The Most Exciting Band in the Land – exactly in this way people call the Ohio University Marching Band 110 from the United States. This group, the pride of the state, has accumulated millions of views on YouTube and blown the mind of famous pop artist Sia. Amazing marching musicians told about a part of an onboarding process in the band – the way they use WISP, a service for employee app creation.
“Holy crumbs! This marching band from Ohio just blew my mind! Better than the original ‘Alive’”, pop artist Sia tweeted after their halftime performance of her hit single during the Ohio vs. Western Michigan game in October, 2015.
The band was nicknamed the Marching 110, referring to the original number of members in the band. But today the number “110” symbolizes the 110% effort of its members during each and every rehearsal and performance. And it works! The Ohio University Marching Band is known around the world for its unique marching style and choreographed dance moves.
The Marching 110 has experienced some serious Internet fame and viral video sharing. First it was The Party Rock Anthem – this video alone has accumulated almost 10,5 million views on YouTube. More than 8 million views got Gangnam Style video.
These marching musicians from Ohio have played in the Inaugural Parade for Bill Clinton in 1993 and in three years they opened for the First Lady Hillary Clinton’s speech at Baker Center in Athens. One more interesting fact – the Marching 110 became the first marching band ever to perform in Carnegie Hall in New York.
“We perform at all of the Ohio University football games at halftime, a few parades each year, a few high school football games, and usually somewhere across the country on a road trip. Our most crowded shows are usually NFL halftime performances or large college football games. At one point, we performed in front of over 100,000 people, and the feeling is amazing!,” says Jeremy Harmon, Graduate Associate Ohio University Marching 110. “The Marching 110 have traveled to Canada, Rome, Italy, and Dublin, Ireland, for performances. On May 1st, 2016 we will be leaving for Paris, France, to perform near the Eiffel Tower, as well as on Normandy Beach”.
In the summer of 2015, Jeremy Harmon started searching for technological solutions that could help with the onboarding of new band members, to help them become integrated into the group.
“I was Googling applications that would allow me to post content or news and share it with some members of the band; I was checking out different options. I want them to get all of the information, no matter where they are right now — about rehearsal times, changing plans or schedules, places we’re going to perform, etc.,” says Jeremy. “Then I found WISP, and since it had a free trial, I decided to sign up and start working with the service. And we still use it to this day”.
Out of the 240 band members, 60 use it on a constant basis — all of them are students, those who need this app the most.
“Our staff meets before our school year begins to discuss the upcoming year and how to teach the new incoming members. This year, I decided to put our handbook materials on WISP instead of printing out paper copies. It is great to have the ability to attach media to the folders so the members can have instant access to materials. It is also used as a way of communicating information to the staff members about rehearsals or weekly processes within the band”.
The band uses its own branded version of the app, with their logo and distinctive green branding color.
“In the beginning, we created WISP as our own corporate app for our own employees at the end of 2014”, explains Vera Reshetina, founder and CEO of CactusSoft. “We noticed that not everyone was working with the default intranet solutions. Some people didn’t see this way of communicating as the most convenient one — you have to search through your bookmarks, etc. — because of this, some employees were missing critical corporate updates. We saw that as an issue that needed to be resolved, because we think that employers should be close to employees, and employees themselves should be close to each other. And what can be closer than a smartphone? We have them with us all the time, everywhere”.
That’s how WISP was founded. CactusSoft employees loved it — they used the mobile app far more frequently than they used the standard desktop solutions.
“Moreover, our service is a very simple SaaS-product built with HR managers in mind that helps to set up the corporate app for the whole staff in a mere 20 minutes, with no need for specialist help. We saw how helpful it had become for us, so why not offer this solution to other companies? That’s why we divided WISP out into a separate product”.
First of all, WISP was designed with medium-scale companies in mind and with an emphasis on remote workers. With our app, they receive the latest corporate news, get to know new employees and can communicate with each other.
“When we started developing, we thought that WISP would find its user base in the logistics, entertainment, medical, transportation, and other related industries. Most of our customers work in these areas; we have a construction company from Bahrain, a fitness club and a frozen yoghurt manufacturer from the USA, among others. But we also have customers in more unexpected industries, who we did not initially think of as our target audience, like the Ohio University Marching Band 110 in the USA, for example. They are amazing and we are happy to be connected with them!”
In 2015, WISP won the “Bel.Biz Battle” startup competition — this gave the team a boost in confidence, and everyone became more enthusiastic and engaged. Moreover, last year, Gartner published research describing how digital technologies will change employee engagement over the coming years. According to this research, half of employee communication will have transferred to mobile devices by 2018. By 2020, 20% of employers will list employee engagement as the priority task for HR managers in attempts to increase employee productivity.
Vera Reshetina concludes:
“Mobile devices connect people in their private lives, and we’re sure that in the next five to seven years they will connect them in their corporate lives too. People will engage with their work more, they will get more involved, and our app is going to play a key part in this development”.