Snapdocs turned to mmhmm to host their third annual Duckies Awards in February 2022. They wanted to capture the spirit of celebration shared at their usual Lake Tahoe venue despite being unable to get their team together in-person. With the help of mmhmm’s Creative Services team, Snapdocs delivered an engaging production, including personalized backgrounds, a red carpet, and lots of (digital) confetti.
Snapdocs was founded in 2012 by Aaron King, a young entrepreneur who started working in the mortgage industry when he was a senior in high school. He obtained his notary license at 18 and founded a nationwide notary signing service when he was 21. A few years later, King launched Snapdocs, a technology company that powers digital loan closings, automates tasks for lenders, and curates a database of more than 80,000 notaries and real estate attorneys. Today, Snapdocs helps facilitate more than 100,000 real estate closings per month.
Business thrives during the pandemic
Snapdocs was on the verge of opening a second office in the Denver area when the pandemic hit. Those plans were put on ice, and everyone at the Bay Area headquarters pivoted to working from home. The teams adapted quickly to the new reality—Zoom calls, pandemic puppies, commutes to the coffeemaker—and business thrived. More people than ever clamored for virtual mortgage closings. As demand soared, so did the number of employees, from 110 in 2020 to more than 540 today.
“The pandemic really accelerated the business,” says Michele Vlcek, Snapdocs manager of internal communications.
With that growth, the company’s annual awards show The Duckies became more important than ever as teams looked to build their culture—often among colleagues who had never met in person—and recognize their accomplishments. For all you fans of The Office, The Duckies name is a nod to The Dundees, as well as a reference to a moment when an employee famously slipped up and called the company Snapducks.
“Using mmhmm gave the trick of feeling like we're together in the same place.”
Snapdocs manager of internal communications
The challenge: Putting on an exciting live event over video
The first Duckies took place in early 2020, in-person in Lake Tahoe, CA, before the pandemic had set in. The following year, Snapdocs tried to host The Duckies on Zoom out of necessity. The team found it difficult to deliver crucial company recognitions with the same level of fanfare and focus they had achieved with the in-person event.
By the time planning had begun for the 2022 Duckies, Vlcek knew that the fully distributed and growing workforce would not be able to get together in person for the event. Snapdocs needed a better platform to create a more engaging experience. “The production quality could have been better. We wanted to make it more engaging and level it up visually,” Vlcek says.
The solution: Develop a custom event with mmhmm
When a colleague showed Vlcek mmhmm, she knew immediately that it would be the perfect tool for The Duckies. The hour-long awards show is filled with skits and inside humor—Vlcek describes it as “cute, cheesy, full of dad jokes”—with roughly 300 people watching live as the show’s hosts hands out one award for each of six operating principles: pragmatism, innovation, empathy, authenticity, teamwork, and being results-oriented.
Vlcek spent two months meeting weekly with mmhmm to develop personalized Duckies-themed virtual rooms and hold employee training sessions to get the presenters up to speed. And because they used mmhmm, Snapdocs was able to present the show live using mostly prerecorded video, and then share it in the company water cooler Slack channel so anyone could watch it later.
“We were looking for an Oscars feel using our brand colors and designs,” Vlcek says. “Having mmhmm do the designs was helpful, and they sent us tips and tricks for the actual recordings that we could pass along to our teams. We also sent them a rough cut of some practice we did, and they gave us some additional feedback, which was super helpful.”
💡 mmhmm super user tip
“Make sure you have strong WiFi,” Vlcek says. “And the one thing that I said repetitively to other people when we were using [mmhmm for web] was to click the button that expands the whole screen. It just makes the production quality look cleaner.”
High participation = engaged employees
The 2022 Duckies powered by mmhmm had roughly two dozen participants giving and receiving awards, plus 300 live viewers and 50 asynchronous views. That’s two-thirds of their total workforce engaging either synchronously or asynchronously, well above the participation levels they saw via Zoom in 2021.
“Using mmhmm gave the trick of feeling like we're together in the same place, and it allowed two people to present, which also sort of took the pressure off,” Vlcek says. “A lot of our folks don't like public speaking, so it was nice having two people to riff and have a little skit. And I think it's more meaningful, especially to the person who ends up winning, because you have two people saying something really nice about your work and accomplishments.”
Now that employees have used mmhmm for the awards show, they’re beginning to use it elsewhere in the company. Some members of the product team use mmhmm to give more effective presentations during team meetings, and the sales team is exploring using mmhmm during its week-long sales kickoff to help team members refine and practice their pitches.