each office, and it was intentionally a very fun, very funny occasion,” Cropper says. “Fancy dress was the standard. For our last end of year review, Paul dressed up as a news anchor and used mmhmm to make it much more visually engaging.”
Cropper says that while presenting with mmhmm is not an exact substitute for being in person, it provides more feedback than a plain Zoom or Google Meet call. “With mmhmm, it becomes a memorable discussion, something you want to participate in, even though what you’re doing is simple stuff,” he says. “I think that’s really important. You’re achieving a load of value and you’re energizing others and yourself while you do it.”
The solution: Energizing presentations with personality
Cropper found it easy to employ mmhmm in an intentionally playful way as he communicates and collaborates with colleagues. He says he’s “always been the class clown,” and people began guessing how exactly Cropper would liven things up whenever he presented.
Soon Cropper saw mmhmm’s potential as a communication tool externally, too—both for developing product demos as well as recruitment videos. He was already live demoing for customers using his phone, but mmhmm enabled him to throw the view of his phone onto the screen and appear in front of or alongside his demo. (He likes to move his face around the screen instead of using a pointer.) He realized he was holding people’s attention far longer, and getting them to focus on key details and points up close.
He then applied his learnings from All Hands presentations and product demoing to external recruitment calls. He used video overlays as he talked about the makeup of his team, infusing the calls with more personality.
More engaging videos = Huge response rate
Cropper says that when he posted mmhmm-built recruitment videos on LinkedIn, the result was clearly positive. In fact, they’ve seen a 350% increase in inbound applications. And anecdotally, the livelier recordings seem to drum up more interest from some of their more passive candidates as well.
“The amount of people who got in touch after those videos?” he says. “They loved it. We got a huge response rate from those.”
💡 mmhmm super user tip
"16:9 transparent PNGs have been my best friend when presenting using mmhmm. That lets me create entire scenes as overlays when I add them to mmhmm as slides," says Cropper. "For example, we like our weekly Show & Tell emcees to have a bit of a gimmick, and I used a transparent PNG in mmhmm to create a shopping channel-like overlay. You can, of course, do this for more serious stuff, like showing off your product as well."