The Happy Medium holiday party is one of the favorite annual events hosted by the company. In a usual year, it’s an evening of quality time with each other spent celebrating our accomplishments of the previous year, while looking ahead and getting excited about the year ahead.
But in this year, which has been anything but typical, we knew that trying to replicate the experience of the holiday party without the ability to be together in person would be difficult. The idea of a Zoom holiday party sounded stale, and any other alternative to our normal holiday party fell flat when it came to creating a space where our team can celebrate and reflect.
This called for a complete rethinking of the purpose of our holiday party and what we can accomplish together as a team, even if we can’t be together in the way that we’re used to.
After a year like 2020, we knew the best way that we could come together as a team for the holidays was to give back to our community. And as a web design agency based in Des Moines, Iowa, we saw the need for our talented team to put our heads together for the betterment of the small, local businesses hit the hardest — restaurants and bars.
Restaurants and bars have been hit especially hard during this pandemic. Government and public health restrictions have forced them to limit or shut down in-person service, requiring them to lean on delivery and carry-out to stay afloat. This challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that most food delivery apps, such as Doordash or Postmates, can take up to 30% of a businesses’ revenue when they complete an order through the app.
That’s where we saw our opportunity for impact. In lieu of a typical holiday party, our team participated in a full-day “hackathon” to develop a website that connects customers with restaurants and bars in Des Moines. We wanted to highlight establishments that offer their own delivery or carryout, encouraging direct support, rather than ordering through costly third-party apps.
The hackathon started at 8 am sharp, with the goal of having a mostly finished product by 5 pm the same day– with plenty of breaks throughout to celebrate like a normal holiday party.
Each HM team member was assigned to a specific team, from PR and marketing to design and development, to help get the project off the ground. We were encouraged to collaborate with our own assigned team, as well as jumping across zoom meetings to connect with other teams to keep everybody on the page as the project progressed.
What started as a frenzied brainstorming quickly coalesced into a streamlined product that we named Eat, Drink, Swipe– a website where users can browse a list of Des Moines restaurants and bars offering delivery or carry-out or choose a “Surprise Me” option if they are feeling indecisive.
Serving It To Our Community
Our hackathon gave us a great opportunity to work and have fun with each other, but we knew the success of the project hinged on the community embracing the idea and local bars and restaurants feeling an impact.
We used our experience in strategic social media to connect with local influencers to spread the word about Eat, Drink Swipe and encourage others in the community to show some love to bars and restaurants in Des Moines with customizable Instagram story graphics.
This organic social media effort combined with a press release to local news organizations and a social media giveaway to bring awareness to the site and share the importance of supporting local in this tumultuous time.
Our current site features 244 Des Moines restaurants and bars, making it easier than ever before for hungry Des Moines residents to find something new to support in their community.
Proof Is In The Pudding
Numbers and analytics are still rolling in, but Eat, Drink, Swipe brought in over 1,800 unique users in the first two days after launch, with over 25,000 distinct “events” on the site (clicks, swipes, scrolls, etc.)
We saw widespread support of Eat, Drink, Swipe in the community, with several news organizations choosing to highlight the site and far-reaching support from individuals across social media.
Our team felt a great sense of accomplishment in the work we were able to accomplish in just one workday, and we felt an even greater sense of pride seeing our work embraced by the community. Of course, the greatest gratification we can experience is knowing that our work is helping support local businesses through this pandemic.
If you need a new website or a team to help promote your products and services, give Happy Medium a call.