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The Chef’s Table

Created by the Chefs of Maggiano’s Little Italy

December 12, 2019

See what Kimberly Turman, Senior Account Executive at Champion and the lead on Maggiano’s PR team, has to say about Champion’s holiday season. They might be the “champions of the world.” Read more to see why!

Tell Us More about Yourself

I’m a Senior Account Executive at Champion, an award-winning Public Relations and Marketing agency based in Addison.  I manage a team of two Marketing Specialists that work with me on our clients, mostly in the restaurant and retail space. Previously, I was the Senior Director of Marketing for Gigi’s Cupcakes and I headed up Digital Marketing at Pie Five Pizza. Before that I worked at Texas Land and Cattle and Lonestar Steakhouse on the marketing and communications team.

What Do You Do

My team helps our clients – like Maggiano’s – connect their mission and values with their audience. On a day-to-day basis, we work on creating positive news coverage for our clients. I help create the overall strategy of how we’re going to do that and make sure that we have the right messaging, whether it’s coming up with a big splash idea, planning a grand opening, sending a chef on a morning show segment, bringing high-profile influencers into a restaurant or even planning a social media campaign. We craft narratives and create stories that get our client’s  message across.

Tell Us More About Your Holiday Party

Usually, Misty, our HR and Administrative Guru, plans most of our internal events. But since we’re all about teams at Champion, we formed an ad hoc holiday party team to plan this year’s celebration. Their job was to make sure everyone, including our plus-ones, has a great time. Of course that means we need delicious food and drink options, and a location that’s classy, but not too stuffy. We want to be able to let our hair down a bit, without getting out of control, of course. Last year we gave out fun awards that were voted on internally, such as Fashionista and Most Creative, to recognize different team members.

We’ve also started a tradition of making a holiday video for our clients every year. It’s fun and something a little different. Our social and digital media team handle all the production, from coming up with the idea and storyboarding to filming and then editing the content. Last year’s video was our team lip-syncing to ‘We Are The Champions’ by Queen.

Any Unexpected Moments You’ve Encountered

We do have our holiday party during the week, and being in the business that we are, we have lots of clients that have later hours. We never know when something might happen where we need to be there for our client, but so far we’ve escaped any unpleasant surprises.  

What Recommendations Do You Have

I definitely think choosing a place that has a set menu makes it really easy on the planning side.  You know what the expectations are going be in terms of cost and the guests can spend more time having fun.

Secret Santa or White Elephant

That is a tough one… I would say Secret Santa is fun because you get to find out fun things about what your coworkers like and sometimes you get somebody who you wouldn’t normally work with on a day-to-day basis. We’ve also done White Elephant at our holiday party and it’s fun to see what people come up with.

December 12, 2019

An April holiday party and white elephant…or what Reap Marketing might call wine elephant. Hear what Brice McBeth, Founder and CEO of Reap Marketing has to say about their holiday quirks.

Tell Us More about Yourself

My background was in Web Analytics in the 90’s back when there weren’t as many tools for measureable site usage. I was on a team at IBM that invented a software service to measure website data and provide more insights, for bigger companies to use and improve their overall marketing efforts. I left IBM to join the client side, to see what I could do and put some of my practices to use. I found that there was this missing piece in the agency world that understood how to take traffic and turn it into names, phone numbers, and email addresses of people who want to buy my product. After a couples years with that, left the company I was with to start Reap Marketing.

What Do You Do

We’re mostly a CRO & A/B testing agency. We’ve been working with Maggiano’s now for 10 years. Our core when we’re out looking for new business is mostly e-commerce businesses. We’ve been doing a lot of A/B testing, conversion optimization and most recently we’ve gotten into Amazon services to help optimize Amazon store. What we do also manifests itself into lead generation for most other businesses, or for restaurants its reservations, banquet leads or catering leads.

Tell Us More About Your Holiday Party

Over five years ago we used to have an early Christmas dinner on a Friday night, to allow for some recovery time. We would hang out and just tell stories about the year. Our agency was 20 to 25 people or so and we were trying to accommodate everybody which is never a good idea to begin with. We ended up having trouble accommodating anyone so we decided to shift our holiday party towards the beginning of the year, but come January everyone was done with the holidays and needed a little break.

It ended up being Easter before we got to our holiday party and it was a big success because it was such an off time so no one had any plans for the weekend that we chose. It was also fun to extend the holidays into the rest of the year and have an excuse to have a good dinner, we had the time to really focus on each other and share stories from the year. Due to all the fun we ended up having, it became a tradition to wait until Easter to have the holiday party every year. It’s been really effective for us and a lot easier to accommodate more people.

We don’t create a Christmas in April theme in the office or anything, although there was talk of still doing an ugly sweater contest one year but that hasn’t seen the light of day. We do keep spirits up through some gift giving with the leadership team to their staff members as a token of appreciation for what they do throughout the year.

Any Unexpected Moments You’ve Encountered

The biggest one I can think of is the year right before we moved the day we tried to host a party at a steakhouse in McKinney. It was the year it snowed really badly, so after trying to coordinate to everybody’s schedule we got snowed out the day of. Only two-thirds of the agency could attend in the first place and then half of the people who said they could attend couldn’t even get there. It ended up being only a couple people, and was really expensive because we had a minimum we had to meet and couldn’t reschedule it so that was a disaster in my book.

 

What Recommendations Do You Have

Get people involved with the planning! For something like that, I have a really good heart about it but I don’t have good mind for the details. My team is really good at taking my basic ideas and understand what I’m trying to do and really build on it. It also makes people feel more included and like their ideas are being heard. It ends up being an event that everyone participates in because there was more involved with it.

Secret Santa or White Elephant

White elephant! Last year we did an office party and what we did instead of a gift exchange was a box wine tasting. I bought 15 boxes of wine and after we tasted them we did a drawing where we basically drafted the remainder of the boxes for them to take home. So it was a white elephant inspired boxed wine tasting party.

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