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University City District: New Logo and Brand Identity

UCD logo

University City District (UCD) recently unveiled the first new comprehensive identity package for the organization and the area. Eric Goldstein, UCD executive director, shared the results of a year-long marketing strategic plan and unveiled a new logo and tagline for University City.

Mr. Goldstein explains that, "University City District was founded in 1997 to reinvigorate University City, the 2.2 square-mile neighborhood on the west side of downtown Philadelphia, by combating the issues of cleanliness and safety which threatened the community and to help change negative perceptions of the area."

Ever since then, UCD has worked to improve the quality of life for the area's residents, students, employees and visitors. The Public Space Maintenance program continues to significantly reduce litter and trash in the residential and commercial areas. The Ambassador Program has helped improve public safety in the neighborhood and, crime continues to steadily decline each year. The early initiatives and actions by UCD have been enormously successful and have played a major role in the ongoing revitalization of the neighborhood. While the Clean and Safe team was making measurable impacts in the neighborhood, UCD's marketing program was seeking to raise the profile of University City to both internal and external audiences through the promotion of events, publications, a website and other collaborative, cross-promotional relationships.

Last summer, after five years of substantial marketing efforts UCD felt it was time to step back and analyze all of their marketing initiatives, funding, allocations, and human resources. They looked at how their partners in University City market themselves and surveyed the public to see if negative perceptions of the neighborhood still exist.

It was decided that the development of a strategic marketing plan was the best way to meet their marketing objectives—to allow them to effectively, efficiently, and strategically market University City as a vibrant, diverse neighborhood. UCD then hired Kanter International to take a strategic approach to their efforts.

Key conclusions from the research include:

  • University City is no longer perceived negatively in the areas of cleanliness and safety versus other urban neighborhoods and is transitioning from the negative equity of the past into an extremely positive future—the research indicates that the broader market views University City neutrally or not at all, which gives us the opportunity to define our own Vision.
  • University City possesses the raw materials to become a distinctive community within this region.
  • Many people don't know what University City offers and for what it stands however, among those that do, the University City restaurant portfolio is our greatest immediate asset.
  • To ensure consistent, concerted brand growth, UCD must play a leadership role as the centralized marketing arm of University City as well as its brand manager.

As the process begins of advancing this cohesive vision for the University City brand, UCD must put forth a compelling, consistent look that clearly conveys the essence of what want this community is all about. 

UCD's marketing objective is to differentiate University City based on its unique assets.  In its abstraction, the previous UCD logo does not adequately convey the distinctive qualities of University City, nor does it suggest the leadership role UCD will play in the growth of the community. Thus, the report concluded that UCD needed a new graphic identity. Kanter International developed a new logo for UCD that supports the vision and embodies the positioning. After much dialogue and deliberation, multiple logo designs were selected and "tested" with a wide range of constituents. "We wanted to create a situation where the viewer must figure out the abstraction and discover the meaning of the graphic. The logo is intellectual, progressive, and unique, while the colors promote diversity and fun," says Goldstein.

UCD created a tagline based on location and the offbeat, diverse and funky offerings of University City. UCD is moving forward with promoting University City as "Left of Center."

Lori Klein Brennan, senior director of Marketing & Communications for UCD says, "UCD won't completely change overnight. We are having a phased roll-out of the new identity to keep in line with our normal purchasing and to be fiscally responsible. Over the next year, you will gradually see our identity change—from new marketing materials to vehicle identification to new uniforms. We anticipate this being a very positive change for both the organization and the community. UCD looks forward to the community adopting the new tagline. We'll be developing and packaging incentives for our partners to help us spread the word and to encourage them to link themselves with the new identity for University City. Look for the new ad campaign this summer and for things like new banner incentives, co-op advertising programs and much more." 

To download a copy of the condensed marketing strategic plan, visit www.ucityphila.org.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 1, July 13, 2004


July 13, 2004
Volume 51 Number 1


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