University of Pennsylvania

Penn & Philly: A Shared Story

The Client: University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is in, of, and for Philadelphia. The Office of the Executive Vice President has previously released annual reports outlining the economic impact of Penn and its Health System. Instead, this latest initiative highlights important service work and overall social impact across the University, the Health System, and Philadelphia, as defined across six areas of focus: Public Education; Healthy Communities; Arts, Culture & Recreation; Economic Opportunity; Knowledge in Action; and Tomorrow’s Industries.

The Challenge

Tapping Into the Power of Penn & Philly

University of Pennsylvania retained a powerhouse team of Chatterblast Media, SteegeThomson, and Electric Kite to create a new kind of impact report that amplifies the voices of the Penn + Philadelphia community.

The Goal

Partnering for Progress

To properly frame and tell the stories, we had to understand the audiences that would be impacted. Based on user interviews from our partners, the following segments guided the narratives and visualization:

  • “Moveable Middle”: People who aren’t necessarily Penn’s biggest fans or detractors
  • “Impact Beneficiaries”: People who use Penn resources (and may or may not be aware of it)
  • “Regional Leaders”: Government officials, Chamber of Commerce, and business leaders

We used the interviews to create Penn & Philly, an ongoing content hub that tells the intertwined stories of the institution and the community, and celebrates a shared commitment to securing a vibrant, inclusive future.

Challenges We Faced

Three Years of Research, Analysis, and Engagement = a LOT of Content

Blending so many voices and needs is no easy feat. The proposed brand originally felt too far removed from what already existed–so we scaled it to feel aligned to the current color palette and treatment.

Because we built flexibility into the framework, we were able to switch out fonts, colors, and logo contrasts without reworking the format, or compromising our ability to be launch-ready.

What a great experience working with Chatterblast, Steege Thomson and Electric Kite. We are grateful for the creative and strategy.

Anthony Sorrentino

Associate Vice President, Office of the Executive Vice President

How’d We Do That?

Honoring Penn & Philly’s History–And Future

We have quite an extensive history with Penn as an institution, and have worked with more than 20 separate departments, schools, and offices. This gave us considerable insight into the organization’s needs, as well as a clear view of the scope of this project. Consolidating a multi-faceted organization into a cohesive story of excellence is no small feat. 

We rolled up our sleeves to adapt the content strategy and user research into a design that would give voice to the content. The design was built using repeatable components and a visual story feature to put faces and places front and center–with some high-impact facts and figures to back it up. 

When building the designs, we incorporated interactive components that influence how stories are revealed and selected–which naturally guided users to the content most relevant to them, based on their neighborhood or area of impact. 

Last, but far from least, we needed to make sure the stories would continue to be told. We created a hidden form so that the Penn team could streamline submissions and continue to create impact across the organization.

The Results

A Focus on Community Members

The stories began to be shared in January of 2024, and continue to be heard, shared and expanded alongside the city and Penn. Underscoring these unique relationships and goals will continue to create opportunities for new partnerships and connections.

So far:

  • /your-stories/ received 28% of all page views
  • 30.6% of users interacted with /collaborations/ about the community partnerships that sustain Penn & Philly

Here’s the top viewed story

Penn & Philly is a much-needed step in sharing with others how Penn works with and for its community.

Ira Harkavy

Netter Center for Community Partnerships Founding Director