ALLENTOWN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT corporation
Allentown has seen an urban revitalization in business and manufacturing industries, in part thanks to the Allentown Economic Development Corporation. The AEDC has undertaken massive projects, helping with the development of the PPL Center, Three City Center, America on Wheels Museum, and numerous other buildings.
Since 1979, the AEDC has done a lot for the Lehigh Valley, yet their work often goes unnoticed by the general public. That’s why we’ve been working on new brand standards, an updated website, rebuilt logo, physical marketing materials, and more to show the people of the Lehigh Valley the importance of the AEDC.
"I appreciate them taking the time to educate themselves on our complex industry."
-R.Scott Unger, Executive Director, AEDC
Among the variety of projects we've been engaged to work on for the AEDC, our proudest accomplishment is the development and rollout of their new brand. We jumped at the opportunity to work on this project, as we are enormous fans of the AEDC and the work it has done. That, combined with our renowned expertise in branding, was a match made in heaven. For this project, our goal was to create a brand presence that was eye-catching, conveyed the work the organization does, and make them look and feel more contemporary.
As we embarked on the process of discovery, we found that the AEDC had established a comprehensive marketing plan centered around a rebranding initiative that included not just an updated logo, but three additional companion logos for its three key business areas – Bridgeworks, Urban Made, and Urban Sites.
To make AEDC’s goals more understandable, we crafted dedicated (but complimentary) branding around those three established pillars, or sub-brands, which helps define what each represents.
Urban Sites, which concentrates on brownfield reclamation projects, undertaking rehabilitation of buildings with perceived environmental issues.
Urban Made, which is a combination of business interaction and loan programs for emerging small businesses, helping with loans for equipment, expansion, operating costs, while making sure businesses in Allentown are getting what they need from the city.
Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, which is a business incubator celebrating their 30-year anniversary, and one of the few in the country concentrating on manufacturing businesses.
Combined, these three pillars make up the AEDC. We hope that the public can be more aware of the AEDC’s efforts in launching more jobs and benefitting the Lehigh Valley community.
The next step in rebranding was a redeveloped website that features a user-friendly, responsive design, allowing for an improved customer experience.
The first step for the website was to create a wireframe (a rough blueprint) for the site. This gives the client a sense of what the layout of the new site is going to look like and how customers flow through the site.
“The website is there to educate and convert traffic into clients,” explains Evan. “Specifically for the AEDC, that is incubator tenants, loans, and real estate.”
After we developed a strong layout, we started to create content for the website. We built custom graphics, wrote the descriptions for the individual sub-brands, outlined each step of the business incubation process, discussed loan & incentive programs, and talked about the past and present projects from the AEDC.
“The new site brings AEDC current with the design trends and best practices for websites today,” said Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Program Manager Anthony Durante. “It simplifies how users can find out more about what AEDC does and then connect with us.”
Looking at the website, we designed the homepage to feature a simple layout that shows who AEDC is, what they do, and their three sub-brands. Clicking each sub-brand will lead you to what each service provides.
Bridgeworks explains what the business incubation program is and how it works. It also includes information about the Makerspace and the MAKE Lehigh Valley initiative, where builders can work on projects with the necessary tools provided.
Urban Made discusses how AEDC helps local manufacturing companies grow and reviews the many loan programs it manages.
Urban Sites reviews the nonprofit organization’s capabilities with brownfield redevelopment of existing manufacturing sites.
News section features recent press releases and blog posts describing work done at AEDC.
About section recaps the organization’s 40-year legacy of success dating back to 1979.
Once we had all the content laid out, we built the actual website, slotting in information with other design elements like graphics, and photos to create an optimal user experience. After we had a working site, it was time for another round of reviews. We presented the site to key stakeholders, including AEDC staff and board members. Taking their feedback and input into account, we revised the site, and performed another client feedback loop.
Seeing how close we were to launching the finished website, we did a final review with a copy editor and developer onsite so we were able to quickly and easily make any needed changes. Once the site went live, we continued to monitor for any broken redirects, 404 errors, or missing content.
“Moving forward the new brand, look, and messaging will be pushed out in all of our marketing tactics, including email marketing, print and digital advertising campaigns, social media and even onsite signage.”
-R.Scott Unger, Executive Director, AEDC
Our work with the Allentown Economic Development Corporation has led to growing brand awareness about the company. Their presentations are all uniform, looking more clean and professional to fit their new brand and image. With the new website that’s easier to navigate, they have all of their information clearly laid out for anyone to see and learn.
As more people begin to know and understand what they do, their redesign has increased click through rates on their newsletter, which is lays out important information regarding project timelines, promoting businesses, updates of their redevelopment efforts, and so much more. With three to four articles being released each month, this newsletter keeps people up to date on the AEDC’s different incubators with press releases and visions for the future.
Additionally, their social media is strong and active as it’s updated regularly to keep people up to date with what projects and work is being done, along with fun facts about Allentown and the area surrounding the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center. Thank you to AEDC’s Marketing and Communications Specialist, Erin Hudson, for all of her hard work in making sure the AEDC brand is well represented!
Thanks to their team and the resources around them, they are able to communicate important information to the public, like what they are working on and what effect they have to people in the Greater Allentown area.
The AEDC is a very important client of ours that has done a lot for the city of Allentown. We are proud to be working with a company that plays such a vital role to the Lehigh Valley’s economic development and job employment.