During a year of unprecedented turbulence, Crosby was content to keep the ship on course.

Agency revenue inched up 1% in 2021, to $29.4 million from the $29.1 million generated during 2020. Similarly, head count increased modestly, with the agency growing from 99 full-timers at the start of 2021 to 107 at its conclusion.

Crosby didn’t rebrand or add a practice area or make any other headline-worthy changes. It just went about its business, and did so with the skill and attention to detail that has long been its trademark.

“One of the nice parts about the kind of work Crosby does and our whole mission of inspiring actions that matter is helping our clients contribute to the greater good,” said agency president, CEO and namesake Raymond Crosby. “As the pandemic went on, we were able to help communicate a lot about mental health issues, health equity issues and telehealth programs, and ultimately improve people’s lives.”

To a client roster already featuring Kaiser Permanente and Shriners Hospitals for Children, Crosby added assignments from RefuahHealth, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and the United Urology Group. Raymond Crosby is especially proud of the company’s expanded work with the federal government, which he describes as “one of the anchors of our business.”

In 2021, that meant engagements with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

Given that it doesn’t feature a single traditional pharma company, Crosby’s client roster helped distinguish the agency among would-be employees at a time when such individuals were in short supply. Leadership-level additions included EVP, executive creative director Robert Schnapp; VP, technology project management Cheryl Donaldson; VP, digital creative director Marcos Ballestero; and VP, senior strategist Abbey Melzer.

With the country roiled by issues related to DE&I, Crosby made a point of attempting to effect true change. The agency made a $100,000 grant to a local community college to pay the tuition of four students with diverse backgrounds who are pursuing careers in PR, writing, graphic design or
web development. 

“The whole idea is to attract more diverse candidates into the field — because right now, everybody’s trying to hire more diverse staff members and they’re just taking people from other firms,” Raymond Crosby explains. “What we need to do is increase the pool. This donation is something that we hope becomes a model for other companies to emulate.”

Crosby is also minding its company culture. In addition to giving its blessing to flexible work arrangements, Crosby brought back its annual company party after a two-year hiatus, complete with a flyover from the Blue Angels. 

“We’re definitely on an upswing, but there’s still some leftover fatigue from the last two years,” Raymond Crosby notes. “We’re continuing a lot of staff engagement activities and doing other things to bring back the fun and spirit of the great work we get to do. You need to have that full-time optimism.” 

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Work from outside pharma you admire…

I’m a big fan of the Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels campaign, which promotes greater acceptance and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ability. It’s great to work with a powerful purpose that’s really needed right now. — Crosby