Midtown Village firm uses social media to blast your message

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER CEO Evan Urbania (left) and creative director Matthew Ray say they have serviced about 100 clients with their social-media company, ChatterBlast, since they launched in 2008.

EVAN URBANIA, 33, of Southwest Center City, and Matthew Ray, 43, of South Philadelphia, are co-founders of ChatterBlast Media on 13th Street near Sansom in Midtown Village. The firm builds online strategies to target customers through social media, multimedia and advertising. Urbania is CEO; Ray is creative director. I spoke with Urbania.

Q: How'd you come up with the idea for ChatterBlast?

A: After the markets collapsed in 2008, Matthew and I weren't working full time and had small consulting gigs. We'd been active in social media and saw more people using Facebook and Twitter. We thought there was a model where companies could use [social media] to enhance their business.

Q: How did you get the money, or did you bootstrap it?

A: We invested some cash and lots of sweat equity in a brand, website and digital presence to market ourselves.

Q: What's the biz do?

A: We develop social-media strategies. We're typically an outsourced extension of a firm's marketing team. We've done customer-service campaigns for the Philadelphia Parking Authority and creative campaigns for the Reading Terminal Market.

Q: How's the biz model work?

A: We work either on a project basis or a contract-and-retainer basis. It's all custom work.

Q: What do services cost?

A: Most of our projects are $10,000 or more. Our monthly retainers are $2,500 and up.

Q: Your customers?

A: We work with Dining Out for Life, Action AIDS and AARP-PA. We also work with Aqua America and PGW. We've worked with Reading Terminal Market to remind locals that it isn't just a tourist destination but a place to get your groceries.

Q: What's your most disruptive, creative project?

A: We did a project for a telecom in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We created a character that took a physical form and had actors running around St. John interfacing with people and on Instagram to promote a new service. The character was Evo Man, and Evo was an initiative to upgrade cable, high-speed Internet and telephone services.

Q: How big a business?

A: Eight full-time employees and five interns. We've probably had 100 clients since we started, and 15 to 20 active accounts at any given time. We do about $500,000 to $1 million in annual revenue.

Q: Where's it headed?

A: We want to work on bigger projects but keep our head count under 20. Big consumer-products companies have huge advertising agencies with gigantic contracts, and all we want is a little piece of that.


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