Key Takeaways From Amazon’s NYC Exodus

content marketing, content management, content strategy, strategic marketing, marketing strategically, strategic communicationsby Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

On February 14 – Valentine’s Day – Amazon announced a break up with New York City. The company faced intense backlash from community members after it was announced that the much-anticipated HQ2 would be split between New York and Arlington Virginia.

Here are some takeaways from a marketing perspective on the tech giant’s big decision.

Consumers and Communities Care About Corporate Behavior

As discussed below, one criticism of HQ2 going to New York is the large amount of taxpayer money used to entice the company to locate there. But citizens also care about the corporate behavior of big companies, and Amazon’s business practices left many New Yorkers feeling hostile to the idea of HQ2 in their backyard. Take, for example, this excerpt from an opinion piece by Hamilton Nolan published in the Guardian in November 2018:

“Amazon is bad. It is monopolistic. It works its blue-collar and white-collar employees to the bone, prompting frequent exposés of its awful working conditions. New York City is a union town; Amazon is an anti-union company. Its owner should have his immoral hoard of wealth forcibly expropriated by the state before his power grows so great that all of society is warped by it.”

Public Opinion has Real-World Consequences

Amazon claims that 70 percent of New Yorkers are in favor of opening HQ2 in the area. But a vocal public outcry seems to have outweighed high-power political support for the project. “The new headquarters was initially framed by top New York politicians including Governor Andrew Cuomo as a tremendous job creation opportunity that could benefit the broader New York region. All at once, it seemed to cement New York City as a technology hub that could truly rival Silicon Valley,” writes Seth Flegerman for CNN Business. “After the deal was announced, however, critics blasted the $1.525 billion in incentives New York offered to lure the tech behemoth and worried that it would soon lead to longtime residents being priced out of their homes. Protesters took to the streets in Long Island City, criticizing the deal for being bad for taxpayers and the neighborhood.”

Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword

Amazon’s announcement that it was opening an HQ2 and the subsequent nation-wide contest among cities and metro areas garnered massive media attention. They turned a logistical, operational and organizational process into a major marketing opportunity. But that publicity soon turned negative, and Amazon was left leaving NYC with its tail between its legs, all in the intense media spotlight it generated with the initial hype over HQ2.

Companies can influence but not control their brands. The brand is the collective impression of the organization in the marketplace. Amazon’s decision to back away from plans to put one half of its HQ2 in New York illustrates both the power of a brand and how big business news can shape that brand.

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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