Jan 8, 2018, 1:59pm
Philadelphia may soon have a better chance at pitching itself to compete for businesses — including the much-anticipated Amazon HQ2 — and spur investment and trade, and attract talent.
Philadelphia is among four U.S. regions selected by the Brookings Institution for a project in which city officials will test how to define and communicate a global identity by "increasing international visibility of its economic assets and competitive strengths," city officials announced Monday.
“Global identity is about how a large or small city-region can achieve more differentiation, visibility and recognition to compete for business and talent,” said Marek Gootman, Brookings fellow and director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives.
It's a major milestone in an initiative first reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal in June 2017 meant to pitch the city as a place for business and talent attraction, John Grady, president of PIDC, said in an earlier interview.
Through the pilot project, a group of Philadelphia-area business, government and civic organizations will undertake a shared strategy to distinguish the region in the global marketplace — with the end goal of spurring trade, investment, talent and economic relationships, according to city officials.
The program will serve as the next step in developing a cohesive brand for the city and region.
City officials said they've heard Philadelphia needed to do a "better job" at its branding to ensure organizations use similar language around the city's value proposition and how it's pitched, Sylvie Gallier Howard, chief of staff at the commerce department, previously told the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The commerce department last year convened a number of local organizations to identify what Philadelphia's key themes and messages should be, and to create and adopt a consistent brand.
“This isn’t a logo, slogan or sales campaign," Gootman said. "Greater Philadelphia will coalesce diverse stakeholders to project an integrated image telling the story of its purpose, value and opportunity at home and on the global stage.”
The branding is beyond tourism purposes; the global identity project is meant to be used in conjunction with tourism campaigns, targeted at employees and employers.
Nearly 40 percent of all global GDP now comes from cross-border transactions in goods, services and capital, according to city officials.
“Philadelphia’s continued participation in the Global Cities Initiative will allow the region to examine our existing strengths and opportunities in order to develop a compelling message about who we are that we can share with the world," Mayor Jim Kenney said.
International cities Lyon, France; Atlanta; Amsterdam; and the North West of Ireland Cities have become models of effective and unified marketing for business development.
A cohesive brand and value proposition would make it easier to pitch Philadelphia in its bids for businesses, including major conventions and corporation headquarters — most notably Amazon's HQ2 announced last year that sent U.S. and global cities into a frenzy of wooing the e-commerce giant.
Philadelphia's odds of landing Amazon's second headquarters improved in the last two-and-a-half months, but it's still a long shot, according to betting site PaddyPower, which gave Pittsburgh better odds at winning Amazon's second headquarters.
A cohesive brand and value proposition would supplement Philadelphia officials' efforts in strengthening business ties to foreign cities, including China:
- The Chester County Economic Development Council in October 2017 broke ground on a China-based mushroom facility.
- The Chester County Board of Commissioners in October 2017 formally approved a sister agreement with Funan County, Anhui Province, in China where the mushroom facility broke ground.
- City officials last year went on a three-week trade mission to Asia, including the chief executive of the Philadelphia International Airport.
- A five-person delegation in November last year went to South Korea to represent Philadelphia as a World Heritage City; Philadelphia was among eight cities selected to present at the 14th World Congress of the Organization of the World Heritage Cities.
The Greater Philadelphia global identity project will be led by the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, with Select Greater Philadelphia Council, Visit Philadelphia, PIDC and Campus Philly serving as project partners.