CASE STUDY - Allentown Economic Development Corporation
Over the past decade, Allentown has seen an urban revitalization in business and manufacturing industries, in part thanks to the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (or AEDC). AEDC has undertaken massive projects, helping with the development of the PPL Center, Three City Center, America on Wheels Museum, and numerous other buildings.
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.
MARKETING Over the past year, we have been working with the Allentown Economic Development Corporation on marketing. This includes big projects like new logos for their sub-brands, and a newly redesigned website. Our goal was to create something that clearly explains the organization’s mission, making it easier for the public to learn what they do.
The AEDC established a comprehensive marketing plan, which included a rebranding initiative with an updated logo and companion logos for its three key business areas – Bridgeworks, Urban Made, and Urban Sites. The next step in rebranding was a redeveloped website that features a user-friendly, responsive design, allowing for an improved customer experience.
“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,” said Scott Unger, Executive Director of AEDC.
Our relationships with our clients sometimes end up deeper than even we expect. Stay Calm Industries is a client/tenant of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, the small business incubation program of AEDC.
BRANDING To make AEDC’s goals more understandable, we divided their work into three pillars, or sub-brands, which helps define what each represents.
Urban Sites concentrates on brownfield reclamation projects, undertaking rehabilitation of buildings with perceived environmental issues.
Urban Made 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 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 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.
WEBSITE 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. Marco Calderon Photography provided us with professional pictures of the Bridgeworks Flex Office & Co-working space, along with an inside look of the many office spaces that the AEDC makes available for use.
“The new site brings AEDC current with the design trends and best practices for websites today,” said Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Former 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, the homepage has 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, graphics, and photos as we went. 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 that everything was ready to go, 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 we launched the site, we continued to monitor for any broken redirects, 404 errors, or missing content.
Results 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. As the team continues to work hard on a variety of different projects while promoting vital businesses in the Lehigh Valley, we hope to see the AEDC continue to progress, and we are incredibly proud to work alongside them and their amazing work!