Trying To Get A 'Feel' On Selling Phila.

Posted: June 02, 1988

Some of the region's best corporate and marketing minds gathered yesterday to come up with a way to promote Philadelphia as a world-class city.

This slogan is one of the ideas they came up with:

"Philadelphia: Our Future is Brighter Than Our Past."

And this:

"Get the Philadelphia Feel."

There was no explanation of whether "The Philadelphia Feel" is something to be sought out or something to be reported to the police.

In defense of the gathered dignitaries, these phrases were a few misfires culled from a long list of ideas that grew out of an all-day brainstorming session sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Economic Development Coalition. The coalition is a non-profit group funded by local corporations.

The coalition invited more than 100 corporate executives and marketing experts to the Rorer Group headquarters in Fort Washington yesterday to find ways to send out a positive image of the region to rest of the world.

The attendees huddled in small groups, then compared notes and made suggestions on ways to improve Philadelphia's national and international status.

Almost every group came to the same conclusions: the Delaware Valley has plenty of world-class assets - from its cultural institutions, to its sports teams to its heritage. Now, the region needs a plan to promote those assets.

"It really all comes down to coordinating these messages and communicating them to a wider group than we have in the past," said Kevin Manning, dean of development at Immaculata College, one of the participants.

"What we need is a blueprint, and someone to help us to create a framework to work in," said Patrice Nelson, executive director of the coalition.

To that end, she said, the coalition is in the process of hiring a firm to develop a "rough draft" of a regional marketing strategy. She said the group will reconvene in the fall to review the draft, and to establish a comprehensive, long-term promotional plan.

"I want the representatives from the various counties to take the lead in formulating the plan," Nelson said. "The process requires that all areas of the region play a role."

Representatives of suburban counties agreed.

"We really have to buy into whatever plan is developed," said Bettina McGarvey, director of the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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