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IMC and Philadelphia
Tiersa Carlos, Carly Hyde, Talene Iskenian, Carrie Moses, Carey Shetterly
University of North Carolina Wilmington




Philadelphia, one of the 13 original colonies (shout em’, scout em’, tell all about them,
one by one, till we’re given a name to every state in the U.S.A), was named the first capital city
of America from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D.C. was under construction. Philadelphia
was established as a place where people could live without fear of religion. Many quakers,
founders of one of the most peaceful Christian movements, migrated to the city. Philadelphia
soon became home to multiple religions and ethnic groups. To this day, Philadelphia continues to
be a prominent mecca for cultural diversity. Philadelphia’s brand embodies the idea of love and
compassion, while the city thrives off of the unique community, history, food and art. Through
various strategies of integrated marketing and communication design, those outside of Philly are
presented with the opportunity to witness these key components to its brand and what it means to
be “from Philadelphia.”
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Known as the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia is bursting with history, culture, and a
multitude of attractions. According to City-Data, Philadelphia, has a population of 1,553,165.
This city is overflowing with a variety of components that make Philly the incredible city that it
is. Of the total population, approximately 41.6% of the individuals are black, 36.4% are white
13% are Hispanic, and 6.1% identifying as members of the Asian population. This city is also
composed of a myriad of people groups including descendants from Ireland, Italy, Germany,
Poland, England, and the Americas. The smallest percentage of representing people groups are
those of North American descent with 2.3%. Philadelphia is a city of various cultural
backgrounds which allows for diverse perspectives, and an inclusive atmosphere. (City-Data)



Philadelphia has been around since the early 1680’s, when the land was granted to
William Penn by King Charles of England (City-Data). Since the exchange of land, not just the
city of Philly, but the state of Pennsylvania has become the home of some of the greatest
historical moments in this country’s history. This includes the 1st and 2nd Constitutional
Convention, as well as being the second state to ratify the United States Constitution.
Philadelphia alone is home to Independence Hall, the signing place of the constitution, the
Liberty Bell, and the home of Betsy Ross, creator of the first American Flag (History). This city
provides many iconic sights as representations of what our country stands for today.
Along with its history, this city provides its residents and visitors with plenty of sights to
experience, as well as the opportunity to find out what it means to be a true Philadelphian. Philly
has many unique neighborhoods to visit. From Chinatown, to boho-influenced Cedar Park, this
city is bursting with rich flavor from around the world.
IMC and Communication Design
As defined at the beginning of the semester, integrated marketing communication is “a
strategic business process used to plan, develop, execute, and evaluate coordinated, measurable,
persuasive brand communication programs over time with consumers, customers, prospects, and
other targeted individuals” (Shulz). It is meant to persuade by all means of communication,
affect behavior not just attitudes, and also to develop effective communication with customers.
Communication design is the creation and use of various strategies to allow for some sort of
communication directed towards society (Aakhus). How do the two relate? Through integrated
marketing communication and communication design, strategies and techniques are created to
reach out to the community and various markets. Research is conducted on the target market, and



in turn, the appropriate strategies on how to influence behaviors are created through the process
of communication design.
IMC within Art and Food
From Broad Street, nicknamed the “Avenue of the Arts”, to the famous rivalry of Pat’s
King of Steaks and Geno’s, Philadelphia’s market thrives on the art and food industries. The
culture is saturated with diversity allowing these markets to expand and relate to many different
people. The Philadelphia Art Museum is an entire brand in itself. It is well recognized
throughout the country because of the many events that have taken place there, such as the
filming of the first Rocky movie. The museum reaches out to the community, and tourists alike,
by providing accessible and affordable options to experience the collections. On Wednesday
nights they offer a “pay as you wish” option (Philadelphia Museum of Art). The museum,
however, is not the only artistic aspect in the city. They offer all types of mediums to pursue.
Being as large as the city is, it attracts many big name live performances such as touring
Broadway shows, musical acts, and stand-up comedians. These events are usually advertised
through traditional media, like the radio or newspaper. There is also a large contribution from
social media involving word of mouth tactics.
Philadelphia’s restaurant and bar scene add to the lively atmosphere of the city. It
provides an atmosphere for each occasion. Whether you’re looking for a niche cafe or incredibly
fine dining, Philadelphia has a plethora of options for everyone. offers a list for
what they rate as the “50 best restaurants of 2015.” Scrolling through the list, they provide
hyperlinks to descriptions of the restaurants, their addresses, as well as beautiful photographs of
their cuisine. This is a perfect branding opportunity for those involved and should increase their
sales. It offers a variety of price points and cuisine styles (Etchell et al., 2015). Another huge



branding factor in Philadelphia food is the widely popular rivalry between Pat’s King of Steaks
and Geno’s. These two cheesesteak shops are located across the street from one another. Both
claim original ownership of the first Philly cheesesteak, though both make it in different ways.
Geno’s cuts up their steak, while Pat’s leaves their steak slices whole. The rivalry creates
business for both shops because tourists travel here to try both and decide what cheesesteak they
prefer most.
Communication design comes in to play in all aspects of these businesses. One fantastic
example is the “pay what you can” option at the museum. This is a communication design
technique used to entice families and new-comers alike to make a donation with a value of their
choice. It provides a forum for communication between the patrons and the museum that may not
have been available before. A communication design aspect of the food are the comment
sections of the websites such as Urban Spoon or Yelp. These comment sections allow the patrons
to write about their own experiences at these restaurants, as well as the restaurants’ responses.
Positive responses are an act of word of mouth marketing. This in turn promotes the business’s
History and IMC
The historical impact of Philadelphia has shaped it into the city it is today. In the heart of
the city lies Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Valley Forge National Historical Park, the
Betsy Ross house, and many other national landmarks. Philadelphia is where the founding
fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the creation of the American flag. From 1774
to 1800, Philadelphia’s history was tied closely to the American Revolution, and as a result,
many symbols and buildings from that era are open to visitors (Rowden-Racette, 2010).



As the birthplace of American democracy, its colonial past is a representation of this
city’s brand. Philadelphia markets their historic district, “Old City,” as an affordable and fun way
for visitors and their families to learn about American history. The idea of walking through the
city is coupled with the hope of having a physical experience of history, either as “the most
extensive and fun American history lesson you’ve ever experienced” or through particular timetraveling activities such as “taking a horse and carriage ride and traveling the cobblestone streets
as our forefathers did” (Memory Itineraries, 2012)
Philadelphia has used communication design to incorporate historic tours in certain areas
of the city. Families can even pre-order tour packages before they visit, which helps
accommodate those with a hectic lifestyle. These landmarks are also designed to be easily
accessible to those visiting the city, they have available times to see each, and people are never
turned away from learning about them. Philadelphia continues to be enriched with history that is
made available for and enjoyed by the public.
Community and IMC
Philadelphia’s intergenerational community of individuals highlights the result of a
branding tactic that creates a space in the city for everyone. (2015) is an
incredibly informative website that sheds light on a variety of strategies used to brand the city.
Here, individuals gain a better understanding of actions taken to turn collectivist’s ideals
belonging to Philadelphians into marketable brands. One of Philly’s most unique marketing
tactics is “Phillyosophy Advertisements,” which are posted online and around the city. These
billboards, posters, and online advertisements emphasize Philly’s individualized way of thinking. writes, “Run the steps like nobody’s watching” (“Phillyosophy Advertisements,”
2015). This graphic blends the historical Rocky stairs with a celebration of individualism, which



is how Philly has chosen to brand their way of thinking. Another example of a popular
Phillyosophy is “leave no cobblestone unturned” (“Phillyosophy Advertisements,” 2015).
Philadelphia’s rich historical background enhances brand appeal for those travelers seeking out
vacations with a patriotic theme. Every advertisement includes where the picture was taken to
encourage exploration of the city, while gently guiding travelers along. Each Phillyosophy is
ended with the phrase, “Signed with Love,” which incorporates the meaning behind the city’s
name, the City of Brotherly Love. (“Phillyosophy Advertisements,” 2015).
Through an evaluation of Philly’s urban demographics and sports relations, there have
been, and continue to be, multiple strategies enforced to rebrand the less than desirable travel and
living destinations in the city. As mentioned previously in the arts and history section, Broad
Street is an integral part of the city. Mike Tanier’s “A Philadelphia Nocturne,” (2013) explains,
“In an effort to boost some barrier neighborhoods, parts of Broad Street were renamed “Avenue
of the Arts” in the mid-1990s” (p. 195) This attempt at rebranding the historic city has led to
positive results, but Tanier does mention that, while Broad Street has been successfully
rebranded into a prosperous part of the city, “the title is ironic in a part of town where survival is
an art form” (Tanier, 2015, p. 196). Although Northern Philadelphia continues to be one of the
more dangerous areas of the city, the 1990s rebranding efforts were successful in regards to the
Southern regions of the city. Other regions of Philadelphia, such as Little Italy and Chinatown,
are two pockets of the city that invite individuals identifying as Chinese or Italian, as well as
anyone who wants to take part in these cultural norms, to come and share in culture and history.
(diPilla) This unique cultural celebration positively reflects the brand ideas of embracing heritage
and ethnicity.



Even though Philadelphia continues to rebrand its image, Little Italy and Chinatown
serve as constants. Another aspect that has remained the same, true to their native flavor,
sporting events in Philadelphia bring in millions of dollars in revenue each year. (Murphy, 2014)
Tanier writes, “Stroll through Center City…and you’ll find bistros and boutiques…but ask the
lawyer sipping cabernet sauvignon…about sports, and he’ll thump his chest and claim kinship to
working-class heroes, from Chuck Bednarik…to Dave ‘the Hammer’ Schultz” (2013, p. 198)
This hometown sports pride is iconic for onlooker, non-natives of Philly. Websites such as Yelp
and Google Review incorporate a digital word of mouth branding strategy that give potential
sports enthusiasts insight into firsthand accounts of everything from the overall experience to
minute details of sporting events. Word of mouth marketing tools are a necessary aspect of
strategic communication design. Businesses seek to take advantage of as many marketing tools
as possible to increase the probability that the product they are trying to brand and sell will be
successfully received by the population.
How can other cities/regions learn from this city/region?
Philadelphia is a city that is built upon American history but continues to thrive because
of their family oriented mindset, expanding art industry and a plethora of restaurants to visit.
Albeit, many cities in America are not founded on the history like the city of Philadelphia is but
they can utilize their own history to brand their city. As mentioned before, Philadelphia is very
family oriented and is able to attract families with a variety of activities to do, such as city tours.
This method of gaining visitors is a good way other cities can attract tourists. Also, Philadelphia
is very proud of itself and it is advertised as so. Confidence in one’s own brand is key when
trying to convince others. Advertisers and those in the marketing industry of other cities should
focus on this aspect when reaching out to their target audiences.



Philadelphia is successful in branding itself as a city rich in history, art, food, and the
community. It is a vacation destination designed for those who want to experience American
history, but also so much more. As a center of the arts, it is come to known as a cultural
experience one must see in Pennsylvania. The primary focus of this city is centered around its
community, which not only benefits the residents, but all people who visit the area.
Philadelphia’s brand portrays a positive city image in the United States because it is the
birthplace of America, but it has also grown into a place where the possibilities seem endless. Its
thriving economy, and independent minds movement creates an atmosphere brimming with
possibilities and culture.



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