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Indy’s Amazon bid competes with other ‘showier’ cities

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- The bids are in from cities wanting to be the home of Amazon’s second headquarters, and now the waiting game begins.

Indianapolis is one of more than 50 cities vying for that headquarters, which is expected to bring in billions of dollars and more than 50,000 jobs.

But how competitive was Indianapolis in the bid process?

Some cities put on big public displays, others created sleek websites to sell themselves, and others resorted to what some might consider gimmicks. For Indianapolis it has been a largely quiet process, but one local expert says that might actually play to the city’s advantage.

“What happens when everyone is equal, is people have to figure out a way to differentiate themselves,” said Kim Saxton, a marketing professor at the IU Kelley School of Business. She said a lot of the cities placing bids have similar strengths, which is why some may have chosen to be so visible in their efforts.

“I think Indianapolis has instead done what it’s best at,” said Saxton, “which is we don’t need to shout, we are the humble Midwest.”

One of the showiest stunts was Tucson’s donation of a giant cactus to Amazon Head Jeff Bezos, a ploy which was promptly refused by the company.

Among the showier competition closer to home is Detroit. It’s hoping a slick website and a flashy marketing video, along with the partnership of Windsor, Canada, will catch the tech giant’s attention.

The company behind Detroit’s campaign, Bedrock Detroit, said in a statement, in part: “We wanted to share something created to go along with that bid that shows Detroit’s vision for the future…the entire region came together to join forces and collaborate to show the world that Detroit was made to move.”

“So i think what we’re going to do is put our best foot forward in terms of what we think will make Amazon successful in the long run, and we’re not the type to shout it out,” said Saxton.

But Saxton said there is some risk to a bid not being public enough.

“We could get lost in the shuffle, but I don’t know that that will happen,” said Saxton, “I think our personality will come through without having to shout.”

We did reach out to the mayor’s office for comment, but so far haven’t heard back.

The Indy Chamber did say the information in their bid will remain confidential, but they believe “the Indianapolis region is the best possible location for success.”

Amazon is expected to make its announcement sometime next year.