For companies looking for talent, a competitive cost environment and great spaces to grow, Calgary offers great value.
In the fall of 2017, Calgary Economic Development delivered its bid to Amazon to be the location for its second headquarters and while some of the details in the submission are confidential, the bid did confirm we’re not saying we’d fight a bear for you … but we totally would.
The nearly 200-page submission was hand delivered to Amazon in Seattle last fall.
Calgary offered Amazon a unique value proposition for HQ2 with top quality human resources, turnkey real estate solutions, a low cost of doing business, and an exceptional quality of life. As our sales pitch suggests, we will do more to help Amazon (or any company looking to expand) than any other city.
For the record, the “fight a bear” reference is a metaphor. No bears were harmed in the development of this bid.
In addition to submitting a bid book that outlines Calgary’s value proposition, a promotional campaign was launched in Seattle with four goals in mind:
Get Amazon’s attention
– both the leadership and employee base so that our bid would actually be noticed
Use the campaign as a platform
to tell Calgary’s story in the US media
Engage Calgarians in the process
Make people laugh
To capture Amazon’s attention, a 120-ft. by 10-ft. banner was unveiled on a building under construction near its Seattle headquarters with the sloganwe’re not saying we’d fight a bear for you … but we totally would. Other cheeky, bold messages intended to break through the clutter of bids from other cities appeared in chalk on nearby pedestrian sidewalks.
Almost 1,400 people joined the online community #LoveYYC and developed more than 150 submissions for “elevator pitches” to sell Amazon on Calgary. The week before the bid was submitted, close to 19,000 people chanted "Come On, Amazon!” at a Calgary Flames NHL game.
While Calgary did not make the shortlist, there are outcomes that came from both consolidating the bid and building out the campaign.
We now have a great templates and tools with an incredible level of detail of how we compare with other cities. These will be reused for future pitches to other companies looking at Calgary.
We had an opportunity to tell Calgary’s story on a gigantic stage. With coverage in the New York Times, Financial Times, Inc., and even Geek Wire,
When our business development team is out meeting with companies in other cities, the question of “where is Calgary?” has been replaced with some recognition and familiarity.