Philadelphia – City of Brotherly Love

May 13 2024

Faces and Markets of PRGN is a new series of blog posts in 2024 that puts PRGN member agencies and their markets in the spotlight.

Each week, expect to read about a market from an economic, business and communications point of view, brought to you by the very people living and working on the ground in that country, state or region.

The blog pieces illustrate the vast amount of in-depth knowledge of business, media, communications and marketing PRGN brings together having presence in more than 40 countries and 70 cities on six continents through its member agencies globally.

In this week’s blog post, Anne A. Buchanan, APR, President of Buchanan Public Relations describes the business and communications environment in Philadelphia and offers advice to businesses navigating her home market.

Business Environment in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, and the sixth largest city in the U.S. – a fact that outsiders often forget, given its situation between super-cities New York and Washington, D.C., Philadelphia is a true East Coast city – cosmopolitan, international, trendsetting. It is a stark contrast from Pittsburgh on the western side of the state, which behaves more like a Midwestern city – friendlier, slower-paced, more provincial.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia describes the region’s ecosystem as a “connected, collaborative, accessible environment,” which is ripe for business growth.

Technology and innovation thrive in this region. It is home to a number of technology hubs, startup incubators and accelerators, and angel investors. In fact, it is considered one of the best places in the country to launch a startup.

Philadelphia is also known for its “meds and eds.” It is one of the top markets for life sciences and is home to one of the highest concentrations of life sciences researchers in the United States. It boasts some of the country’s most prominent hospitals and healthcare systems and is a leading market for cell and gene therapy.

The city is home to 32 colleges and universities – including Ivy League school University of Pennsylvania – with dozens more in its surrounding counties.

Communications, Media and PR Market in Philadelphia

Philadelphia boasts a robust media landscape comprised of major broadcast stations, daily newspapers, hyperlocal publications, and a wealth of business and niche outlets. But while the media landscape is rich, it’s also notoriously difficult to cut through the noise. Philadelphia media behaves much like New York media, in terms of difficulty securing coverage.

Historically, relationships were everything. Today, we see more turnover in newsrooms, meaning that attention-grabbing subject lines and poignant pitches often hold more weight than an existing connection. Newsrooms are also thinning out, and reporters are covering more beats. This means their priority is generally breaking news, and they must be selective with the stories they choose to cover with their limited bandwidth.

Because newsrooms are smaller here than they once were, it is not always possible to get journalists to cover a story on-site. Whenever we can, we package the complete story (press release, quotes and sound bites, photos and b-roll footage, fact sheets) to share with those who cannot be present to cover it.

Key expertise of Buchanan Public Relations

Buchanan Public Relations specializes in:

  • Public relations
  • Digital communications
  • Crisis communications

We have deep expertise in professional services, financial services, health care, higher education, consumer packaged goods and nonprofit industries. We take a highly strategic approach with all of our clients and focus on building communications that drive business outcomes.

We are the premiere crisis communications firm in Philadelphia, serving as the agency of record for a national insurance carrier. When one of their insureds faces a reputational matter, we are on call to provide counsel and communications support.

Top 3 Advice for Companies Seeking to Navigate the Philadelphia Media Market

1. Do Your Research:

The beats of Philadelphia journalists can change rapidly. Understand their current focus and research recent, relevant stories before pitching. If you can relate your story to a recent story of theirs, it can significantly increase your chances of getting a response.

2. Localize the Story.

The Philadelphia market is competitive and has a ton of local pride. Journalists here don’t want to hear about a grand opening or event that’s happening two hours outside of the city. Some journalists have even taken exception to a local story that was pitched by an out-of-town agency. Every single story must have a local tie to the city or its immediate neighboring counties.

3. Take Risks.

Philadelphia is brash and bold. And in a media market as competitive as ours, stories need to be truly attention-grabbing. You must find a way to differentiate the story and concisely tell what makes it so unique.

Most Influential Media for Consumer Communication

The top daily newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, along with the major broadcast stations (6ABC Action News, NBC10 Philadelphia, CBS Philadelphia and Fox 29 News Philadelphia) remain the primary channels through which consumers and the public seek most of their local news. The Philadelphia Inquirer goes to print seven days per week and is also available online with a digital subscription. The broadcast stations air news on television throughout the day and publish many of their stories online for free. Additionally, most of the suburbs each have their own daily local newspaper, which is often the go-to choice for printed news in those communities.

Most Influential Media for Corporate Communications

The Philadelphia Business Journal has long been the holy grail when it comes to business news in this region, capturing stories across a range of industries, from real estate to health care, and to food and lifestyle to banking. It’s available in print and online with a subscription.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is also a top choice for business news. As the most widely read publication in our region, it appeals to consumers and businesses alike. In particular, its Daily News edition remains widely read.

WHYY serves as the region’s local NPR radio and television station. Most business leaders in the region will listen regularly to stay abreast of relevant local (and national) news.

Another key business outlet is KYW news radio. It broadcasts an all-news radio format and is one of the oldest radio stations in America.

And particularly because the startup market here is so hot, Philly is among the most influential mediums when it comes to technology and entrepreneurial news.

The most popular social media channels

Information on the number of Philadelphia users by channel is not available. Below are the most popular accounts on each channel in this region.

  • YouTube: Juicyjas (Beauty/Lifestyle) 1.1 million subscribers
  • X: Philadelphia Eagles (Sports) 3.8 million followers
  • Instagram: New Heights Show (Sports) 2.5 million followers
  • Facebook: Chris Cho (Food) 3.3 million followers
  • TikTok: Tanara Mallory (@tanaradoublechocolate) (Comedy) 3.7 million followers
  • LinkedIn: Angela Duckworth, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, 888,000 followers
  • Snapchat: Philadelphia Flyers (Sports)

Most important international events in Philadelphia in 2024

A major sports city, Philadelphia will host six matches in the 2026 World Cup. They will be played at Lincoln Financial Field.

For a real Philadelphia experience, visitors should check out a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game at Citizens Bank Park between April and September or catch a Philadelphia Eagles American football game at Lincoln Financial Field between September and December.

Philadelphia is also the birthplace of America. History lovers should not miss Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, Elfreth’s Alley and other sites.

Philadelphia by the Numbers*

Population 1.6 million
Languages spoken American English
Religions (% of population) Christian (68%), Non-Christian Faiths (8%), Unaffiliated (24%)
GDP per capita $63,519 (2017– last measured)
(Real) GDP growth rate 7.8% (2021-2022)
Inflation rate 3.4% (Feb 2024)
Unemployment rate 4.3% (Jan 2024)
Key sectors and industries Finance, Telecommunications, Insurance, Computer-based businesses, Biomedical, Health Services, Education, Publishing, Tourism
Mobile penetration (X per 100 people) 88 (2021)
Internet users (% of population) 85.2% (2018-2022)
Corporate profit tax: 3.75% (2023 – resident rate)
Rate of consumer tax or VAT: 2% (2023 – plus a 6% Commonwealth tax)
Anne A. Buchanan, APR,
President, Buchanan Public Relations

Anne founded Buchanan Public Relations in 1998 after leading the PR department of a large Philadelphia advertising and PR agency for nine years. Prior to that, she held communications positions in the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and at Mellon Bank and was a reporter for a chain of papers in the Pittsburgh area.

Anne was one of the founding members of PRGN. She has twice served as President and was PRGN’s first Regional Vice President of the Americas. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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