If Kevin O’Connell could give one piece of practical advice to aspiring media professionals, he would tell them, “Audience always comes first!” O’Connell has been working hard at figuring out audiences for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, Inc. since 2001, when he joined the business. Today, he serves as senior vice president of marketing for the company, which operates restaurants and foodservice operations across the mid-Atlantic, including Eat’n Park, Six Penn Kitchen, The Porch at Schenley, Hello Bistro, Smileycookie.com, Delicious Raw, and Parkhurst Dining.
According to O’Connell, each of the seven company brands speaks to a distinct audience and requires a unique brand “voice.” “You must be able to put yourself into the audience’s shoes,” he says. “What are their passions, needs, and desires? What do they want to know? Why should they care? This kind of thinking takes practice.” O’Connell earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. As a manager with Anderson Business Consulting in the mid-1990s, he helped implement the first customer loyalty program in the mall industry.
Today, O’Connell leads a staff of several dozen marketers at Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, Inc. His department provides full-service marketing to the company, from public relations and project management to graphic design, digital, and business-to-business (B2B) support.