By Brian Anderson Photography by Melissa Kelly Photography (melissakellyphotography.com)
There’s no receptionist at Crossmedia. There isn’t even a reception area. That concept is foreign at a company like this — it’s a workplace where collaborating and talking to your peers is how work gets done.
Crossmedia moved its Philadelphia office from Radnor to Manayunk a few years ago, and finally settled in an unassuming building on Rector Street in April 2017. It sits across from Bourbon Blue, backing up against the Schuylkill River Trail, and identified only by a neon “X.” The media agency prides itself on data and analytics, lives on authenticity, and celebrates with Burger Fridays.
“We work in advertising. Do we have fun? Of course we do, but this is advertising — you’re supposed to have fun,” said Chris Ebmeyer, the Managing Director in the Manayunk office. “You’re supposed to come to work and be creative.”
Crossmedia embodies the “work hard, play hard” philosophy. Come to work in a pair of comfortable, worn-in jeans, throw your latest playlist on the SONOS sound system, and pop out for coffee on Main Street when you need a caffeine fix. On a Friday, migrate upstairs, sit at a high top and watch a movie on one of the big-screen TVs. Maybe even pour yourself a beer. They’re serious about Burger Fridays, too. What’s the opposite of a corporate environment? That’s Crossmedia.
“Of course, the ‘work hard’ part of the equation comes first,” Chris said.
The firm’s foundation is media planning and buying, but it delves into everything from social media and SEO, to advanced analytics and consulting. Crossmedia’s client roster includes local organizations and national brands (spanning from The Philadelphia Zoo to Advance Auto Parts and White Castle), and collaborating with colleagues in New York or Los Angeles is part of the daily routine.
“People work really hard when they have something to work for,” Chris said. “We trust them and it’s repaid with hard work.”
Brian Linz, the Operations Manager at Crossmedia, said the team’s core philosophy rests on teamwork, collaboration, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Collaboration, Brian said, creates flexible work roles and employees are encouraged to be creative and champion new projects. Everyone can contribute, he said, and every team member’s opinions will be heard and recognized. If you have an idea, let’s hear it.
This philosophy permeates the culture at Crossmedia. If you have a new solution to a problem, speak up and solve it. If you have an idea for lunch, share it at the all-hands-in Tuesday meeting. If you went to a concert and heard a killer new song, create a playlist for the SONOS. If you want to play in a rec league, there’s a company softball team. (Truth be told, the team wasn’t much of a contender. “We did have great uniforms, though,” Brian said.)
“It speaks to the diversity of who we are as a culture and a community,” he added.
And business is booming, said Gerard McKee, a group director at the firm. Crossmedia’s Manayunk office employs more than 30 media-buying and data-analytics professionals.
A majority of Crossmedia’s local professionals are just that — local. “A good bench of talent” funnels out from the region’s higher education pipeline every year, Gerard said. He added that while the city isn’t home to many of the heavy hitters, the region is a talent incubator because local, independent media agencies aren’t afraid to compete against national agencies.
And unsurprisingly, a few Crossmedia employees call Manayunk home.
“We’re a Philly agency of Philly people,” Gerard said. “That sense of community, of everyone knows each other really well, pervades the agency.”
That might be why Crossmedia feels so authentically Manayunk. Its culture jives with the laid back atmosphere up and down Main Street. If it’s 5 o’clock on Friday, you might spot a group from Crossmedia tucked in a booth at a bar on Main Street. This is the kind of company you’ll find having lunch at a taco joint, not a steakhouse. Brian said Manayunk was the right blend of convenience and small town feel — all while keeping a Philadelphia street address.
“That’s one of the reasons we stayed in Manayunk, and to have an office like this is really cool,” Brian said.
Let’s talk about the office. It’s bright with lofty ceilings, and a long bar and high tops invite you into the main space. Downstairs, exposed stone and the large open floor plan, devoid of cubicles, creates a real sense of inclusion. Did we mention the building dates back to the 1880s, was founded as a mill, and was later converted to produce gunpowder and dynamite? (Could you get more authentically Manayunk?)
But is Crossmedia dreaming of a bigger and brighter space? Do they plan on packing up and settling down on Market Street, or in Old City, or out in the ‘burbs again? Not in the foreseeable future.
“Manayunk works for us. It allows us to have more fun,” Chris said. “It’s the best small town in the best big city.”