When Amazon decided in 2018 to build its second headquarters in Arlington, the county’s economic development team heard one question from the business community: “Why?”
The county was, in the eyes of many, still the smaller and lesser-known neighbor of D.C., says Kelly Rindfusz, the communications director for Arlington Economic Development.
“We had to prove our worthiness,” Rindfusz said.
After two years of work, AED officially unveiled a new logo, motto, website and advertising materials that she says better answer the question, “Why Arlington?”
The new look and pitch plays up the obvious attractions — being close to D.C. and home to Amazon — and highlights the county’s tech scene, its high concentration of educated workers and thought leaders, and the region’s diversity.
“What was attractive for Amazon and will be attractive for other companies,” she said.
That will be the playbook as AED continues selling Arlington as a destination for multinational companies and key industries, such as cybersecurity and government contracting. Winning over such employers has a direct impact on the county’s economy, lowering its relatively high office vacancy rate, encouraging job growth and generating tax revenue.
The most notable change is AED’s new website, which requires fewer clicks to find resources and makes important information more digestible, Rindfusz said. It also features a searchable small business directory.
“We think it’s a much better marketing tool and it’s certainly easy to navigate,” she said. “It’s clean and concise and hopefully it is meeting its mark.”
To improve its marketing, AED asked companies why they did, or didn’t, choose Arlington. The most basic considerations have to do with cost and office lease availability, but there are others, like transit availability and access to tech companies and universities, Rindfusz said.
“One thing people liked about Arlington was not just its proximity to the nation’s capital, but also being near to the ocean and the mountains, and being a plane ride to New York City,” Rindfusz said.
Despite being a reason for the rebrand, the Amazon factor was a tad more divisive for other businesses.
“Most businesses thought it was a great opportunity, but some were concerned it was going to be too crowded,” she said.
While rebranding was a massive effort for the organization, Rindfusz says AED’s outreach work is just beginning.
“We are in the spotlight and want to make sure we’re shining in it,” she said.
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