Getting to Yes: One Team’s Success Story

Ah, 2020…a year to remember. Most of us endured significant changes in how we work. But what if your business became almost unrecognizable? More than almost any other, the restaurant industry faced a moment where quick thinking and innovation were the only paths to survival. 

IHAF supplier member, Wripple, sat down with Chris Phillips, VP of Maverick Studios, the in-house agency at Inspire Brands (Arby's, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin', Jimmy John's, Sonic Drive-In and more) to gain perspective on his team’s journey over the past few tumultuous years. Chris joined Inspire Brands to build a full-service in-house capability. Previously, he led Jimmy John’s internal creative team, and ran his own agency before that. Fortunately, his combined experience equipped him well for this new role.

Without warning, Chris found himself leading a team of essential workers as brands looked to Maverick Studios to take on more, creating new content and experiences to address the challenges of the time. “I saw this as an opportunity to expand how the in-house team contributes to the business, building a better future for Maverick,” said Chris. Here’s how he did it:

Creativity Required. The Maverick Studios team had to step away from everything they knew. Time to throw out the old playbook and create a new one where the team could meet challenges in innovative, creative ways. “The way we worked before the pandemic wasn’t an option,” shared Chris. “We couldn’t have simple photoshoots like we used to—we weren’t allowed. We had a problem, a project, and we had to get creative to make it happen.”

Content. Content. With changing customer behavior during (and after) the pandemic, Maverick Studios faced mounting demand for content of all types. “The way content is consumed and the way customers make decisions are different now. The reach has changed significantly. It goes back to the idea that content is king like never before,” said Chris. His team had to embrace the demand for new content in real-time.

Seamless Teams. Processes and communication shifted to hyper collaboration with leaders driving unity across agile project teams. This was especially important when partnering with freelancers, who became vital to meeting clients’ needs. “Our key objective in using freelancers was to give our team the room it needed to rapidly expand and evolve their roles given the new reality we faced. Engaging specialists allowed us to manage surge capacity and be more nimble and quicker to market,” Chris added.

Moving Forward

“The pandemic shined a light on what Maverick Studios can deliver. We are more integrated and the results show it,” said Chris. “By moving forward boldly, our future is bright. However, vigilance is still essential.”  To maintain the spirit that carried them through the pandemic, Chris challenges his team to never stop improving the playbook and never let old-world thinking limit what’s possible.

Wripple is an on-demand marketing talent platform, matching organizations with top-tier vetted freelancers in real time. If your team needs access to a virtual bench, learn more at

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