Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston on Thursday announced the launch of "Arkansas Inc.," a new brand campaign to recruit companies to Arkansas while encouraging those already here to grow.
The announcement was part of Hutchinson’s remarks to the Arkansas Economic Developers/Arkansas Chamber of Commerce Executives' joint winter conference in Little Rock.
"'Arkansas Inc.' is a very succinct way for us to communicate that we are in the business of growing business and that our state stands ready and able to compete in a rapidly evolving, high-tech worldwide economy," Hutchinson said in a written statement about the brand.
Aimed at executive decision-makers and site-location consultants, the "Arkansas Inc." campaign touts Fortune 500 companies doing business in the state and success stories of relocating and expanding businesses. Its tagline is, "Good company," which AEDC said tells "a story of momentum that when you do business in Arkansas, you’re in very good company."
"When it comes down to it, the state of Arkansas operates like a business, and 'Arkansas Inc.' better reflects that," Preston said in a statement. "Businesses operate leaner, faster and more focused — because they have to. If we want to grow business in Arkansas, we need to tell businesses we understand their needs and can address those needs quickly and decisively."
AEDC said an advertising campaign tied to "Arkansas Inc." begins immediately and includes digital marketing and targeted ads in trade and industry publications. The agency is spending an initial $300,000 on the campaign, which will continue into the next fiscal year.
Stone Ward of Little Rock designed the logo and is the advertising agency of record for the project.
According to AEDC spokesman Scott Hardin, the ad campaign will focus on websites frequented by "C-level" executives — sites including Forbes.com and Economist.com — and print economic development publications.
According to AEDC, from January 2015-January 2016, the agency worked with 122 new or expanding companies in the state, and the state has added 5,600 jobs. But Hardin said numbers aren't the focus of "Arkansas Inc."
"It's not necessarily about numbers," Hardin said. "But there are specific sectors — firearms manufacturing and some other specific sectors that we’ll be focused on throughout the year. And just getting this message to the decision makers. 'Arkansas Inc.' is a way to package everything that makes Arkansas attractive."
Some of that focus is already paying off. Last month, Hutchinson attended the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas and announced that firearms makers SIG Sauer of Newington, New Hampshire, and Remington Outdoor Co. of Madison, North Carolina, would bring 154 jobs to Arkansas.
SIG Sauer, which makes pistols, rifles and ammunition, said it will put a new manufacturing facility employing 50 at an existing building in Jacksonville. Remington, which makes hunting rifles and ammunition, said it will create 84 new jobs at its plant in Lonoke.