4 Ways to Improve How You Look on Zoom

Let’s get you Zoomed Up the Happily way!

We cover the essential upgrades you need to be looking your absolute shining best on Zoom no matter how much you are looking to spend.

Whether you are in a business meeting, speaking at a virtual event, or just having a social chat, leveling up your digital presence in Zoom is always a power move.

Internet

A fast internet connection for high video quality is essential. To check your speed visit www.speedtest.net and run the test. It will give you two metrics; your download and your upload speed, in that order. In this case, what you need to focus on is your upload speed. 5Mbps is the absolute minimum for a video stream, and of course, the higher your upload speed the better.

Audio

We would argue that a smooth audio stream is the most important on a Zoom call, so if your internet upload is below 5Mbps (as mentioned above) just disable your video and keep all that upload for the audio.

1. Control your environment and make sure that you are signing into a Zoom call in the most quiet space possible.

2. Buy an external usb microphone to dramatically improve your sound quality. There will be a mic out there for all budgets, and even a basic one for as little as $30USD will be a huge improvement. If you are looking to level up your digital presence, we recommend an external mic as the first step.

Lighting

In this era of selfies, we have all come to understand the importance of ‘good lighting’ and how it can change how we look through the camera lens. If you are not looking to upgrade to an external camera, as we will come to below, by giving some attention to how you are lit you are sure to see some good results.

1. Natural lighting is always useful and a wonderful source, just as long as it is actually lighting you (the subject). This may mean you will have to move your desk or space so the window is in front of you and natural light is falling on you. If you are trying to light yourself with just natural lighting, don’t put the source behind you.

2. Use external key lighting to light your face. We know that ‘ring lights’ have become popular, but we recommend just any desk lamp or standing lamp that will provide a diffused, even light source across your face. You will have to experiment with the position of the lamp, but at an angle, above and slightly to the side is always a good start. You don’t want any dramatic or unflattering shadows across your face.

3. Use external accent lighting to light your background. This is an extra if you really want to get serious about how you look on Zoom. Using a smaller or softer light to illuminate your background will provide depth, create a warmer environment, eliminate any harsh contrast between the foreground and the background, and really allow your face to shine.

Lighting Zoom GIF

Camera

If you are not looking to buy an external camera, it is worth checking your Zoom and computer settings to ensure that your in-built computer camera is working at the best to its ability.

1. Check the camera settings on computer / laptop, and depending on what you have you may be able to adjust the quality

2. In Zoom follow zoom.us > Preferences > Video and make sure that the HD is ticked, and you can also use the ‘Touch up my appearance’ function, as well as the ‘Adjust for low light’

3. The ultimate upgrade is using an external camera or webcam. Zoom makes it really easy to change the ‘video source’ at any time. Just like with the microphones, there is a range of price points that you can find for external cameras, and in the end, even the cheaper ones will make a huge difference compared to your in-built computer camera. If you really want to upgrade your digital presence like an absolute pro, in the tutorial above, Sarah Shewey, our Founder and CEO, details the exact products, camera and whole set up that she uses everyday, all day for Zoom.

Camera Zoom GIF

May 13, 2021

AAPI Heritage Month + Podcasting with Janet Lee

Janet Lee drops in to chat about what it is like to work in podcasting, the Asian-American experience for women in the corporate world, and how it is okay to chase happiness over status.

Generally speaking I’ve always gravitated to organizations and nonprofits with a really strong mission. I kind of found that out from a very young age, like in college, that I wanted to do something that was going to make the world less stupid and more empathetic.

Janet Lee, Senior Production Manager, VICE Audio at VICE Media

This Janet Lee is not like other Janet Lees

She has spent over a decade in digital media with a proven track record of developing, producing, and launching high-profile, editorial programs including TED Radio Hour on NPR, WorkLife with Adam Grant and Sincerely, X.

After 7 years with TED Conferences working her way up into different roles, Janet has now found herself in the world of podcast production. She was at Patreon as the Creator Partnerships Lead, and now is currently the Senior Production Manager at VICE. So, Janet knows a thing or two about what makes a successful podcast.

Listen to Janet on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for some fast takeaways.

The power of audio content

  • Audio feels intimate and the connections that listeners have to podcasts are deep
  • There is much opportunity for in-depth storytelling, as there are no rules of duration with a podcast
  • Producing an audio piece can be low-cost compared to a video medium, however, a polished, high-quality and professional podcast show still requires more energy, funds and preparation than most of us realise

Some quick economic stats about Asian American women in the US

Employment rates

Asian women reached a 20-year high of 4,827,000 in Sept 2019, however, dropped nearly 17% (that’s a loss of 787,000 jobs) due to the pandemic. This is compared to employment dropping 15% for women and 12% for men in general across America. Asian women's employment has been on the rise in the past 20 years, on par with population growth Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress

Earnings

1.4 million AAPI women in 2019 earned below $15 an hour. It is worth noting that there are wide differences of common occupations among AAPI subpopulations, driven by differences in culture, immigration patterns, generational wealth, and continual prejudices around gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, and language. AAPI women's median annual earnings vary widely by subpopulation Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress

Gender wage gap

AAPI women working full time, year-round earned 85c for every $1 given to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts in 2019. The gender wage gap varies greatly, with wider gaps for many subpopulations of AAPI women Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress

Unemployment rates due to the pandemic

44% of Asian women over 16yrs who lost their jobs during the pandemic were out of work for at least 6 months as of December 2020. For Asian women 20+ yrs, the unemployment rate in 2020 jumped from 3% in Feb to 16.4% in May. As of Jan 2021 the unemployment rate for Asian women is 7.9%, compared to 5.2% of white women. Unemployment has skyrocketed among women during the coronavirus crisis—and women, particularly women of color, continue to struggle Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress

Are you looking for some new podcasts?

Here are links to resources and podcasts mentioned in this Happily Live:

May 12, 2021

4 Basics for Engagement in a Virtual Summit

As we post this it is Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, and after months of social isolation due to the pandemic, we all know the importance of connection with others.

High engagement in a digital space does not just happen by accident.

It needs to be intentional and thoroughly thought over in order to craft a virtual event that will give attendees all they need to feel engaged with your content, and to feel connected to the experience of the event.

4 Basics for Engagement in a Virtual Summit Image

We have some basic notes and advice in order to lay the foundation for strong engagement during a virtual event.

1. Have a clear understanding of how to measure engagement

Engagement success can mean a lot of different things to people when it comes to virtual events. It can be the amount of comments people write, the amount of shares of a link, the amount of people that tuned in, or the average duration of the event that people stuck around to watch. If you ask us, the latter is the most important; how long a person stays to watch a virtual event is the most meaningful engagement metric.

Think about it, if a person is watching a virtual event in their home, and they are not enjoying it, there is little stopping them from just shutting the tab and moving on with their day. If you have convinced your attendees to stick around to watch your virtual event, you have already successfully engaged them.

Pro tip: We have put together a really handy tool for calculating the ROI for a virtual event that you might find helpful.

Summary: Holding someone’s attention is the ultimate engagement success.

2. Build an event program that is worth sticking around for

Scripting an event is something we always do with our Happily virtual events. Looking at the whole event as a story, and storyboarding it as such, will allow you to craft those engaging moments for your audience and to build momentum, with the goal of keeping people watching for longer.

Once you have a detailed ROS (run of show) you can look at it, and identify moments you anticipate that the energy will drop, or people’s attention might drift, and edit the program accordingly. You want your attendees to feel like the event is constantly moving forward, and that there is so much more good stuff to come. It may not always matter how notable a guest speaker might be, the event around them needs to be packaged and teed up properly.

Summary: An event program needs to hold someone’s attention at every turn, just like a talk show.

3. Seat shadows to moderate and get the conversation going

Most of the time, no one wants to write the first comment in an empty chat box. So it is always a good idea to have people dedicated to adding comments and building some chatter in that space. This could be as simple as asking some of your staff members to create that energy in the chat, to add emojis, to make a basic comment, or agree with other people’s comments. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated sentences or questions. Most people will feel more comfortable contributing in the chat if they see other people doing it first.

Summary: Someone needs to be the one to break the ice and start the conversation.

4. Use a familiar platform that people already know how to engage with

Finding the right platform that people feel comfortable with talking in, commenting in and engaging in is really important. A digital space that is familiar and comforting to an attendee will naturally allow them to feel more confident to engage and chat, it’s that feeling of ‘I know how this works’. Which is why at Happily we utilize Zoom more than any other platform.

Summary: People will find it easier to engage in a way that is already familiar to them.

May 11, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Felecia Fierro

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.


The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Felecia Fierro

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Tracy, California

Happily Role/s: Production Assistant and Backstage Manager


Freelancer Felecia Fierro Blog Image

Images via Instagram @feleciafierro

Hey there! Have you met Felecia?

She is a performance-driven, tech-savy, passionate events professional with over 14 years experience. From trade shows to executive retreats and weddings to galas, both digital and live - Felecia can produce it all!

Felecia, what would you say is your superpower?

I would have to say how to build a network and knowing when to use it.

Do you have a side hustle?

I'm a creative, so of course! Outside of owning a creative events company, I also dabble in photography.

Why do you love working in virtual events?

I love that despite us being in a pandemic, virtual events has enabled people to continue to come together - which we all crave! And as a bonus virtual events allow people from all over the world to meet in one place from the comfort of their own homes.

How long have you been part of the Happily network?

I have been with Happily for about 4.5 years. I have extended the types of events, managing onsite for a festival and adding speaker prep and management to my skill set as well as producing many virtual events over the last year.

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

As cheesy as it may sound, I'd have to say all of them! It is truly an honor to be trusted to help a company grow its brand and be able to deliver a high-quality experience for attendees. I will say the wedding I produced for a Happily client does hold close to my heart as I was able to build a personal relationship with the couple and still keep in touch with them today. We do tend to have the best clients!

Freelancer Felecia Fierro Blog Image

Image: Screenshot of Felecia as a Happily Backstage Manager with Stacey Abrams and Gary Stewart for the 2021 Startup Grind Global Conference.

How would you describe your home working space?

My home office style I would describe as clean and chic. Lots of clean lines with pops of color and overly organized! I'm a planner so it no surprise there! Working on a Happily event the day starts with lots of coffee as I run through the run of show and double-check the flow of the show. Then it's snack prep and go time! I always end with a giant thank you to my supporting team because without them I can not produce a great event!

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

I had already started to include a virtual component to events I was producing. However, COVID was a major push to go all digital. Producing a digital program is much like producing an in-person event. However, there is an element of surprise as to when speakers will show up and the quality of internet connections, lighting, and sound that you just have to be ready for. Plan for the unexpected and always have 3 backup plans on the ready and if all else fails be ready with a video to run!

What makes you happy?

Without a shadow of a doubt my daughter! She is a sassy 16-year-old with a giant smile and proves to be my motivation day in and day out. And also coffee!! :)

Who else needs a coffee?

Listen to Felecia in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Felecia from Tue 27th, April.

Felecia Freelancer GIF

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

May 7, 2021

How to be a Streaming Engineer for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being a streaming engineer, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.


Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Streaming Engineer

Team Happily Responsibility: Manage streaming keys and integrations, inset all assets and brand wrappers into the broadcast stream

Happily Studio: Technical

Happily Team: Broadcast


Discover the basics as well some pro tips about being a streaming engineer from Luke, a Happily specialist

1. Are there varying types of streaming engineer roles?

Depending on the event and the requirements, streaming engineers could be in charge of the main broadcast, or simply a breakout room.

2. Being detail-oriented is a must-have skill

As you are responsible for building and giving life to an event, so many of the tiny little details are in your hands, and it could mean make or break to the success of the event. From the correct Zoom settings, the video quality, audio sync with the livestream, and the exact timing of all the motion graphics, videos, presenters ect. into the broadcast. Every little detail needs to be checked, and then checked again.

3. Pro tip: Have (very) fast internet

We recommend an ethernet connection (not wifi) to maintain a steady bitrate throughout the livestream. A 'bitrate' is the quality of the video and/or audio being uploaded to the chosen platform, and it is so important. Your internet speed will determine what bitrate options you have. Platforms such as Ookla Speed Test will tell you what your current internet speed is.

4. Pro tip: Have a desktop computer

Streaming through OBS is resource-intensive, and can be really hard work for a computer, or laptop. If your computer crashes, that would be disastrous for the live event. So, having a reliable desktop computer than can easier handle a complicated livestream with multiple programs running is e-ssen-tial.

5. Pro tip: Know the ROS like the back of your hand

The ROS (run of show) is basically your step-by-step, second-by-second manual of the livestream, and is your everything. In broad terms, your job is to follow the ROS to the T, and bring it to life. So, knowing, studying, clarifying and asking questions about the ROS of the event is crucial as a streaming engineer.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

May 6, 2021

How to Experience Zoom’s New Immersive View

The Zoom we all know and love has some new exciting features to play with!

We are big fans of Zoom for our Happily virtual events; it is budget friendly for clients and it is a format most event attendees will be comfortable with. So when the Immersive View was launched with their latest update, we couldn’t wait to check it out.

We have all the basics you need to start using this view for all your Zoom related activity. Plus, we have some inspiration for how it can be used as a quick and easy way to add some pizzazz to a virtual event.

What exactly is the Immersive View?

It is a large global virtual background that allows the host to gather multiple participants together into the one screen or ‘scene’ as Zoom calls it. At the same time it erases the background of each participant in the Immersive View.

First thing’s first. You will need to update your Zoom.

The Immersive View is only available to those with the latest version 5.6.4 (765).

Please Note: Participants who have an older version will not be able to experience the Immersive View when it is enabled. Instead unsupported participants will see the Gallery View or Speaker View as usual, and those with the update in the meeting will view these unsupported participants in the Immersive View scene with their original, solid backgrounds.

Zoom-Update

Who controls the Immersive View?

Like most other features on Zoom, only the host can enable the Immersive View in a meeting. The co-host and other participants will not even see the option on their screen under ‘View’.

So, how do I get started?

If you’ve got the latest Zoom update and you are the host of the meeting, simply click ‘View > Immersive View’ and a new window should open up.

From here you can browse a collection of scenes to be ‘immersed’ into. Each scene will have a maximum number of people that it can accomodate, which is indicated by a little number in the bottom right hand corner of each thumbnail. The maximum that an Immersive View can hold is 25 participants.

Please Note: All other participants who you did not select to be in the Immersive View, or if there are more than 25 attendees, will be placed in their usual little boxes above the Immersive View. And by the way, this does not mean they are automatically muted.

You will see a preview before you click ‘start’

You can place participants in view automatically or manually. Clicking ‘manually’ will allow you to elect which participants you want to immerse, which is ideal for keynote speakers and panel discussions.

Where-to-find-Zoom-Immersive-View

What do the scenes look like?

There are currently 8 scenes to choose from, plus the host’s own video stream. They include an ‘art gallery’ (5 seats), an ‘auditorium’ (25 seats), a ‘boardroom’ (6 seats), a ‘fireside chat’ (2 seats), a ‘cafe’ (2 seats), a ‘classroom’ (25 seats), a ‘kitchen’ (2 seats) and ‘learning pods’ (25 seats).

You can add your own custom background image to use and in this view you can move participants around and resize them, which is perfect to create a custom branded space. Please Note: You can only add custom images, so you will need to use OBS for video.

Zoom Immersive View Fireside Chat Image: The 'Fireside Chat' Immersive View

You can use it with OBS, although there is a catch

As the host, you can not be visible in the Immersive View and run your OBS at the same time. This is only an issue for video and if you want to be seen. If you add a custom image to the Immersive View without OBS as mentioned above, you will not have this issue.

Can Immersive View be recorded?

No, not within Zoom. When you record a meeting in the Zoom system the Immersive View will not appear, instead it will be recorded in Gallery or Speaker. The view that is recorded will depend on your recording settings, or the view that was used before starting the Immersive View. If you really want to capture the Immersive View in a recording, the way around this is by using a screen recording program, like Quicktime.

Some random notes to keep in mind

  • As host, you can easily revert back to Speaker or Gallery View, or change the Immersion View scene, at any time without disruption.

  • It is currently not available in Breakout Rooms.

  • For best results, participants should have a plain background with a solid color; a basic green screen would be ideal.

  • For even better results, participants should have their camera far enough from their body that it does not cut off any parts eg. shoulders, top of their head, gesturing hand movements.

Star-Wars-Immersive-View

GIF: Star Wars watch party using OBS and the Immersive View

Some quick uses for Immersive View that we think will be awesome for virtual events!

1. Panel discussions

You can have all the keynotes speakers (or perhaps a special guest and an interviewer) in the one screen to simulate a ‘main stage’ format, in which the rest of the participants (the audience) are focused.

2. Custom branding

There are now even more opportunities to add custom branding graphics to Zoom, meaning a touch of personalization, such as brand colors or logos, are streamlined for hosts.

3. A photo booth

Imagine participants dropping into a customised digital space with a fully branded backdrop for a fun and quirky photo op with others, or by themselves.

4. A watch party

You can have the reaction to a video or movie of participants right there on the same screen and more integrated than ever. (Although, remember we mentioned you will need OBS for this.)

5. Games and trivia

As there is now more interaction with participants - you can move them around, drop them into scenes and resize them, for example - there is plenty of opportunity to have some fun and create a dynamic experience.

May 5, 2021

7 Practical Tips for Raising Money with a Virtual Fundraiser

After many years of experience with their established annual fundraiser, most nonprofits have a solid idea of the amount of donations they can realistically expect.

However, when pivoting to a virtual event, we often hear executive directors and directors of development ask if they can still expect to raise that same amount of money... or less, when it comes to a virtual fundraiser.

Based on our experiences with Happily fundraiser events for Equality Now, 826 Valencia and LEAP, the answer is; ‘you can expect the same amount of money - if not more!

826 Valencia Confetti GIF

GIF: From 826 Valencia's Bookeaters' Bash

Here are some pro tips on how to optimize donations for a virtual fundraiser

1. Start asking for funding commitments before the event

Think of the virtual fundraiser as a place where you can visibly recognize and celebrate those who give donations, and having a few pledges already helps others feel comfortable to donate online during the event, too

2. Silent auctions should start before the event

This will allow people to start bidding on them and raising money, and then you can close the silent auction right before the start of the event, encouraging people to show up for the live virtual fundraiser

3. Engage your donors with a live chat

Make sure to have a few staff on hand to bring the chat to life, to share comments to encourage others to do so, and, of course, thank people for coming. Also, if you have an audience larger than a few hundred, spring for even more engagement and consider dedicated viewing rooms where people can watch together.

4. Make sure the method of donating does not take away your audience's attention

Text to donate and opening donation windows in a new browser really helps keep attendees watching the screen while donations are happening. You do not want to move people completely from the platform of your virtual event, and lose the energy and momentum of the experience.

5. It is all about watching, donating, or joining

The user experience design of the website needs to be simple and draw attention to only one of three calls to action at a time; watch, donate, or join. Use a main stage broadcast for live auctions and give the live MC cues for what to do next, eg; donate or join an interactive networking space.

6. The secret sauce is storytelling

For the content of the virtual fundraiser experience, work with our Happily specialists to tell the story of your program. A good mixture of emotive stories, a few words from any notable guests, celebs, employees, and the constituents of your nonprofit, is a winning recipe.

7. Show all those donations

A rolling ticker at the bottom of the broadcast can help keep the focus of the event on your story, on the all important mission of your nonprofit, and connect the money given with what it is going towards. Plus, it will build excitement as donations flow in throughout the event, and the numbers tick closer and closer to your goal.

826 Valencia Donations GIF

GIF: From 826 Valencia's Bookeaters' Bash

Now we’d love to hear about your nonprofit

Get in touch with us and let’s chat about your virtual gala, virtual fundraising event or any virtual fundraising ideas you may have. Together we can produce a Happily virtual event customized for your nonprofit.

May 4, 2021

Bikes that Combat Climate Change with Som Ray

How can technology make a daily urban commute super easy, way more economical, and, oh so much better for the environment?

Som Ray drops in to chat with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, about the future of e-bikes, how adopting biking for urban mobility can change the world and what the startup process is really like.

Plus, he introduces us to his startup, CLIP, a revolutionary device that will be a must-have for the urban commuter and anyone wondering how they can help the environment in their daily life.

CLIP Co-founders Somnath Ray and Clément de Alcala Image: CLIP Co-founders Somnath Ray and Clément de Alcala

Som Ray is re-designing the e-bike experience

Having grown up in India, Som understands just how bad air pollution and urban congestion can get. When he found himself living in New York City he decided to start using biking as his primary mode of transport. Biking is awesome for a daily commute. It is way better for the environment than cars and they do wonders for easing traffic congestion. However, biking every day is not always easy. It can get real physically taxing and motivations can wax and wan, so that is where the pedal assist of an electric bike makes all the difference.

As a concept, the pedal assist of e-bikes makes the biking experience easier, quicker and ensures you don’t arrive at your destination all puffed and sweaty. However, e-bikes are not accessible to most people; they are expensive, they are heavy and their value means they often get stolen. Also, as Som points out, most of us already have a bike; personalized, wonderful bikes with diverse designs that reflect us. This is where CLIP comes in.

CLIP is a clean mobility startup that is creating a portable e-motor device to easily attach to any bike, instantly turning it into an e-bike. Founded in 2018 by Som Ray and Clément de Alcala, they want to democratize access to the benefits of an e-bike, and build an option much more low-cost, user-friendly and accessible. Plus, empower urban commuters and city dwellers to take on biking and significantly slash our impact on climate change.

Listen to Som on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for more.

It’s Earth Month so here are some stats for you!

By switching to biking, NYC commuters would:

  • save approx. 1.5M gallons of gasoline every year
  • eliminate approx. 12,900 metric tonnes of Co2 emissions every year

The Co2 emissions of transport in NYC are:

  • Gasoline Car = 251.0g Co2 per passenger km
  • Bus = 28.0g Co2 per passenger km
  • Tesla model 3 = 46.7g Co2 per passenger km
  • Subway / Metro = 36.4g Co2 per passenger km
  • CLIP & bike = 1.52g Co2 per passenger km

CLIP Promotional Shot Image: CLIP prototype on urban bike

Hungry for more?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 28, 2021

5 Ideas for a Virtual Product Release Event Inspired by Apple

We were excited to learn about the impressive new iPad and colorful iMac upgrades behind Apple’s latest product unveiling!

As a sustainability conscious company ourselves, we loved that Apple products are now made with 100% recycled aluminum. Circular economy for the win! However, what we really wanted to highlight was the flawless event production of this 2021 Apple Event with so many beautifully executed best practices that we do here at Happily.

Graphic-motion Apple GIF

Here are our top 5 ideas for you to adapt and be inspired by for your own virtual product release event

1. Strong storyboard

Storytelling is emotive, powerful and a format that is universally understood. Crafting the flow of the entire event and consciously planning an overall arch will help you find opportunities to bring a story together, connect with your audience, and build a solid structure for the event. We have storyboard artists and scriptwriters at Happily who are experts at curating an event to bring that cinematic and polished feel.

For more on that, check out this past LinkedIn Live with Kevin Cohen, Creative Director, Stungun Productions.

2. Sleek motion graphics and stylish sets

Combining strong elements of motions graphics and curated sets enables you to seamlessly bridge the real world with the virtual. We do custom motion graphics for our Happily events, with this more and more becoming a standard. This also includes translations between presenters or items; static transition slides feel like a presentation, motion is cinematic! 

Apple Event Intro GIF

We love the rainbow!

Apple Event GIF Transition 1

This transition, though!

Apple Transition 2 GIF

Something a little more simple, but still awesome.

3. Really clean website

By creating a simple one-way content website for your event and all the details, it can live their forever and feel timeless, acting as a base source for the product launch. When people watch the playback on the site it may kill that all important ‘this is something fresh, brand new and so exciting’ product launch buzz by including past comments and audience engagements that happened during the original live broadcast.

You don’t need a platform to create engagement around a broadcast, as chatter and conversation can happen on Twitter and other socials. Also, we can put YouTube live chat on a microsite so your comments can be consolidated in one place. 

Apple Event Website GIF

4. Bookend live presentations

Each presentation sprinkled with short 30 - 60 second commercial-style videos to add more action, and successfully tease and recap product unveiling. This is also a really clever way to present the same information again in repetitive and refreshed ways for retention.

Apple Commercial GIF

5. Bring employees in front of the camera!

We loved meeting Carolyn, Cindy, Navpreet (and all the other included Apple staff) as they enthusiastically spoke in technical detail. This gives you a chance to form a personal connection with the audience, showing off the passion of the people who have helped bring the product to life. Plus, it can be a great opportunity to proudly display the diversity in your company.

Of course we know that for most people, speaking in front of a camera is not as easy as the Apple employees made it look. At Happily we can bring in speaker coaches for the more camera shy folks who may not be familiar with presenting in a situation like this. The goal being to give people the confidence and personalized advice they need to shine. We did this for a fundraiser with 826 Valencia by bringing their program managers on camera. It was something they had never done before and absolutely loved it.

Apple Staff GIF

Got a virtual event that you wanna bring to life? Let's chat about it!

April 27, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Alex Wiltse

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.


The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Alex Wiltse

Pronouns: he/him

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Happily Role/s: Showcaller, Streaming Engineer and Happily Hour Host


Alex Wiltse for Freelancer Friyay Images via Instagram @jayco_tv

Hey there! Do you know Alex?

With over 10 years of experience at the intersection of major media, live-streaming, and technology, Alex prides himself on his versatile skill set. He describes as someone who is able to adapt to almost any need within the rapidly increasing industry of virtual event production.

So, Alex, what is your superpower?

I like to think, and have been told, my greatest skill is improvisation and adaptability. It may sound silly but it happens a lot with tech! Feeling like I just pulled a Doc Brown and seeing three computers come together and work in tandem, with wires hanging from my ceiling and threading over my room because that's just how to get the best quality... well, it appeals the 7 year old in me who always wanted to be a mad scientist.

Do you have a side hustle?

I'm actually a talent manager! I have an agency partner in LA who has some really cool TV clients while I focus on finding social media creators that have the potential to make it in the traditional acting world (with some training, of course), and I help them curate their content to grow in a direction that'll help them make that transition. I also occasionally am a casting producer for various gameshows when they need me, like Match Game, Game of Talents, and The Hustler!

Why do you love working in virtual events?

For me, it's the vision of where this can lead. In my mind, genuinely 90% of live TV could be produced remotely. It would make the industry so much more accessible for aspiring talent and crew, and it would make it so much more do-able for people who don't want to "move to Hollywood for the dream!" sort of thing. With my setup now (thanks to Happily) and the stuff I've played around with alongside Chris and JC, it's something I want to champion to the industry: Why even use a studio for more than the main talent if anything? It's cheaper, MUCH more environmentally friendly, and allows for far more eager minds to be a part of the team.

What inspired you to join Team Happily?

I was brought over by a friend of mine, Brielle. She's a Happily stream engineer pretty often, too. I used to stream on Twitch as a hobby (But secretly hoping I'd be Twitch famous, of course) and she was like 'Hey! The DNC needs livestream people'. and I'm just not the kinda guy to ask questions, and just said 'okay I'm down'. Best decision ever.

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

I think it would be the Startup Grind summit. Working three days back-to-back at roughly 14 hours each... that brought me back to being on-set... but from the comfort of my own desk. I loved every minute of it. And what a cool event to be a part of!

How would you describe your home working style?

I'm someone with pretty severe diagnosed ADHD, so I have a pretty strict routine with myself so I don't get distracted and can stay on track. Every morning I wake up and steam 4 eggs, make a piece of toast, and air-fry 6 strips of bacon. Then I go down the street to my local coffee shop and get a Lucky Charms latte. Only the healthiest. On Happily event days, since I live in a Tiktok Content House that I manage, I make sure to announce to the house that it's an "on-air" day and everyone has to be quiet between X-Y hours. Then I get set up on my PC's and get ready for the show.

Freelancer Alex Wiltse Home Space Set Up Image: Alex's monster set-up!

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

The transition kind of came by force with COVID. I was an events manager for a tech startup until Feb of 2020, then, well, we all know what happened next. Fortunately, my love of streaming and tech made it very easy to transition, since I was already using the tools that we would end up needing.

For advice... hmm... I would say try to be tech-forward. I know that sounds a bit generic, but what I mean by that is to really be aware of technology and learn as much of it as you can. This space is going to stay here and only continue to grow with time. And tech can be very hard for some folks to understand, but honestly, you can learn just about any of it on YouTube. If there's something you want to learn or don't know, take the 15 minutes to watch a video on YouTube that explains it. I promise it'll come in handy.

What makes you happy?

I am happiest when I'm outside adventuring or entertaining people via performing arts. Living in Arizona, one of my hobbies is exploring abandoned gold mines. (Don't try this at home) and there's something about the Indiana Jones feeling that brings me a special joy. As for acting and entertaining, it comes in all forms. If I have anyone laughing, I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing! Daily for me is my mom. She's had such a life of trials and tribulations that her strength inspires me every day to keep going and anything I can do to make her proud brings me daily joy.

Who else needs a coffee?

Listen to Alex in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Alex from Tue 20th, April.

IG Live Link to Freelancer Alex Wiltse GIF

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 23, 2021

How to Support Diversity in the Workplace with Zoe Moore

We’re revisiting a Happily Live that discusses an issue we are enthusiastic about; representing diverse voices and fostering inclusion.

As part of our core values at Happily, we are actively dedicated to diversity in the workplace and all Happily events, as well as reinvesting in local and forgotten communities. This chat provides some practical advice and insights that all of us should listen to and be reminded of.

Black woman at Cloud Gate in Chicago with Equality text on back for t-shirt Yes kindness. Yes peace. Yes Equailty. Yes Love.

Chiriga "Zoe" Moore joins Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, to chat about diversity, equity and inclusion in the events industry and how companies can be more intentional in their hiring practices.

What I see in the MICE industry - or what we call meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions and even local events that happen - is there is a lack of supplier diversity. So when you’re looking at the different venues, and the different professionals, speakers, and panelists, or chef and DJs, there isn’t diversity amongst those businesses that we go to.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Zoe Moore is a powerhouse

She is an Army Veteran and a Certified Diversity Practitioner with an M.S. in Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism. Zoe engages with leaders to operationalize DEI assessments, resources and strategic action plans, and is an advocate for supplier diversity to encourage economic empowerment and sustainability.

Zoe is a former Event Resource Broker at LB Alliance, an event resource group that supports underrepresented professionals in the MICE industry. She is also the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Meeting Professionals International (MPI).

She co-founded CADAZO Consulting Group, a women and minority owned business that is evolving the meetings and events industry through DEI dialogue, coaching, workshops. She is currently developing courses, content and workshops to contribute to the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This Happily Live is an oldie, but a goodie. To hear all the expert knowledge, watch Zoe in discussion with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for some quick advice.

Some key notes and tips from their chat for businesses wanting to address and strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace

Go local to support urban sustainability

If you’re putting together an event and will be needing to hire supporting staff, entertainment, catering, performers - whatever it may be - prioritize finding and supporting local talent.

You’ll go into a city and they’ll use national brands. A national company will come in. They will get paid and they’ll take their money right on out. But if you bring local businesses and freelancers, like Happily does, into those events, they make money, they spend it locally and then it does something I call ‘toughen urban sustainability’. Strengthen that local community because they’re part of these events that are happening and not excluded from them.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Know your current workforce so you can set realistic goals

Do an honest and complete survey of the current demographic and diversity of employees. This detailed assessment will allow you to understand the relevant benchmarks you may need to set, any goals you may want to meet, and what areas you may need to focus on.

You have to acknowledge what the landscape of what the workforce looks like.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Assess the inclusive atmosphere of the workplace

Hiring a diverse array of employees is not sustainable if the working environment they join is not inclusive. Only by actively fostering a culture of belonging can a business allow their staff to feel comfortable and let their diversity shine through and their voices be respected. That is when true representation, diversity, equity and inclusion happen.

Now you have to identify ‘what am I gonna do to make my organization or this place inclusive?’ because a lot of people are working backwards. They’re like ‘okay we want diversity. Hire this person. Hire that person’ and they get into the environment and it’s not inclusive and there is no upward mobility so the effort becomes stagnant because you have a high attrition rate.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Be intentional with your hiring process and go to where the people are

Businesses have to be committed to diversifying staff, and not expect a diverse group of candients to come to them. Based on your goals around DEI, you need to be intentional by going into the community and places in which those underrepresented voices in the company can be recruited.

As you begin to hire it has to be intentional. You cannot post something on LinkedIn and say ‘hey, we’re hiring’ and expect people who have never seen your company as diverse or making any true effort. You have to be intentional. Go to the HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities]. Go to neighborhoods. Go to the community centres.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Are you fascinated by this topic?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 21, 2021

3 Ways to Create an Events Strategy that Saves the Planet

Like many things in 2020, virtual events went from a novel and foreign experience, to a necessary common occurrence.

Our love and advocacy at Happily for events in the digital space began long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We care deeply about the future of our planet, and that is why we use technology to create unique and fun events that are carbon zero. Our core values as a company, include representing diverse voices, reinvesting in local and forgotten communities, and reducing waste. For the moment let’s focus on the latter, although you can find more on the others here.

How does Meeting Format Impact Total Event Emissions? Graph Image: Graph adapted from this original article by Shawna McKinley.

We are environmentalists

When we say we’re committed to combating climate change, we mean it. After each Happily event, we calculate the carbon emitted from the desktops of talent, tech, team, and guests. Then we take a percentage from our profits to plant trees in the Happily Forest, which is located in Tanzania and stewarded by our reforestation partner, Forest Nation.

3 ways you can build an events strategy that reduces carbon emissions

1. Have virtual events lead your program

By fully embracing a virtual-first program, you can reduce emissions by 90% or more. Virtual events are a format that everyone is increasingly more comfortable with, and businesses now understand the lasting benefits of them, even beyond the pandemic. They can be easily scaled, they can fit any budget, a wider audience can be connected with, there is greater opportunity for accessibility, and they often mean less time commitment for attendees and speakers. All this allows a business to justify virtual events being held more often, enabling a thriving calendar of virtual summits, virtual galas and virtual gatherings.

On average, virtual events reduce 97% of carbon emissions compared to an in-person event. This is largely due to a lack of travel of people and goods to and from a city and/or venue. All that movement would usually account for 90% of an event's carbon emissions.

2. Form local clusters for in-person events

Local clustering of events can reduce emissions by 75% or more. An example of this would be, instead of a single major in-person event in which participants would fly to from all over the country, have several smaller events in relevant cities, collectively reducing the amount of travel required for attendees.

Other than a forest fire, air travel emits the most carbon emissions per hour than anything else. Incredibly, 1% of global frequent fliers are responsible for more than half of those emissions. Of course, we do not wish to vilify air travel, nor should anyone be shamed into flying less. However, decreasing a need for air travel is a very real way to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your event, as over 90% of an event's carbon emissions come from flights.

3. Harness the power of an online community to reduce the frequency of in-person events

The benefits of community for a business is something that is understood and utilized more each year. Actively building, nurturing and guiding a community in line with your business goals means that you can consolidate in person tentpole events down to one time a year.

The power of community for businesses is a wonderfully immersive topic. So rather than go into all of it here, we are going to guide you to some recent Happily Live interviews with experts in this field. For more on the benefits of community for your business, you must check out this chat with David Spinks. And this conversation with Gina Bianchini is essential for learning how to build a community online for your business.

Woman smiling at laptop in an organic style home

Reduce emissions, virtually

Happily is powered by the largest, most diverse network of tech-savvy, environmentally conscious event specialists. We bring tech, talent, and team together for custom, carbon-zero virtual events. Contact us for a chat and together we can produce an eco-friendly virtual event!

April 20, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Kat Cody

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.


The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Katarina Cody

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Happily Role/s: Broadcast Manager


Freelancer: Katarina Cody Hero Image

We'd love for you to meet Kat!

She has a powerhouse work-ethic backed by organization and a passion for music. She specializes in being able to keep projects on track, connecting the dots, and finding creative solutions. Kat prides herself on her ability to plan for the unexpected and integrate philanthropic thought into business.

So, Kat, what is your superpower?

Being able to prepare for situations with a solid plan and pivot when things change!

What do you like to do in your freetime?

I absolutely love camping, hiking, exploring, and traveling.

Why do you love working in virtual events?

I love being able to have less impact on the environment and climate change through virtual events. I also think virtual events allow for more collaboration from people who are across the country and around the world.

What inspired you to join Team Happily?

I heard about Happily from a friend who I worked on a few events with and decided to join the team because the events that Happily produce truly make an impact.

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

I worked on 826 Valencia's Fundraiser and it was by for the most memorable one. It was my first event with Happily and I thought it was amazing to see people who were all great at their craft come together to help support a non-profit who is amazing at what they do.

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

I transitioned to virtual events due to the pandemic and the need to continue to work and bring meaningful connections to people. While virtual and in-person events are very different, they also have a TON of similarities. I found the best way to transition was to dive in head first, do the research, trust my gut, and listen to experts around me. Just do it and make sure you have good internet.

What makes you happy?

Connecting people and giving back makes me happy! I always try to make sure I check in with the people I care about and help out those around me when I can.

Is it coffee o’clock, yet?

Watch Kat in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Kat from Tue 13th, April.

Coffee OClock IG Live with Kat Cody

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 16, 2021

How to be a Video Editor for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being a video editor, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.


Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Video Editor

Team Happily Responsibility: As part of the pre-production team, they edit video assets needed for the livestream. In post-production they may create a ‘sizzle reel’

Happily Studio: Creative

Happily Team: Graphics


Let’s talk about the role of a video editor! Hear more about why this role is so important for a Happily Producer, Kari Mulholland

Hiring a solid video editor is a make or break position for the success of your event.

Kari Mulholland, Producer, Happily

1. Why is a skilled video editor particularly important for the team?

They make aesthetic and creative decisions that will greatly impact the internal workflow, the final outward-facing product and the lasting entertainment value of the event.

2. Understanding team workflow is a must-have skill

As they are usually only in the early pre-production stages of an event, their actions will affect the rest of the production team. The Video Editor’s understanding of the creative and technical flow of the team after they are no longer actively needed, will ensure that the video files can be easily utilized and understood by various team members down the pipeline.

3. Pro tip: Always have the brand aesthetic in mind

You are editing a video to represent a client, or company, or brand - so you must stick closely to their established brand guidelines and graphic line. Although there is always room to add your own creativity and flair, it must be consistent with the client’s brand styling and overall aesthetic.

4. Pro tip: Be organized and label files clearly

Your edited video files will be handled by many other team members and roles. Having all your files and exports well organized and correctly named will ensure there is no confusion or headaches caused by them down the production pipeline.

5. Pro tip: Be a storyteller

Remember that video editing is not just cutting several shots together in random order. It's telling a story. No matter how ‘simple’ a video edit may seem, finding a way to bring emotion and entertainment through building a narrative is what makes an engaging experience.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 15, 2021

Friendships in the Age of Loneliness with Smiley Poswolsky

As fundamentally social beings, we humans are at our best when we are experiencing meaningful and fulfilling connections with those around us.

We all think we know what loneliness is. However, in this digital age, we are experiencing a particular type of loneliness that started long before social distancing, lockdowns, and the isolating year that was 2020. Friendships are the answer to happier, healthier and more productive lives both at work and outside of it. So, why hasn’t the average American made a new friend in the last 5 years? And why is only 4% of our time spent with our friends?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky connects with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, to chat about the loneliness epidemic we’re currently living through, as well as his latest book Friendship in the Age of Loneliness: An Optimist's Guide to Connection.

The definition of loneliness isn’t how many followers you have, or friends you have on Facebook, or how active your social life is, it’s actually the disconnection between what you want to be feeling in terms of connection, and what you actually feel. It’s that gap. It’s that subjective gap.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

Hero - Smiley Poswolsky

Smiley Poswolsky is a millennial workplace expert

He helps companies attract, retain, and empower the next generation. As a prominent keynote speaker, Smiley inspires and guides thousands of professionals on how to be more connected at work and why those social bonds are fundamental. He has addressed companies and organizations such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Unilever, Deloitte, and Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Smiley has advised heads of state and foreign leaders about millennial talent, multigenerational engagement, and fostering belonging in the digital age. He has also spoken in front of 50,000 people in 20 countries, and his video ‘Refusing to Settle: The Quarter-Life Crisis’ for TEDx Talks has over 1.5m views.

In 2017 he launched The Women/Womxn, BIPOC, and Inclusivity Speaker Initiative, which has grown to over 4,000 members. Its goal is to increase opportunities for women and other underrepresented keynote speakers, as well as ensure that they are paid competitively.

He is the author of 3 inspirational books, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters (2014), The Breakthrough Speaker: How to Build a Public Speaking Career (2018), and Friendship in the Age of Loneliness: An Optimist's Guide to Connection (2021).

For all the enlightening insights you must listen to Smiley on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and you can also read on for a super quick summary.

Some takeaways from their discussion

Loneliness is an epidemic

For the past 20 years our daily lives have been fundamentally changing along with the rise of technology. A shift in how we socialize has happened, and it no longer prioritizes in-person, real life, regular meetups with like-minded people in your community. Loneliness has grown along with this shift. 80% of Gen Z’ers, 70% of Millennials and nearly two thirds of Americans (of all ages) are lonely.

We used to have bowling leagues, we used to meet up with people at the local church, or the VFW, or the town hall, or these Elks Clubs, having kind of these neighborhood-based places where you would just see people and regularly talk.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

Our current relationship with social media is not healthy

The ability to connect with like-minded people that technology has allowed us is truly wonderful. However, we need to be more conscious of how we use it. Only when we use social media as a facilitator can it enable us to nurture or create friendships. Think of it more as a wayfinder; the means in which you can easily find direction, to organize and meet up for conversations and interactions in real life.

Social media can contribute to your wellbeing, but if it’s just the end place, if it’s just like ‘I’m on here and I’m on here’ and I never get off the hamster wheel, it’s really really unhealthy for you.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

We all need a work-wife, work-hubby or a best friend at work

If you have at least 1 close friend at your workplace, you will be 7x more engaged. Friendships in the workplace are so important, especially as we increasingly use technology more and more to communicate and collaborate. Casual conversations as you both make coffee in the staff kitchen, or exchanging ‘good morning’ smiles in the hallway is something we are experiencing less as the world moves away from traditional office spaces.

Here are 3 simple tips for companies and employees to encourage that all important social spirit in the digital space:

1. Enable moments for people’s uniqueness and individuality to shine through in conversation. For example, spend the first 10 or 15 minutes of a Zoom call just chatting before getting into the meeting agenda.

Allowing people to bring their full selves to work, allowing people to share who they are, allowing people to have these moments talking about their hobbies, their passions, things that they’re working on, so people get a sense of who their colleagues are.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

2. Don’t shy away from smaller sized and more personable conversations and meetings.

I also think facilitating more one-on-ones is important, it’s hard to develop a best friend when you are 20 people on a Zoom.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

3. Celebrate each other and lift each other up. Everybody feels good when they feel seen, heard and appreciated, and as a result, the team as a whole will feel more connected. There are even platforms such as tribute.co that have made it super simple to create a collaborative video montage.

Affirmation and celebration and praise is really important especially right now during the pandemic. Feedback is always important, but right now having channels where people can give praise, give gratitude, celebrate their people is really remarkable.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

Are you fascinated by this topic?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 14, 2021

4 Ways to Include an ASL Interpreter in a Virtual Event

The wonderfully adaptable and customizable nature of virtual events is ideal for creating a digital space where those of all ranging abilities can participate, thrive and enjoy themselves.

One of the ways to increase inclusivity and accessibility for deaf and/or hard of hearing individuals is by having an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter as part of your virtual summits, virtual conference, virtual fundraisers, or virtual event.

Happily in ASL Image: The word 'happily' in American Sign Language (ASL)

A quick note on using live captioning vs an ASL interpreter

Live captioning is when captions of the spoken words are transcribed in real time, resulting in a seamless and more accurate experience than automated captions. This is referred to as CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) and nowadays there are many companies that specialize in this service and it can be easily integrated into digital platforms, including Zoom. Live captioning is ideal for forward-facing broadcasts, where attendees are simply observing and taking in what and/or who is on screen.

If the focus of your virtual event is around discussion and verbal interaction of attendees, then most often an ASL interpreter is preferred over live captioning by deaf and/or hard of hearing individuals.

Here are some ready-made options (and things to consider) to integrate an ASL interpreter into a Happily virtual event.

1. ASL on screen all the time

This is perfect for an event via Zoom. However, it is worth noting that this is a little tricker for a broadcast if you would like to reuse any footage across some social media platforms. The final product will be forced into a 16:9 ratio (horizontal) with ASL and so it will be tough to reuse content for social media platforms that ideally require a 1:1 ratio (square) or a 9:16 ratio (vertical). We are mainly talking about Instagram and TikTok. The workaround for this is to pre-record segments that you want to show later on your social networks or plan for added time and budget to make an alternate in post-production edits.

2. Two feeds at once, one with ASL and one without

This option is straightforward and clean, especially if you are catering for an audience mix of ASL users and non-ASL users. However, having multiple stages will increase costs and affect the budget. Even though it can get really pricey, in the end the result will be an identical event experience for all your attendees.

3. Special Zoom room with a live feed from our broadcasters with ASL spotlit in there

This will add some cost, although not as much as Option #2 described above. Ultimately the event experience will not be identical for all attendees, and may create feelings of isolation and social cohesion.

4. Live captions only for broadcasts and ASL for interactive

This option is a hybrid of having live captions (CART) during a broadcast and an ASL interpreter for any following verbal interactions (eg. in a Zoom breakout room or a Q&A format). As we mentioned up top, live captioning is ideal for a broadcast as generally the focus is on visual presentations and guest speakers and not on direct interaction with the attendees. If a following item in the event schedule is intended to generate discussion then the live captioning can be switched out for an ASL interpreter.

Would you like some more resources on this topic?

The RespectAbility website is a wealth of knowledge on how we can all contribute to advancing opportunities for those with disabilities. They are a nonprofit that works collaboratively with organizations to educate and guide them on ways that people with disabilities in communities can be included. Here is a practical guide they have for creating virtual events that are accessible for all.

We are the couturiers of the virtual events world

In whichever way your Happily virtual event needs to be more accessible, together we can design tailor-made UX experiences and custom-built digital platforms for your Happily event and your attendees. Contact Team Happily to chat about any requirements and let’s create something truly special.

April 13, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Tiffany Hammons

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.


The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Tiffany Hammons

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Happily Role/s: Backstage Manager and Breakout Backstage Manager


Specialist Spotlight: Tiffany Hammons

Hey! I'm Tiffany

I have more than 6 years managing Event Production from experiential events, pop-ups, and major conferences. I oversee the day-to-day logistics of everything; production from behind the laptop to the event site. I have also successfully launched a drive-in theater in August 2020 as the Production Director.

What is your superpower?

I am high energy and all smiles! In life, and at work, I am exceptionally good at spreading a positive vibe and keeping the energy up in the room!

Do you have a side hustle or hobby?

I am also a Group Fitness Instructor! I have experience teaching HIIT, Circuit Training, and leading youth dance fit classes.

Why do you love working in virtual events?

I enjoy how virtual events have the same capabilities to keep audiences engaged with main stage events that have breakout sessions various rooms for participants to join, and the ability to have direct interactions with participants through video and chat features. Virtual events allow companies to have these intimate interactions with their participants that they may not have had at all at an in-person event.

What inspired you to join Team Happily?

I heard about Happily through an internet search and signed up right away! I loved the idea of joinging a network of indusrty peers! We all share the same interest to create and produce rockstar events all year long!

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

The Doordash event was most memorable for me. I had the opportunity to Manage one of the rooms available for participants to join during the event. The talent for the room was also a fitness intructor and we had such a great time woring together building the run of show (RoS) and creating engaging cues and talking points to execute during the event. I loved seeing it all come together once the event was live and the particpant response was really great!

What does a day working as a Happily freelancer look like for you?

I work in my living room and usually open the patio door so I can pretend I am outside! And typically once I open my laptop in the morning, it stays open for most of the day! When working on a Happily event I really don't have too much else going on, I even turn off anything else in my house that uses wifi, to be sure I am operating at the best speed for the event.

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

2020 was a crazy year, and really forced people to make unexpected changes. I was one of those people, I had never thought I would be working in the virtual event space, but when the opportunity came about, I knew it was something I could succeed at. I had a lot of experience working Zoom and online platforms and was anxious to try something new! For anyone who is thinking about getting into virtual events, PLEASE go for it!! There is so much to learn and many new experinces to have that are just as fulfilling as in person events!

What makes you happy?

In my daily life, I find happiness in FOOD! Seriously, a hot bowl of Raman or crispy brussels sprouts truly bring me pure bliss!!

Who else needs a coffee?

Watch Tiffany in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Tiffany from Tue 6th, April.

Coffee OClock Link to Freelancer Tiffany Hammons

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 9, 2021

How to be an Associate Producer for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being an associate producer, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.


Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Associate Producer

Team Happily Responsibility: Manage the run of show (ROS) for breakout sessions and breakout teams

Happily Studio: Production

Happily Team: Breakout


Discover the basics as well some pro tips about being an associate producer from Arthur, a Happily specialist

Understanding where we might encounter variables that don’t necessarily fit our plan and how to navigate them and communicating that; I think adaptability is one of the biggest things we need on a project like this.

Arthur Kozlovski, Associate Producer, Happily

1. Where does an associate producer fit in the team?

An Associate Producer is added to a broadcast team when the event has 5 (or more!) breakout rooms. They work closely with the overall Producer, leading the ROS of the Breakout Rooms and managing all staff involved with the Breakout Rooms.

2. Adaptability is a must-have skill

Be open to feedback, listen to your team and be flexible to how things are approached. In the video interview above, Arthur expands on this idea and explains why it is so important as an Associate Producer.

3. Pro tip: Accommodate each unique breakout experience

More often than not, no two breakout rooms are the same. Have a baseline set of requirements for all the Breakout Leads, but also customize directions based on the experience (eg. a panel discussion vs a cooking class).

4. Pro tip: Foster fluid communication

As the buffer between the Producer and the Breakout Leads, constantly check-in to make sure that everyone has the knowledge and direction that they need.

5. Pro tip: Be analytical of your own directions

Seek and fill any holes in the Breakout Leads’ understanding of the ROS, altering your own instructions to ensure they have all the guidance they need.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 8, 2021

The Business of Belonging with David Spinks

The era of businesses powered by community is here and we are excited by its potential.

David Spinks chats with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, about what makes a community-driven business as well as his new book The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage.

A sense of belonging, connection, shared purpose, feeling like you are connected to a group of people. And that’s the foundation of this work, you need that, that’s the fuel that makes it all work. And businesses are starting to become aware of that and make community a really core value for both internally - how do we make employees feel like they belong - and then externally - how do we make customers, partners, investors feel like they are all connected and they belong.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

David Spinks is a rockstar in the community-driven business movement

As a 3x startup founder and an experienced community leader, David has spent a decade advising and training hundreds of organizations (such as Google, Facebook, and Airbnb) in community strategy. Simply put, he is an expert on the intersection of community and business.

In 2014 he co-founded CMX, an international hub for community professionals to support each other through education, and events. Bevy, an enterprise software to power community-driven events, acquired CMX in 2019. David now serves as the Vice President of Community at Bevy to assist companies launch and scale event-driven community programs.

David is now an author with the release of his book, The Business of Belonging, How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage, which is the #1 New Release in Direct Marketing on Amazon! He shares all he has learnt about what makes a winning community strategy, from the fundamental concepts to practical engagement techniques.

For more on his book and for all the expert insights listen to David on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for a quick summary.

A few fundamental notes from their chat

There is a difference between building an audience vs a community

Instead of constantly explaining or showing the value of your business or product to people, a strong community will allow members to create and share that value for you.

Traditional businesses have always been about marketing and building an audience and to build an audience you essentially just help people, you create value, a product, something that they consume. To build a community you help people help each other. You create spaces and platforms for them to create value for each other rather than you, the business, having to create all the value for them.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Success lives where business and belonging overlap

The sweet spot to build a community is the place where the value to the business and the value for the members balance. It is the space where they overlap that opportunity and success can be found.

If you go into building community and you are only optimizing for profit you’re not really focusing on how you serve members and really give them a true sense of connection and belong and value, then your community is not going to have engagement...

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Have clear business objectives for your community

By their very nature, a community grows towards a level of self-sustainability. Starting with a solid foundation of business goals for the community, and a clear understanding of the ways in which you want community to benefit the business, is essential in knowing how and where to guide this ship once it leaves the dock.

If you only focus on creating engagement and you’re not starting with an understanding with what is the business objective you’re trying to drive, how it will ultimately result in ROI, you’ll end up having a community that is engaged but you can’t justify the investment, you don’t know what the return is…

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Some stats and figures for you

  • Companies with a Vice President of Community have grown to approx. 50 - 100 around the world
  • Globally companies with a Chief Community Officer role have grown to approx. 10
  • Only 12% of community teams feel confident in their ability to measure the business value of community
  • 88% of communities have at least one dedicated community manager
  • 86% of business say community is critical to their mission
  • Community saw more investment through the COVID-19 pandemic with 56% of companies now viewing community as more essential

Have a framework to calculate the ROI of community

Being able to clearly see the value of your community to your business will give you the confidence and information you need to justify and invest more in it. Although gathering these metrics can be tricky, David has developed a framework he refers to as The SPACES Model; Support Product Acquisition Contribution Engagement Success. He dives deep into that in his new book, and has a summary here via the CMX website.

Virtual events are considered more valuable and powerful than ever before

Largely due to the pandemic, virtual events are a format that both companies and participants are now more comfortable with. Businesses have seen the lasting benefits of virtual events; they are highly scalable, they are more affordable, more people can be reached, it has much greater accessibility, and they can be held more frequently than in-person events.

I think virtual events themselves are here to stay because they provide a really scaleable balance to the very time and cost intensive in-person events.”

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Hybrid event programs will become more popular

Moving forward event programs for communities will be a mix of virtual and in-person events. There will always be a certain sense of magic that happens when a group of people meet in the same physical space, and so, in-person events are important to communities. Ideally the yearly events calendar for a community would have some events as 100% virtual, and others as 100% in-person.

The reality is that virtual tools do not give you the same sense of proximity, connection and serendipity that you get in-person.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

David is sceptical of hybrid events

The idea of a hybrid event that simultaneously creates an equal sense of connectivity for both the virtual and in-person participants is not something we are likely to see a rise in. They are really two separate events happening at once with two separate experiences for those participating. If the goal of an event is to nurture connections between members, it is ideal to separately utilize the strengths of in-person and virtual events.

[A hybrid event is] a lot harder to do than people think, it’s a lot more expensive to do than people think, it’s not an ideal experience for people because people who are watching online generally just feel left out from the in-person experience, people in-person feel overwhelmed by all the online people and they just wanna talk to the people there in-person.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Would you like some more?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 7, 2021

5 Benefits of Raising Money Through Virtual Events

For many nonprofits, fundraisers have usually taken a more traditional approach with an in-person activity or annual gala event with cheque books and solid cash used to collect generous and much needed donations.

However, the pandemic abruptly caused many nonprofits with long standing fundraising formats to pivot and seek new avenues. That is where virtual fundraisers were given the chance to shine. A virtual fundraising event is so much more than an ‘alternative’ to an in-person event and their benefits reach long after the passing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Happily, you can use virtual events and livestream services to:

1. Activate any of your social media channels as a fundraising platform

Social media is a great tool to optimize donations by connecting with your established followers in a format they are already familiar with.

2. Expand support for your programs by attracting new audiences

You can spread the good word about your cause to more people in your community and across the country, and then make it so easy for them to donate as they wish. This is a huge win as you would not be excluding anyone who, for whatever reason, would not have been able to easily attend an in-person event.

3. Seamlessly receive and celebrate donations made by text or web

A customized user experience and giving people options are always important, and both those things can be fully optimized with virtual events.

4. Increase the frequency of sharing program updates

Staying connected with your community of donors and stakeholders, making them feel involved and in the loop, is a great way to build trust and inspire them to make a donation.

5. Create urgency and instant gratification for online donations

Seeing donations made in real time, watching that pledge counter go up and up, having a donors name pop up on the screen; it all generates a sense of collective excitement that makes participants feel instantaneously fulfilled when making a donation.

Discover how Happily helped this nonprofit raise $30k with a virtual live auction

Team Happily recently worked with LEAP, a nonprofit based around mentorship programs for youth in low income communities. We were able to successfully transform an annual fundraising event that they had been hosting for 25 years into their first virtual gala.

You can read all about the challenges, solutions and results in this LEAP Case Study, as well as a video summary of the event.

Leap Case Study

Now we’d love to hear about your nonprofit

Get in touch with us and let’s chat about your virtual gala, virtual fundraising event or any virtual fundraising ideas you may have. Together we can produce a Happily virtual event customized for your nonprofit.

April 6, 2021

How to Build a Mighty Strong Community Online with Gina Bianchini

Building a community online is a craft. Its many moving parts should fold and flow together to create a structure that supports, uplifts and serves each one of its members.

Gina Bianchini, an expert on network effects, chats with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, about what makes a community thrive online, the changing nature of communities in the digital space and how to reframe your approach to building a community for your business.

I define community very narrowly… which is; are you creating the conditions by which people can meet and build relationships with other people? Think about it as member to member connections.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

Gina Bianchini is a pioneering woman in the tech space

She is CEO and Founder of Mighty Networks, a flexible web platform that ‘brands with purpose’ can use to embrace and nurture their community via online courses, events, memberships and subscription content all in one spot. Their mission is to guide in a new era of digital businesses that are built on the power of community.

The precursor to Mighty Networks was the pioneering social networking website, NING, which Gina co-foundered with Marc Andreessen in 2004. NING is a platform which allows an online presence and community to be built from the ground up.

For all the juicy expert knowledge listen to Gina on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for a quick summary.

Some inspiring takeaways from the chat

Be the ultimate dinner party host

Think about building a community like hosting a dinner party. Not all your guests know each other, but you know all of them. You know what they have in common and what makes each one of them amazing human beings. So as the ultimate host you would carefully craft an environment in which organic conversations can be fostered, in which your guests feel comfortable and especially in which connections can grow independently of you - so the party can continue even while you step away into the kitchen to check on dinner.

What is our ultimate goal? It is to create a community or a network of people that gets more valuable to every member with each new person that joins and contributes and we are gonna use many different tools in our toolbox to make that network as valuable to as many people as possible.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

Social media is for gaining followers, not for building interconnected communities

Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are, as Gina describes, ‘moving in the opposite direction’ to building communities. They are certainly powerful digital marketing tools and important for brand awareness. However, they are mostly one sided conversations without much significant relationship building happening. If your business goal is to build a thriving community, social media platforms are wonderful tools in your box, but they are not the best ones for this job.

So if you think about DMs and the fact that you have Stories and DMs, that’s actually, ‘I talk out at you, you talk back at me’, but nobody's meeting or building relationships with each other. The comments sections, people continue to try to build communities in comments sections but the reality is, it’s really hard.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

A simply recipe for a mighty powerful community

All successful communities, as Gina explains, have cultivated the same sort of environment and culture. Here are some common threads:

  • People feel part of something bigger than themselves
  • There is an overarching common goal or objective
  • Everyone is learning something new together
  • It is a safe space and a support network

Communities are built online before they can also be successful in the real world

A community with intention blossoms in the digital space, and in-person events are just another way for members to connect with each other. By saying ‘online community’ we are focusing on ways in which a community stays connected and interacts in the digital space, inbetween or in spite of real life events. When you focus primarily on the online interactions of the community you are cultivating lasting connections by establishing strong patterns of communications for long after an in-person conference or event has passed.

When you’re thinking about a conference you are better off thinking about how you get people before they come. Before they come. The energy around joining something online that is digital, is before the event, not after.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

Did something spark your interest?

Here are links to resources and other stuff mentioned in this Happily Live:

March 31, 2021

How to be a Clock and Timekeeper for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being a clock and timekeeper, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.


Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Clock and Timekeeper

Team Happily Responsibility: Keep time and cue talent for breakouts based on the ROS (run of show)

Happily Studio: Technical

Happily Team: Breakout


Discover the basics as well some pro tips about timekeeping from Kevin, a Happily specialist

Overcommunicate. So if you have any questions, ask them early and ask a lot of questions - no one at Happily gets mad if you ask too many questions. It’s always better to be overprepared.

Kevin Rabinovich, Clock and Timekeeper, Happily

1. Clock or timekeeper? Is there a difference?

During a Happily broadcast this role is referred to as the clock, but in a breakout scenario it’s the timekeeper. Tasks vary slightly between these two settings, which Kevin explains in the interview above.

2. What tech is needed for this role?

You’ll need the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and the My Stream Timer app. Both of these programs are free to download.

3. Pro tip: Ask lots of questions

Consider setting up a one-on-one with the producer or livestream engineer (eg. there may be a particular speaker they anticipate will go over time).

4. Pro tip: One size does not fit all

Fully customize and add slides for a Happily virtual and/or speaker based on notes from the producer, or any issues you anticipate. (eg. adding an additional slide to gently nudge a speaker into the next item).

5. Pro tip: Do your homework

Even before a team Happily rehearsal, go through the full ROS on your own. This will help you anticipate any problems, ensure your tech is good to go and ultimately that you come off as the professional that you are.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

March 31, 2021

Best practices for virtual sales kickoffs

The whole team is thrilled for 2020 to be over, but you’re still stuck in Zoom.

If you’re feeling the fatigue just thinking about planning your annual sales kickoff virtually, chances are that you just need a little help refreshing your programming to make the most out of your time in 2021.

Happily has produced thousands of hours of virtual team meetings for startups with small founding teams to global tech giants with tens of thousands of employees. We’ve taken enough creative risks and made enough mistakes to promise you that your virtual meeting can be really great and maybe - gasp, dare we say it?? - better than ever.

Welcome new faces

It’s tough joining a team these days, so designing a special experience for the noobs can go a long way:

  1. Create a special networking session before the SKO that has no agenda except to help your newest co-workers forge relationships as part of the “quarantine cohort”.
  2. Build a special webpage that features your new coworkers, boost their visibility just like you would a keynote speaker - with a picture, bio, and links to their social channels.
  3. In breakout moments when you’re doing a round of intros, ask people to share their name, department, location and how long they’ve been at the company. Play a little airhorn sound when a new team member pipes up.

Story-driven updates

Virtual events will end up as a recording you can simply press play on, so the narrative quality of your experience is more important than ever.

  1. Whenever a speaker takes the mainstage, coach them into starting with a story. It’s the fastest way to draw people into a shared space despite the physical distance.
  2. Finesse each presentation to have a clear beginning, middle, and end that supports one main call to action with new plot points presented within 90 seconds to three minutes.
  3. Don’t be shy about using voice over narration on video footage or image-driven slides, we’re all a bit tired of the talking head. Camera switch to close-ups of your speaker’s face at emotional moments to underscore a point and leave the rest of your updates to graphs and video.

Synchronize your global team

Curb your desire to bring everyone at exactly the same time and instead embrace a regular work day schedule on the regional level.

  1. Work with a local MC and moderator to introduce pre-recorded segments live and interact with attendees in real-time.
  2. Be willing to support your MC to speak in their native language and be prepared to live caption and subtitle pre-recorded videos in English.
  3. For times when you just can’t avoid a live sync across time zones, ask your team what time they prefer - you might be surprised at their answers!

November 10, 2020

Client Testimonial with Splash

Hear what Camille White-Stern of Splashthat.com has to say about working with our virtual events team at Happily.

Here is a quick video from Camille about her experience;

Camille White-Stern continues with some questions from our Founder and CEO, Sarah Shewey.

Sarah: Camille, can you introduce yourself, where you work, your role, and what kind of events you are organizing right now?

Camille: Sure! Hi, my name is Camille White-Stern, I am the Executive Coordinator at Splash which is an event marketing software company. My role is unique. I am sort of like the right hand to the CEO, so I work very closely with him and the rest of our executive team, and I also plan a ton of events. I plan events for our team - their internal events like our all-hands, cultural events, our annual offsite holiday events; and then I also get to work closely with our marketing team and produce events for our customers. I work with sales sometimes to produce events for prospects that we’re targeting. And a lot of the events that I’ve been planning recently are workshops, they’re webinars, and sometimes it’s just a party, just to party, kind of virtual events. So kind of all over the map. But the goal of these events is really just to create human connection, especially in this time. We are all working from home in quarantine, so it's been really interesting to navigate the virtual event landscape during this time.

SplashVE

Sarah: And can you tell us a little bit about… when do you use Happily to help you with your event?

Camille: So, I have learned that I just need to reach out to Happily as soon as I know what the next date is for my virtual event. I am reaching out to Happily and I am securing them as my tech support. The reason that I love working with Happily, and using them as tech support on my virtual events, is that it really just gives me one (or sometimes more than one) less thing to worry about. As an event planner we all know it can get crazy, and navigating virtual events is something new for me. So, to be able to have Happily on these events with me, and providing just invaluable tech support really takes a lot of the stress and anxiety out of planning and execution of events for me.

Sarah: Awesome! Can you tell us a little bit more about… what are the things like Joy does for you that is a really big help? Just describe a little bit more in detail what you’re delegating.

Camille: So, Joy is amazing. Joy is on the Happily team. Working with Joy, she basically works with me as a sort of like a technical event producer. So she’s, right off the bat, asking important questions and helping me figure out... ok, you know I’m obviously gonna tell her what the format of the event is going to be - but she will then walk through and make sure she has a clear understanding of the run of show for me.

If we have to figure out any cues for breakouts, or for launching poll questions in Zoom, (we use Zoom a lot at Splash for our virtual events but there’s a ton of other great tools out there). And Joy is... she knows so much more about Zoom and how to produce a successful event on Zoom, that it just takes a lot of time out of the planning process for me. If I have a question, I can just slack Joy and say “Hey Joy! Is it possible for us to open up 30 breakout rooms in a second breakout, but only 5 breakout rooms in the first breakout?”. So, whenever I have a technical question I can go to Joy or the Happily team.

And in terms of executing the event - once Joy has gotten this very clear rundown of the event not only for the content side but the technical side - then during the event, she is in constant communication with me. If things need to change on the fly, she’s just adapting and adjusting immediately, which, you know, happens a lot in events.

Before the event, she’ll send me a recap... We do a tech check - a rehearsal - to make sure everything is working, we test all the settings. She’ll send me a recap - very detailed, so that I can review it and confirm, or I have the opportunity to say “actually we’re gonna change this thing in the run of show.”

And then after the event, she always offers the opportunity for me to get my feedback: what went well, what could be better for next time, we can do a debrief if there’s any major issues that we really need to investigate. Even if I don’t ask, Joy is going to follow up and say “Hey, I realized why we had some difficulties with breakouts in the last event. It's because these people joined the Zoom, and they left the Zoom, so they didn't have an assignment to a room.” So just having that extra level of insight and support, and just the detail-oriented work that Joy does is… it’s just unmatched. I honestly don’t want to do virtual events without Happily!

SplashUplevel

Sarah: We love you! For our last question: what kind of events or what kind of customers, or maybe both, do you think should consider using Happily?

Camille: Seriously everyone. If it’s a meeting, you might not need tech support. But if you are planning a virtual event - even if it’s on the smaller side and you only have, you know, 15 to 20 people - it’s just really nice to have Happily’s support on a call, because like I said, you can focus on the content and engaging with the attendees, while Joy (or someone else from the Happily team) is focusing on making sure your event is still running smoothly. And like I said, if anything pops up, I can slack Joy on the side and ask her to look into something for me, or if she notices an issue she’ll reach out to me and bring it to my attention.

I really think no matter the size of your virtual event, no matter the size of your company or your team, you want to have tech support, and I think Happily just provides the best support out there.

And, I also can’t stress enough: running a virtual event is so different than an in-person event. In the past, I was able to execute events sometimes entirely on my own, with no support - but it would really be impossible for me to execute a virtual event on my own, without support. I can’t play host and - let’s say we have the waiting room enabled - I can’t admit attendees, and be present to welcome guests and make sure I’m checking them in on my Splash app, and things like that. So you know like I said, regardless of the size of the event, I really think you need to have one dedicated tech person - and Happily provides that. So why would I go anywhere else?

Sarah: Awesome! That would be it, unless there’s anything else that you feel like you wanted to mention?

Camille: I mean, you tell me what you want me to say and I’ll say it. I will literally sing your praises from the mountain tops!

Sarah: That’s it. I think that’s great. We love you. Thank you so much. Thank you so so much for using us. We just love helping you and your community honestly, and, like, Joy is in the video but she’s like, “Camille is so great!” So, truly, we love working with you. So thank you!

Camille: The feeling is mutual and hopefully this is a long long partnership.

Sarah: Yeah I know, looking forward to it. So thanks again, Camille.

Camille: You’re welcome.

July 5, 2020

How To Pivot Your Conference Into A Media Company: Learnit Case Study

Savvy independent conference producers with postponed in-person gatherings until 2021 are now modernizing their websites to offer on-demand content with the help of Happily’s network of virtual event specialists.

By offering on-demand video content, organizers can experiment with new revenue models including advertising, sponsored virtual events, and subscription video on demand. Read on to learn how Learnit, a global education conference based in the UK, quickly launched an MVP of their new custom web platform in less than a month with the help of Happily’s digital community strategists and web developers.

Before Happily On Wordpress

Learnit after

After Happily With custom code

Learnit After

Step One

Custom or out of the box?

The first step is to decide whether or not a custom web platform is right for you. If you are planning to regularly host a variety of content on multiple platforms, then a custom website may be the right fit.

Learnit, for example, wanted their users’ data to be seamlessly transferred between their on-demand content platform to an external platform called Jublia, which specializes in scheduled networking meetings. Happily and Jublia’s web developers worked together to leverage Jublia’s matchmaking and scheduling API with Learnit’s expanded profile data.

In the end, owning your data allows you to create a single sign-on experience that reduces the friction for your user to convert into an action that takes place on other websites.

Step Two

Assemble your team

After committing to the process of re-building your site, it’s now time to assemble a team who can help you strategize around the new business opportunities, design the new version of the site, and put it to code.

For Learnit, we decided to go with an executive-level backend web developer and project manager with a senior level front end designer. While hourly rates may be higher on the executive levels, the time saved in reduced errors can be invaluable for projects with a tight turn-around time.

In the future, we can always save money later by reducing down to a lower level developer once the site is launched. Spending a little more upfront for expertise in the architecture stage though, can truly by invaluable.

Learnit Step Three

Step Three

Build user personas and workflows

Now it’s time to begin to create user personas. This exercise greatly helps the entire team to built empathy for your users and get clarity on the experience design. It will also shine a light on assumptions about your user’s motivations and needs that should be tested before writing code.

In Learnit’s case, we spent two hours getting to understand the organization’s mission, objectives, and core revenue-generating products as well as mapping out the workflow for their two main user personas. This exercise helped us all to determine priorities for building the site and communicating the nuanced interactions that create a Learnit brand experience.

User personas and workflows are critical steps to the start of any new product feature and most definitely for the launch of a new website with your team!

Learnit Step Four

Step Four

Create a sitemap

With a greater understanding for the desired user workflow, we can then layout a visual representation of how the pages on the website will come interact with each other. Like user personas, the sitemap is an essential part of helping everyone on the team know exactly what they’re building.

Moving too fast can get you into trouble sometimes. With a deadline of 10 business days to launch a fully rebuilt website, we made a sitemap only once at the proposal / scoping phase of the project and didn’t get a chance to update it during the sprint.

Lesson learned: a sitemap is truly a living document and, no matter what the time pressures may be, the small time it takes to maintain clean documentation as you go can save hours in confusion.

Learnit Step Five

Step Five

Wireframe and code

Now, the fun part. Design and code! A wireframe is a document that shows where visual elements will go and code is a language by which you can tell the computer how you want it to function.

For the Learnit project timeline, we went straight to high fidelity wireframes presented through Invision so their team could give feedback on their own time. We worked through two different time zones (UK & LA/West Coast), so the ability to communicate asynchronously on designs this way was crucial.

Regular check-ins and good project management software are critical to rapidly iterating on websites during sprint.

Lastly

QA, QA, and release

With everything ready to go, it’s time to test and test again. And again if you need. Oftentimes we will spend more time in QA than we will in actually creating the website. Seeing your vision come to life can often visualize gaps in thinking from all members of the team.

For the Learnit project, we barely had enough time to test properly enough before their desired deadline of Friday morning so we delayed the re-launch announcement to Sunday.

The process often takes longer than you think, so make sure to pad the time and stay close to the updates to help steer the ship!

Interested in having Happily help you level up? Schedule A Call

July 5, 2020

Virtual Wine Tasting on Zoom with AppsFlyer

Every Tuesday at 10am PST on Instagram Live, our founder has coffee via @teamhappily with folks in our network about what they learned from a project they recently worked on.

Today, Cynthia shared about her experience working as a backstage manager of a virtual wine tasting experience in Zoom.

Pre-event prep;

  • AppsFlyer sent wine and a recipe card for guests to have the same experience
  • Happily worked with AppsFlyer IT, marketing, and speakers in tech rehearsals
  • Happily sent audio-video kits to improve the sound and video quality of AppsFlyer team

The program;

  • Opening remarks from executives
  • Wine tasting experience led by a sommelier
  • Hang out, unscripted time

Steal these ideas;

  • Mail a personalized bottle of wine to VIPs and then have the sommelier talk about the wine straight from the barrel room
  • Put a welcome slide up that shows an agenda and housekeeping notes
  • Let the dogs out when you’re ready to make your networking playful!

Some #ProTips on virtual event management;

  • Rehearse your cues in real time, don’t rush through those. Transitions might not be as fast or slow as you think they will be, and every second counts in cyberspace!
  • Can’t talk a speaker or client through a setting? Use the remote control feature to take over

May 5, 2020

How to Build a Global Program for Sustainable Events

In last week’s installment of the Happily’s Learning Series, our CEO, Sarah Shewey, sits down with Ryanne Riley Waters of the US Green Building Council.

USGBC are the guardians of the LEED certification, which is respected worldwide as the best in class among sustainable building and structure oversight. To date, they are responsible for having certified over 100,000 projects across 176 countries. LEED is a system and set of guidelines that help people understand how to build and operate buildings and communities in a more sustainable way.

Sustainability is ensuring the needs of today are being met, while also making sure you’re not compromising the needs of tomorrow. It’s trying to increase the good and decrease the negative consequences of your actions and inactions.”

In this conversation, Sarah and Ryanne discussed how the USGBC’s international conference and expo, Greenbuild, is measured for sustainability and adapted to suit countries around the world. Greenbuild uses its events as a way to reach the market, provide education, and connect people with one another. As Ryanne puts it: “Events bring people together to help solve global problems.” Climate change and economic and social sustainability are the global challenges that Greenbuild was developed to help address.

They now operate events in America, China, India, Europe, and Mexico, and have had to learn to adapt their conference to the needs of each market. They do this by enlisting teams of people in those regions who are intimately familiar with the cultural differences, definitions, expectations, and resources in the area so they can tailor the events accordingly.

As an event producer, you might not always have the benefit of staff on the ground in different regions who know everything there is to know about sustainability. But what you can do is put together a team of really trusted friends and colleagues to help you localize your event.

Ryanne credits a lot of Greenbuild’s success to having a core set of concepts on which their events are built - a kind of framework that can then be adapted as necessary for each market in which they plan and host events. And this method can be applied to any industry. Ryanne suggests:

"Relate it back to your core mission. If you're working for a healthcare organization, or an entertainment industry event, or a non-profit that fights hunger and homelessness - there's always some sort of social or environmental (or both) initiative that you can start thinking about. Just start there and then build on it.”

Here are Ryanne’s recommended basic concepts about sustainability that you can apply to the various aspects of your events.

Consider the lifecycle of a material or product before purchasing:

- Where did it come from/how was it made?

  • What am I using it for?
  • Is there an alternative?
  • What will happen to it once I am done with it?

To help you understand how to source event materials safely, here is Ryanne’s list of preferred material content from best to worst:

  1. Domestically Sourced Recycled Content (ie. 100% post-consumer recycled paper, recycled plastic, etc.)
  2. Domestically Sourced Organic Material
  3. Domestically Sourced Virgin Material
  4. Internationally Sourced Recycled Material
  5. Internationally Sourced Organic Material (ie. 100% organic cotton from India for US show)

There are a lot of things that go into the recycling stream that aren't recyclable.”

CopyofAprweek3-specialistimages

It may surprise you to hear that recycling isn’t necessarily the best solution to our waste woes. Ryanne advises to focus on the forgotten R: Reduce.

  • Reduce first. Think, “do I need this, can we make it digital, can we redesign this process and eliminate the need for this material?”
  • Then Reuse. Think, “do we have something in inventory we can reuse, can we design something that is evergreen (i.e.: lanyards with generic show logo, no dates)?”
  • if you have to produce something new, make sure it is made in an environmentally and socially preferred way and can be recycled, reused, or donated.
  • For more information on waste, visit the TRUE (Zero Waste) website

When it comes to knowing your impact, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. It can seem daunting to find ways that measure the impact of an event on a community, but for example: hiring local labor, businesses, or ordering supplies locally, puts dollars directly back into that area’s economy, and you can measure that. Pounds of leftover material that are donated to the community can be tracked. Get this information in writing, even in a contract if you can.

"You can reduce the amount of your printed program guide by a certain number of pages, and that's great, and you can say that. But what's the impact of that? What's the total number of pages you save, or the total number of trees you save, or the pounds of wood that you saved?

Whatever you measure, don’t make up your own standards or definitions. Ryanne recommends that you follow credible sources’ guidelines like EPA, United Nations, USGBC, Green Seal, etc.

Remember, communication and stakeholder engagement in your sustainability mission is key. Be clear with everyone along the way about what your goals and needs are. Be sure to communicate it up your event supply chain, and all the way down to your end-users, attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, etc. for transparency and accountability.

sustainability report

For a quick summary of the inspiring scope of Greenbuild’s events, and a peek into their sustainability report, check out these Post-Show Reports from some of their events in various parts of the world last year.

  1. Mexico 2019
  2. Europe 2019
  3. GSCExIMPACT 2019
  4. Rocky Mountain Green

Whew! We learned so much in this fascinating conversation - this summary is just the tip of the iceberg!

Check out the video for more details from Ryanne and Sarah, and be sure to visit the USGBC and Greenbuild websites for more information.

Thanks again, Ryanne!

April 8, 2020

How to Create Fun Online Workshops with Amy Jo Kim

Amy Jo Kim is an advisor to Happily and the mastermind of Game Thinking, a customer-centric process for unlocking innovation in your products that she developed out of her experiences building products with the early teams of eBay, Guitar Hero, The Sims Online, and Netflix.

"The Sims is one of the games where I saw that you could merge vision with a relentless search for market truth and “find the core of fun.”"

Companies fly Amy Jo all around the world to have her teach them the Game Thinking process, but about three years ago she decided to go exclusively online as she saw her teams achieve more progress with her clients in online workshops that she facilitated. In her conversation with our CEO Sarah Shewey, Amy Jo shared some lessons learned from helpful tips on how she structures her own workshops to maximize small group learning online.

Watch the chat from our Learning Center at happily.io/learning, and read on for key takeaways from what Amy Jo shared with us.

1. Re-format the workshop into sprints

Turn your all-day workshops into a sprint: a dedicated period of time with a key focus that has a beginning and an end. During a sprint, independent work is supported by daily touchpoints with the group. Sprints help big goals feel less overwhelming and empowers participants to feel confident that the outcome of one sprint will lead to the foundation of the next. It takes a bit more upfront work to layout all the content, but ultimately a sprint achieves better results and is much easier to fit into busy workdays for your executives.

"No one wants to be online all day… With sprints, you meet for one hour every day for a week or two, and you’ll see much better results."

2. Know when to broadcast and when to discuss

Be clear on which parts of your event are in broadcast mode (eg. one presenter to many listeners) vs discussion mode (eg. small group sessions with participation). A helpful exercise is to think about the interactions you want participants to experience with each “Aha!” moment and then decide whether or not you want that to be open for broadcast or discussion.

"Unless there’s a live performance, a 45-minute talk doesn’t work."

3. Prepare for the screen

With workshops, broadcast mode is often much better delivered in pre-recorded, micro-learning segments of no more than five minutes made available for replay. Discussions are also best when done in groups of four to eight, so that everyone can have a chance to speak up. Be sure to design your docs and templates for the screen rather than a printed page, taking aspect ratio into account when you layout your slides.


Want to learn more about Game Thinking?

As Amy Jo explains, game thinking is “developing the right products for the right people and having it drive engagement with a coherent customer journey.”

She cites 3 primary practices that make Game Thinking work:

1. Leveraging super fans to speed up iteration and innovation in the early days,

2. Creating a high-level vision for mastery path/customer journey that you can test and refine to get the right mental model, and

3. Creating a compelling learning loop that empowers your customers to get better at something rather than manipulating behavior.


You can learn more about the concept in her book, Game Thinking.

Sign up her free online course, Create Your Next Hit Service With a Compelling Customer Journey” here.

Thanks again to Amy Jo Kim for sharing her insights with us!

April 6, 2020

Celebrating Black Excellence with TikTok and BMF

In honor of Black History Month, TikTok held their first-ever Black Creators’ Summit last week in Los Angeles, at the Line Hotel.

The event was produced by BMF Media, who tapped Happily to build out a customized, VIP travel and registration management system for the attendees to use. We had 3 weeks for this project, from beginning to end - and with so many variables to manage, it was quite an exciting challenge!

Here’s a recap of the TikTok travel experience from the creators’ point of view:

And here’s how Team Happily pulled this off:

On the first day, the Enterprise customer success team at Happily sat down with BMF for about an hour to organize their ideas into a sitemap that could be shared with available technical freelancers on our platform to assess the feasibility.

Our specialists figured it would take 100 hours and 5-7 days to launch an initial working prototype.

Happily’s website development specialists built a registration website from scratch within a week, carefully designing it to fit within the pre-existing creative for the event and complex requirements of a highly customized registration experience. They programmed the back-end database to collect and organize each attendee’s general registration information, personal travel needs, and special details for a digital yearbook for the event.

Learning Page

The following week, we launched the site and our travel concierge team of rockstars Linette, Tamara and Da’Vida began collecting all the data necessary to begin booking air, ground, and hotel rooms for each attendee. One unique aspect of this process was that several TikTok creators coming to the summit were under the age of 18, so our team had to provide consideration for this by carefully designing systems of safety and compliance for creators requiring guardian supervision.

happilytravelteam

In the third week, our team finalized all the travel bookings and sent custom itineraries to the 150 registered creators, with whom we communicated via both email and text messages. Being able to communicate in such a modern way was extremely helpful given the young, tech-savvy, and mobile-reliant demographic of the creators using our interface!

Of course, things will always go wrong but Happily’s travel team was ready to save the day onsite and around the clock…

<a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@asha/video/6796020539686243590?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6796020539686243590" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://www.tiktok.com/@asha/video/6796020539686243590?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6796020539686243590</a>

The event was a huge success. Held over 3 days, the summit celebrated TikTok’s most creative and effective Black Creators, and offered them opportunities to meet not just each other, but also included educational break-out sessions with inspiring leaders. The creators enjoyed surprise appearances by Tyra Banks, Doja Cat, Terry Crews, Nick Cannon, Tracee Ellis Ross, and more.

<a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@auntieloren/video/6795739841825885446?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795739841825885446" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://www.tiktok.com/@auntieloren/video/6795739841825885446?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795739841825885446</a>

<a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@kidscole/video/6796370424600087814?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6796370424600087814" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://www.tiktok.com/@kidscole/video/6796370424600087814?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6796370424600087814</a>

Sponsors of the event included Beats by Dre, Fenty Beauty, Puma, and Lyft, and the unboxing videos were LIT.

<a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@kidrl/video/6795948721658973446?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795948721658973446" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://www.tiktok.com/@kidrl/video/6795948721658973446?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795948721658973446</a>

<a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@mandapandie/video/6796314027480976646?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6796314027480976646" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://www.tiktok.com/@mandapandie/video/6796314027480976646?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6796314027480976646</a>

But in the end, it’s the friendships and the power of the facts spread about Black Excellence on TikTok that made this event truly special.

<a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@docjp3/video/6795701197664783622?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795701197664783622" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://www.tiktok.com/@docjp3/video/6795701197664783622?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795701197664783622</a>

<a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@yeahitstyg/video/6795694099467980038?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795694099467980038" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="0">Embedded content: https://www.tiktok.com/@yeahitstyg/video/6795694099467980038?referer_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.happily.io%2F&referer_video_id=6795694099467980038</a>

We are beyond proud to have been part of this event and to have been able to offer this amazing service to BMF. We brought together the best of human talent and smart software solutions to deliver a custom website and full-service concierge experience for some of the most creative and interesting people in social media today.

See more about the event on TikTok following #makeblackhistory.

This was the third time a major brand has requested a specialized travel team from Happily, and we are always happy to help. We will continue exploring new, more innovative ways to offer VIP travel and production services in the future. If you have an interesting challenge ahead with planning your travel and registration experience, please reach out to us!

February 23, 2020

How to Hire a Customer Service Associate Fast

This year, Reforge teamed up with Happily to source a customer service and online support specialist during the registration and preparation process for their upcoming Spring Growth workshop series.

However, when it became clear to both parties that the person they hired wasn’t quite the perfect fit for the role, they needed to find a suitable replacement quickly.

Hire customer service specialist

The Happily team sprang into action to help, giving them free Enterprise-level service.

We posted online to a system-filtered list of 811 specialists and had over 250 people respond almost immediately that they were available and interested in the role.

We narrowed down that pool of applicants and conducted a pre-screening and group interview with 12 people to identify a shortlist of talent who were the most qualified and up to the challenge of the role. We presented our shortlist to Reforge, and after conducting a final round of interviews, they ended up hiring not just 1, but 2 people from Happily. Within a matter of hours, Reforge had replaced their staff, confident that they were in the very best hands possible.

Rachael Soares

We spoke with Rachael Soares, one of the Happily specialists hired by Reforge, who shared:

The group interview process was interesting, I’ve never done one like that before. This is my first gig through Happily, and I’m really excited about it. The opportunity is great, and so far, I’m really enjoying my time with Reforge and grateful to Happily for facilitating that connection.”

Of course, we always hope for a great experience right out of the gate, but solving unforeseen problems like this, and ensuring our client’s satisfaction and success, is one of the hallmarks of Happily’s own customer service experience. We are so proud to offer this level of access and service in a pinch!

February 17, 2020

Client Testimonial with the AKR Foundation

Happily teamed up with the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation to produce its first annual benefit party on October 17, 2019, at the Park West in Chicago, IL.

It was a full evening of entertainment, food, drink, and community while fundraising for ovarian cancer research and childhood literacy.

Yellow Umbrella Party 2019

In attendance were Jennifer Garner, John Green, Tom Lichtenheld, and Luke Sital-Singh who entertained the party, and helped fundraise for the AKR Foundation mission. Our team worked closely with Executive Director, Betsy Katten to make the Yellow Umbrella Party a night to remember and honor Amy Krouse Rosenthal in the best way!

Like all nonprofit organizations, this benefit meant a lot to the foundation and those who were there to support it. So it was crucial that we found the right person to work side-by-side with Betsy and her team.

Yellow Umbrella Party 2019

The AKR Foundation utilized our All-In services, which allowed our team to handpick event specialists and set-up the interviews for them. In a matter of a couple of days, Betsy was able to find the right person for the gig and was so grateful for our help she wanted to share her experience!

December 10, 2019

Client Testimonial with River LA

Jason Foster, the Director of Strategic Partnerships for a non-profit organization called River LA, had a big art exhibit with two guest artists to showcase at a 5,000 person event.

The day before the event, he got the most important call of his life that his wife was in labor. He immediately looked to Happily for a solution to have someone jump in and take over the River LA Art Exhibit.

Within hours, he was able to use the Happily platform to identify the right event specialist for the gig, make the payment for the hire and have her jump on that same day to take over the execution.

We are proud to be able to provide a platform that is designed to help clients like Jason and River LA, who are looking for on-demand solutions for quick turnaround projects. We look forward to continuing our work with River LA in the future and be there for our clients for whatever life throws at them!

December 10, 2019

LUMA's Digital Marketing Summit 2019 Highlights

The Digital Marketing Summit by Luma Partners is an exclusive experience for CEOs and Executives to connect and cultivate conversations for the future of digital marketing.

Team Happily worked with Luma Partners in the past and was brought back to work on their 5th Annual Summit that hosted 300 MarTech leaders in the Silicon Valley. We were excited to help manage the stage for an impressive guest speaker line-up that had industry leaders from major companies like Oracle, LinkedIn, and Quantcast, discuss exclusive digital marketing insight.

It was a special moment to be able to interact with the attendees and watch them get excited about the forward-thinking discussions they just had in their breakout sessions. Watch more of their sessions on demand and get a sense of what type of projects Happily gets to be a part of and join the fun!

December 10, 2019

Sarah Shewey on the Real Women in Business with Cass McCrory Podcast

Running the show is not always glamourous and it sure isn't a quick fix to being successful.

Get the real low down on the "Real Women in Business" podcast's latest episode Founding & funding a company, nurturing connections and the force of grief with Founder & CEO, Sarah Shewey and learn more about what it really takes to found, fund, fail, succeed, and be a great teammate from Happily founder Sarah Shewey.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!

October 28, 2019

Happily's Event ROI Calculator

Is Your Event Strategy Paying Off? How to Calculate Your Event ROI

by Sarah Shewey, CEO of Happily & Dustin Varty, Happily Braintrust

Originally published on TechCrunch

Events have increasingly become an important channel in the marketing mix, despite how notoriously “impossible” it is to measure the ROI, or return on investment. When people show up to your event, they are willingly giving you their attention for hours on end - not trying to avoid attention-grabbing ads.

A well produced experience provides a great way to reach outside of your existing networks, build a pipeline of new customers, transform existing customers into superfans, and position your brand as a thought leader. In 2017, only 7% of marketers said that events were their most important marketing channel. Last year, that number rose to 41% according to a survey done by Bizzabo.

As the founder of Happily, the largest network of event producers in the United States, I’ve had backstage access to thousands of events - some wildly successful like TED and others that didn’t ever get traction in building an engaged community.

Happily's Event ROI Calculator

What has defined the successful ones?

The experiential marketing industry has long struggled to measure success in a meaningful way. They propose all the same KPIs (key performance indicators), but rarely do those KPIs provide a benchmark to determine if an event is successful or give marketers the ability to tell what worked and what didn’t. They especially fall down when customers aren’t won until months after an event.

While increasingly important, events require a lot of time, resources, and exhausting weekly meetings to do them well. The per person cost for a modest conference with lots of donated services will cost around $350 and an upscale conference experience costs about $1,500. For one day. Per Person. So how do you know when putting on an event is worth the effort?

I started kicking around this question with one of the members of Happily’s network of executives called the Braintrust. Dustin Varty, who led experiential marketing campaigns at Impossible Foods and Samsung. Together, we came up with an ROI calculator at happily.io/roi to help you determine the efficacy of launching an event marketing campaign. Read on to step through our top line thinking behind the numbers.

Start with LTV

Events engage customers, creating an environment to build a relationship that can last for years. How many people do you know who have met a co-founder, employee, or even life partner at events? Now, how many of those have you met through an ad? Probably very, very few.

LTV

So we start to quantify the value of events by measuring the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. A simple way to calculate this is take the average purchase size and multiply that by both the frequency rate of purchase and customer lifespan.

So, if your customer usually spends an average of $1,000 once a month on your product and stays loyal for 6 months, your LTV will be $6,000.

Convert your NPS score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is historically the most accurate measure of a consumer's perception of an experiential event. A high NPS score of 10 means that a customer is extremely likely to recommend your experience to someone else, increasing network efforts that contribute to organic growth and reduce your cost of acquiring new customers.

NPS measures customer experience and predicts business growth in a very effective way, but what it doesn’t do is take into account your event’s performance relative to cost.

For a successful event where your average NPS score is 10, we know from industry research that 85% of people are likely to purchase your product.

Event Marketer

Let’s take a conservative estimate that actually only 10% of these people will spend the LTV we calculated above:

$6,000 LTV x 10% conversion x 1,000 attendees = $600,000

This suggests that your well-received event would yield $600,000 in increased revenues in the future.

Sum up your expenses

When calculating expenses, we add up these costs:

  • Production costs like venue fees, catering invoices, services and goods.
  • Marketing costs such as paid ads, social media content creation, PR fees.
  • Employee time being spent on the event.

Most people don’t take this third factor into consideration, but we caution against that. One of the most expensive parts of an event is the time to plan. At Happily we’ll see an average of 100+ hours of planning time for every 1 hour of event time.

Hours

Bringing It All Together

To calculate the final ROI, you’ll divide the net profit from the total expenses

  1. Net Profit = Total Revenue - Total Expenses
  2. ROI = Net Profit / Total Expenses

So for example if you made $600,000 in revenue and spend $350,000 on production, marketing, and staff hours then your net profit would equal $250,000. Your ROI would then be $250,000 / $350,000 = 71.4%

Event ROI

We’ve created a free Event ROI calculator online for you to make things a bit easier for yourself at happily.io/roi. The simple calculations above are also supplemented with logic around any social and PR media impressions earned as well as weighted by the duration of your event. Try it out and let us know your feedback!

June 12, 2019

Plenty Pop Ups

Plenty is a phenomenal company with the vision to make produce universally accessible, and they’re doing this through vertical indoor farms.

Happily has been helping them pop up every week in San Francisco and Seattle, giving the neighbors of their farms the first tastes of Plenty’s greens. (We’re obsessed with their arugula!)

We had a fantastic response, providing more than 10,000 samples (50%+ of attendees) and capturing valuable feedback for the marketing team.

Photos from the gallery here, taken by our friend Marla Aufmuth, are from our pop up at the Renegade Craft Fair.

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

November 15, 2018

Eric & Lauren's Big Day

Happily coordinated a beautiful wedding held on a family ranch near Ojai, CA for our dear friends Eric Jones of Jones Woodcraft and Lauren Johanson Jones of Chivas Skin Care.

The venue was completely built from the ground up, never used before, and in the middle of a canyon with the ceremony underneath a giant tree where Lauren would dream of love as a little girl.

Activations included:

  • Live band and dance floor
  • A baby goat as an usher
  • Mechanical bull
  • Video booth in a teepee
  • Farm-to-table fully locally catered meal
  • Chivas Skin Care gift sets for guests

Eric & Lauren's Big DayEricandLaurencaliforniaranchweddingweb-258 Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day EricandLaurencaliforniaranchweddingweb-431 Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day

December 31, 2016

Airbnb Open LA

Airbnb Open took over 4 entire city blocks of Los Angeles for an entire week to welcome 16,000 superhosts from around the world and debut Airbnb Experiences.

Activations included:

  • Live concert with Lady Gaga and Maroon 5.
  • Awards ceremony hosted by James Corden.
  • Talks with influencers like Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow.
  • Interactive installations with sponsors like Amex.
  • Workshops led by Airbnb employees.
  • 700 dinner parties at over 60 restaurants around LA.

Airbnb Open LA

Ryan Seacrest's Civic Entertainment Group executive produced and creative directed the festival. Just six weeks before launch, Civic tapped Happily in to take their plans cross the finish line with custom web app development and flawless ground operations.

Services provided:

  • Custom web application to manage the real-time assignment and tracking of 16,000 guests across 700 dinner parties.
  • Custom web application to manage the travel itinerary and schedule of events of thousands of Airbnb employees.
  • Oversee the Airbnb teams' command center and ensure.
  • Curation support and talent management to wrangle A-list speakers, ensuring they have a confident and enjoyable experience.
  • Write 100+ page handbook to train and manage the onsite concierge experience.
  • Setup and management of third party app to facilitate onsite check-in for awards ceremony.
  • Facilitate permitting and serve as tier 1 sponsor activation manager during the Lady Gaga concert.
  • Venue logistics to ensure plans for the experiential design, access, and guest security.

Airbnb Open LA

Airbnb Open won several awards, including Best Campaign of the Year.

Happily came out victorious in every area that it touched, bringing a polished and calm experience to the most hot-button touch points of the production.

  • Onsite signup for last-minute dinner party reservations were effortlessly handled in minutes with just a handful of staff due to the solid structure of our app build.
  • The employee event app was praised internally as "better than the third party app for guests".
  • Speakers had an amazing time, amplifying their backstage experience on social media.

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December 30, 2016