Public Relations

Love, Little Rock: The City’s Breakup with Amazon HQ2

The Power of Reputation

Amazon put out the call for a city to house their second headquarters. Inevitably, several cities jumped at the shot to boost their economy, population, and appeal.

With requirements such as a population over 1 million, ample space for the new offices, and proximity to an airport, Amazon received several intriguing proposals. Iconic cities such as Boston, New York, Dallas, and Washington D.C. jumped at the opportunity. All Amazon had to do was send out the call, knowing their reputation would entice the best of the best. Not many companies have the kind of power to influence the cities that are already so influential. Amazon knows this, and used this power to their ultimate advantage. They could have made it a quiet agreement between them and a city of their prior choosing, but they turned it into a public race. This upped their publicity and created a stir in America’s metropolitan capitals.

“Dear Amazon: It’s not you, it’s us.”

Among these cities in the running for Amazon’s heart was Little Rock, Arkansas. However, Little Rock stepped back and decided that they don’t want in on the race that America’s top cities were desperate to win. Instead, Little Rock opted to launch the “Love, Little Rock” campaign.

After taking a second look at the prize they were working toward, Little Rock decided to drop out. The city concluded that the appeal of such a major company making its home in their city was not worth the effect it would have. Population, traffic congestion, and overall vibes of the city would have to change dramatically. To be honest, I don’t blame them. Little Rock saw this “breakup” as a chance to put themselves out there for other brands. Launching promoted their best attributes. Staying true to yourself and your brand while being open to innovation and change is a challenge. Little Rock has managed to make the tough call and put itself first.

While Amazon HQ2 would bring in income, citizens, and appeal for a city, they are not a good match for everyone. Little Rock was able to recognize this, and step out of the race. I commend them for doing so in a way that was light, humorous, and promoted themselves to other companies or potential new residents. “Love, Little Rock” was a classy and clear way to do what is best for the city while maintaining a confident and clean reputation. ❈


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