Marc Brownstein and Philadelphia Leaders Discuss the City’s Legacy At ThinkFest 2019

Philadelphia, PA, November 15, 2019 — The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania was crowded this past Thursday as people gathered for a networking lunch, panel series, and happy hour with a distinctly Philadelphian aura. The occasion: Philadelphia Magazine’s ThinkFest 2019 — a daylong conference featuring some of the city’s most influential business, media, and public sector leaders.

“In Philadelphia, the passion in the people fuels possibilities,” said Marc Brownstein, President and CEO of Brownstein Group, Philadelphia’s longest-running communications agency.

He was joined by City Representative Sheila Hess and Jeff Guaracino, President and CEO of Visit Philadelphia, for the second panel of the day, a discussion inspired by the festival’s hypothetical theme: The year is 2039 and Philadelphia is known as America’s greatest city. How did it get there?

While most panelists at the conference looked for answers in the near future, talked about ongoing projects, and prophesied about what might come, Brownstein, Hess, and Guaracino were tasked with unearthing the essence of Philadelphia’s past for new generations.

Their panel, titled “How We Embraced Our Legacy as the Birthplace of America,” offered some clues.

“It’s about the city of Philadelphia being diverse — that’s really a major strength for our city, and that’s something we are proud of,” said Hess. “Our identity as the birthplace of freedom and democracy is not in the past, it’s the future.”

“We are the original city of startups and founders,” Brownstein noted. Guaracino agreed. “One might call it a city of disruptors,” he said.

The three panelists — representing the city, Visit Philadelphia, and Brownstein Group — are working together as part of the Philadelphia Global Identity Project (PGIP). The consortium of local organizations is currently developing a global brand for the city in order to promote growth and greater investment in the region.

In 2018, Brownstein Group was selected to execute research and narrative development for PGIP. “The team at Brownstein Group did an extraordinary job on the research and strategy to create a global identity for our great city,” said Guaracino.

If there was one takeaway from the discussion, it’s that Philadelphia’s ongoing resurgence is all about the people—both longtime residents and implants—who are rediscovering the spirit of the city. As for how to get the word out, Guaracino had some thoughts:

“How do you as a marketer put Philly in a box? You can’t.” he said. “Philly tells the world who we are.”


About Brownstein Group

Recognized by Ad Age as a ‘Small Agency of the Year,’ Brownstein Group is the longest-running independent marketing communications agency in Philadelphia. Founded at the height of the Creative Revolution in 1964, Brownstein Group is a full-service agency with expertise across all disciplines, including: brand strategy, advertising, public relations, social media, and digital services. Brownstein Group specializes in crafting memorable campaigns that generate positive brand awareness, increased sales/leads, and measurable impact for clients like IKEA USA, Comcast Xfinity, Wawa, GIANT Food Stores, ACI Speedpay, NJM Insurance, and DuPont™ Sorona®. Ranked as an O’Dwyer’s Top 100 National PR Agency and one of Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work for Women, Brownstein Group is relentless in the pursuit of breakthrough ideas, but dedicated to its clients and people.


215 Broad Newsletter

Insights & news for unstoppable brands. Sign up now.