Help! Philly needs a new brand

Philadelphia’s brand has been taking a beating lately, from flash mob violence to the newest low, a stupid Philly sports fan puking on a dad and his kids—on purpose. (I wish I was kidding.)

Besides the horror and disgust I feel, I am also angry. Why should idiots like this dictate our city’s brand?

Should our brand really rest on the shoulders of obnoxious drunk men or out-of-control teenagers? Should our brand rely on bad mayoral decisions or Eagles fans booing Santa?

The answer is no…and yes.

You see, the brand of a city is no different than a company’s brand. It doesn’t matter how many good citizens or employees you have if the bad news outweighs the good.

Think of AIG. Many hard-working employees there had nothing to do with the misdeeds of the company. Yet they were painted with the same ugly brush.

Philadelphians sick of the drama and trauma know how AIG workers feel. But how can we turn our brand around?

Patience is key, but so is having a solid, long-term strategy.

Hyundai turned their brand around, from crappy to Car of the Year. Converse sneakers went from invisible to invincible (without the public realizing they’re now owned by Nike).

Surely Philly can come back from flash mobs and puke attacks.

Yes, cities are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the same leverage over their citizens, sports teams, etc., that companies have over their employees. But, yes, we can still turn things around if the right people commit to change.

Steps to Philly’s brand recovery:

  • We can all work to understand the problem and know what our role is in causing it and fixing it.
  • Parents and citizen groups should organize and set a plan of action—things they can do on their own (like setting rules and curfews for kids) and things they need government help with (like finally improving Philadelphia schools).
  • Sports teams and local and state governments have to commit to solving the problem and involve the community in their efforts. (Mayor Nutter, how about fewer ribbon cuttings and more updates on how you’re solving problems?)
  • Laws and consequences must show that we’re serious about demonstrating and maintaining a positive brand. (Yes, this means curbing alcohol at games more if we have to.)
  • We have to live our good side and advertise what’s great about our city.

Philadelphia is so rich with history. We have wonderful museums, excellent universities, and top-rated medical centers. There’s so much to love about this city!

Did you know that we were ranked 27th on Bicycling magazine’s list of top bike cities? Or that we’re ranked the 5th best city for single women?

Are we building relationships outside of the city and state that promote all this goodness?

Are we making it easy for Philly residents to take pride in their city?

No. Not well enough anyway. And until we do, drunken idiots will rule.


Two interesting blogs I came across this week, but did not use in my blog are the ThirdWay blog and Old Magazine Ads. Check them out.


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