#9 On The Philly Top 100


“Did I already mention that we were #9 on The Philadelphia 100 Fastest Growing companies this year? I did? OK, then I’ll have a Venti coffee and a blueberry muffin, please.”

Yes, I admit I find myself boasting about this distinction with pretty much anyone who will listen – but if bragging about this incredibly cool award is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

      

While this accelerated growth in our first four years of business has exceeded our expectations, we are even more proud of the continued accolades we receive from our clients about the quality of our work, and of our incredibly talented team members. To that point, we are extremely grateful to all of our clients that have helped us achieve this honor. Many of our clients have become our friends – which is part of the reason why we all truly enjoy the work we do each and every day. Except for the work of entering tickets in JIRA, that’s not so much of an “enjoy” thing as it is a “tolerate” thing. (or so I hear – I lost my JIRA password four years ago)

Anywho, as I was saying… We’re psyched at the recognition of our growth – and going forward we will continue to remain laser focused on our core mission – bringing strategy, innovation, creativity and flawless execution to our brands and clients in a way that sets us up to win the “most reliable and coolest agency award” next year. (This doesn’t exist – but don’t you agree it should?) We often say that our success in business growth is about the strength and talent of the roles we play, more than it is about the actual growth in quantity of associates within our company. What this means is that we can proudly say that we are able to do with 2 Kazaamers what it often takes 5 competing agency team members to perform. And that number goes to 8 if one of those Kazaamers is Mark Stralka.

I had to fight for top billing over the New Hope 7th grade football team luncheon. Booyah – in your face, kiddies!

When I look back to what we’ve accomplished in just four years, I think of great moments like when we turned single projects into agency-of-record accounts, or when we had the opportunity to develop digital platforms and frameworks that are now used by some of the largest companies in the world. Our creative muscle has developed some of the most engaging, and award-winning advertising campaigns – driving interactions that have almost tripled industry standards for the online advertising segment of our business. Lots of great success stories – lots of wins for our clients and proud memories for us.

We’ve also created new solutions and products that exemplify the best in technology innovation. Mobile Locker is our first “official” product developed through our own R&D efforts, and has become the fastest growing segment of our business after only going live in mid-2011. Going into 2012 we are planning for our Mobile Locker platform to power a variety of business solutions including sales rep detailing, corporate asset distribution and synchronization, CME solutions, and many other innovative uses that our team members and our clients keep thinking up! We’ve also won distinctions we never even knew existed before we started our agency. “Advertiser of the Year” was a phenomenal success led by Andy DelQuadro – a man whose numerous talents are surpassed only by his number of daily Facebook logins. I kid because I love.

How about Tom asking us to do a silly pose for a picture? There is no way in a million years I’ll ever do that!

I know! Let’s march right into his office and tell him exactly what we think about his idea!

See more silly poses here: http://bit.ly/uXc8XH http://bit.ly/v02EOy http://bit.ly/trvNPd

To be even more nostalgic for a moment, I’ll still never forget the first $100 we ever made. We had a plumbing issue in our first office, which, by the way, literally hung over a towpath about six feet from the Delaware Canal. We successfully argued with the RotoRooter company for a refund of services poorly performed after some serious flooding of our first floor (admission: weonly had one floor). It was when I saw TJ and Mark taking turns victoriously dancing and holding this check over their heads that I knew we were destined for greatness – or at least careers faking slips in the supermarkets for insurance payouts.

Our humble beginnings.

A water view! And by “water view” – they meant, “This place is one rainstorm away from a massive flood.” And it was.

 

But it’s the PEOPLE we employ that, for me, have made our four year journey the most fulfilling and enjoyable of my career. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to find, steal, convince and post bail for some incredibly talented people to come join us. Personally, I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud, or felt more privileged, to work with ALL of the amazing folks on our team – even those whose names I don’t know. Like the guy with all of the tattoos, the girl who occasionally brings in a very tiny dog named “McKenna”, or the guy that used to work at Starbucks who actually spends time making his hair look like he just got out of bed. Kids today.

Shayne’s Interview was unconventional, but effective. And sexy.

It has been thrilling to watch some of our younger folks hired just a few years ago evolve to rock–star status professionals that are driving our business in a way they may have never imagined when they started. This is largely in part to the leadership that I’m fortunate and thankful to have by my side. I’m never too shy to tell folks that TJ, Mark and Deb are all absolutely the best in the business. I learn from each of them every day – and the passion they bring to their teams, their clients, and our business is the fuel that keeps our energy high throughout the day. Well, that, and the 31 average daily trips to Starbucks (an actual metric).

We’ve seen many of us around the office have children for the first time (or second, or third…) – and we’ve supported each other during times of both personal and professional crises. While “family” is often over-used when leaders describe their business – at the risk of sounding trite, I believe I can honestly describe our team as a dysfunctional family wrapped with a layer of talent and integrity with sprinkles of occasional bat-shit crazy. And love.

The first of many, many Kazaam babies.

But seriously folks, we really DO have fun at work (but not TOO much fun, as sometimes accused by certain not-to-be-named voyeurs of our blog and Facebook posts). The melodious laughter of a certain associate, the random singing by another, the debates over comic-book character strengths and weaknesses, the Monday morning weekend recaps of shenanigans and the Friday afternoon weekend planning for mischief, the happy hours that I don’t get invited to any more – and the super secret happy hours that are so secret, I don’t invite anyone but myself. The Christmas parties with the mysterious guy who always brings a bottle of Jack, the phantom spiders in the ceiling, the office pranks, the charitable events and efforts, the family get-togethers, the Halloween parties with embarrassed dogs dressed in costumes, etc. These are the moments that often pass us by too quickly – but we find ourselves thinking back to moments like these and realizing just how lucky we are to do work we love with people we sincerely like. And we can’t forget about our families and friends – who have been the most understanding and supportive over the years as we’ve had long weekends, sleepless and stressful nights, and have still greeted us with smiles after our long, crazy days in the office.

From the bottom of our hearts, to the tops of our pocket-protectors – we would like to thank everyone who has helped contribute to our success over the past four years. We believe that we still have many more surprises up our sleeves with some really cool solutions and innovative campaigns on tap for 2012 and beyond.

On behalf of our entire team here at Kazaam, we thank our clients, friends and families for your support of our business – and look forward to continuing this journey together!

Tom

  1. #1 by Patty Stevens on November 1, 2011 - 6:47 pm

    Great story Tom…I can remember it all from the first day…paint cans and brushes, lots of spiders and ‘things’ running through the ceiling.But it was a nice view! I wish the entire Kazaam team the best in the future…GO KAZAAM!

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