Greater Washington’s rebranding effort is waiting on one thing. You guessed it, Amazon HQ2.
April 30, 2018
By The 2030 Group
By: Andy Medici
Whether Greater Washington wins or loses, Amazon’s decision on whether to locate a second headquarters here will change how the region markets itself.
If we win? The ads practically write themselves. If we lose, at least the region learned a lot about what it had to offer and represented three of Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) final 20 choices, according to one of the biggest proponents of a regional rebranding campaign to shake that pesky federal reputation.
“I think if you can build on something like that, it captures momentum rather than someone saying, ‘We’re not just the federal city,'” Bob Buchanan, developer and leader of The 2030 Group, told me after the Third Annual Roadmap for Greater Washington’s Economic Future event on Monday in D.C. “Guess what, Amazon either chose us or we are far more diversified than you had heard about.”
But waiting on the decision essentially delays a rebranding campaign for the region that began last March with plans to raise up to $5 million and to kick off this year. That effort — based on a central theme unveiled in October 2016, “Greater Washington: Where you come to make history happen” — slowed last year as the business community turned its attention toward Metro funding.
Then, Amazon’s announcement for its HQ2 search, for up to 8 million square feet to house 50,000 potential employees, caused Buchanan to rethink the timeline. The election of President Donald Trump that November and the heightened politics that came with it also didn’t help, Buchanan added.
“You don’t want to sit there and fight that you’re not the swamp,” he said.
Instead, he said the group will use what has come out of the Amazon bids — the region’s assets, its diversity, its educated workforce and a boatload of new research — and apply those to a new branding effort after the decision is final, Buchanan said. Either way, he said, the rebranding effort will return. Already, many regional groups are basking in the recent, successful effort to lobby for dedicated funding for Metro from multiple jurisdictions through the MetroNow coalition.
“We have taken every asset collectively in the region to come together around HQ2 and around the MetroNow coalition to come together in enlightened self interest,” said Hatch, CEO of advertising firm MDB Communications. “And that’s what I think is the rationale behind all future branding.”