PHILADELPHIA – Today, the City of Philadelphia announced it was selected as one of four U.S. city-regions that will test how to define and communicate a “global identity” by increasing international visibility of its economic assets and competitive strengths. Through this pilot project, a coalition of business, government, and civic organizations in Greater Philadelphia will undertake a shared strategy to distinguish itself in the global marketplace, spurring trade, investment, talent, and economic relationships. This will also serve as the next step in Philadelphia’s pursuit of developing a cohesive brand for the city and region.
This effort builds on Greater Philadelphia’s continuing participation in the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, to strengthen the international economic connections and competitiveness of city-regions. Through GCI, Philadelphia previously created a three-year metro export plan for the region, and currently is exploring tools for prioritizing target markets and models to establish economic partnerships with international counterparts.
“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. “This isn’t a logo, slogan, or sales campaign. 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.”
Nearly 40% of all global GDP now comes from cross-border transactions in goods, services, and capital. With increased mobility of people, institutions, innovation, and investment, international awareness and reputation of a city-region correlates to attraction of economic activity and talent. More than tourism promotion or site selection, global identity combines visitor, investor, innovator, and resident brands into a common effort. It also demands new collaborations among private, public, and civic actors that do not normally view themselves as contributing to the global competitiveness or visibility of their metro area.
“In an increasingly global economy, the need for an internationally recognizable brand identity is more vital than ever before,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “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.”
In the spring of 2018, the City of Philadelphia launched an effort to begin building out a plan for more effective, cohesive marketing of the region for business and talent attraction. Participation in the global identity portion of GCI will help guide the City and its partners as they continue to make decisions about new branding and messaging. During the process of bidding for Amazon HQ2, Greater Philadelphia created a number of promotional materials, which officials plan to incorporate into their strategies during the GCI initiative.
Selected by Brookings through a competitive application process, Greater Philadelphia will join Atlanta, Columbus, and Louisville producing locally-tailored global identity strategies and implementation workplans. In addition to facilitating the local problem-solving and peer learning process, Brookings will produce a report analyzing global perceptions of Greater Philadelphia and offer programmatic insights from international research and case studies. Brookings then will publish GCI briefs that feature lessons from Greater Philadelphia to inform other metros on how to approach this challenge.
“Establishing a strong global identity and brand has never been more important for a city or region to remain competitive in the ever-growing international economy,” said Mark Schrieber, managing director and regional manager of Greater Philadelphia middle market banking for JPMorgan Chase. “We’re confident this cohort will show that while Greater Philadelphia is already a strong market, it has tremendous potential, and continues to increase opportunities for both businesses and talent.”
The Greater Philadelphia global identity project will be led by the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), with Select Greater Philadelphia Council, Visit Philadelphia, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), and Campus Philly serving as project partners.
The Global Cities Initiative Exchange is a learning and action network designed to strengthen the international economic connections and competitiveness of city-regions. Exchange participants develop and implement strategies that boost global trade and investment, forge partnerships among U.S. and international metropolitan areas, share promising practices, jointly solve problems, and advance supportive public policy changes. Thus, the Exchange enables local leaders to translate research and ideas generated by the Global Cities Initiative into tangible action for economic growth.