Infocomm has rebranded itself as AVIXA – the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association.
The global rebranding effort – roughly four years in the works – was announced today to Infocomm volunteers and partners, as well as to trade press, in the Washington, DC-area, where the organization is based.
The brands of major trade shows like Infocomm and Integrated Systems Europe will NOT change – so you will not be flying in to hit AVIXA Europe or AVIXA 2018 in Las Vegas. They will still be Infocomm and ISE, and there are no plans to make a gradual shift.
I asked AVIXA Executive Director and CEO David Labuskes earlier today why his organization would continue with conflicting brands, and he noted at least a couple of sound reasons:
- First, the trade shows under their current monikers are growing rapidly and there is invaluable brand equity they’d have to surrender in switching out names;
- Second, having Infocomm the show and Infocomm the trade association for the AV industry has actually been something of a problem. Labuskes related how people who get asked what they think about Infocomm, who then reply, “Great show!” They don’t really talk about ALL the other stuff the organization does through a year that isn’t trade show-related.
So Infocomm the show will remain, and AVIXA is a means to establish the international trade association’s own identity – one not inevitably shackled to the show’s identity. And ISE can just continue on, growing like crazy.
There is a pile of thinking going on with this, as well as a pile of nuts and bolts executional stuff, like coming up with a new brand identity that can span across different media types and also reside as its own symbol, built roughly from conjoining the A and V shapes as triangles.
There is even a core color scheme, ideas around a thumbnail icon for mobile, and for apparel, with prints that play with the brand identity shape.
The acronym for Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association should, for the anal-retentive, be AIEA. But the idea here is simply:
AV for audiovisual;
IX for Integrated Experience – working off the idea that great, memorable, effective work in AV has to be more than a good technical install;
A for Association
So out of that – AVIXA.
It makes me think of some TV ad for prescription medicines for creaky baby boomers. “Ask your doctor about AVIXA”
Anyway, that’s my screwball mind. It’s a handle I think works for these purposes.
The big play here for AVIXA is to broaden the reach of the organization beyond the traditional crowd that is seen at Infocomm and related shows. The decision-makers want more enterprise IT people, more content people and certainly more buyers not only coming to the events, but joining and actively participating in the efforts of the association.
They already know there’s a shift happening. My experience with Infocomm has been of a show heavily attended by the AV integrator community, but not so much by end-users. This past Infocomm, the post-show audit revealed 41% of attendees were characterized as end-users.
The association is also starting to make some traction with its senior membership on the board. It is still a lot of guys who do something or other with AV or IT systems integration, but one of the newer board members is a woman high up at PayPal, based in Silicon Valley.
They want more people from outside traditional circles, as well as gender balance. Getting people on the board who think about brand, content design and visual impact, and not just about the components and process, is also important going forward.
Labuskes said a big driver on the re-brand was about a drive to define and then deliver on the idea of exceptional experiences in the AV industry – with a need to deliver true value in a business that was getting increasingly commoditized. Integration businesses just built on making good margins on gear are hurting, and the present and future is delivering great experiences for end-users and viewers. Once a customer has great, he reasons, that customer isn’t all that interested in good, or cheap and cheerful. They want more great.
“This is an exciting time for our industry and for the advancement of audiovisual solutions across a wide range of customer experiences,” says Labuskes, Executive Director and CEO of AVIXA. “Thanks to the innovative, creative efforts of so many members, partners, and their customers, we have collectively grown far beyond what InfoComm International could do to promote AV around the world.”
“AV experiences have become so ubiquitous,” he adds, “and they’ve come to include so many more technologies, and touch so many more personal and professional lives, that we felt compelled to embrace a new identity that more accurately reflects this industry’s excitement and welcomes a far more diverse community of professionals.”
“Organizations evolve,” he says. “AVIXA’s core programs remains the same—training, certification, standards, community, market intelligence, trade shows — but the industry has changed in exciting ways, and the opportunity to grow the market for audiovisual experience is so vast, it was important that the AV industry’s leading association change with it.”
The organization flew in trade journalists from around North America (me included), Europe and even Australia to do the launch, and use the opportunity to directly address the hows and whys of making the change. The big switch is being done this evening – from online sites to even a new sign now up on the side of the (now) AVIXA HQ in Fairfax, Virginia.
AVIXA’s go-forward mandate goes beyond branding, with Labuskes telling the crowd at a press conference that there are plans to work on:
- realigning content and programs;
- raising industry awareness;
- improving market intelligence;
- reinventing the member model.
For those who only think trade show, here’s how the group formerly known as Infocomm describes itself:
Established in 1939, AVIXA has more than 5,400 members, including manufacturers, systems integrators, dealers and distributors, consultants, programmers, live events companies, technology managers, content producers, and multimedia professionals from more than 80 countries. AVIXA members create integrated AV experiences that deliver outcomes for end users. AVIXA is a hub for professional collaboration, information, and community, and the leading resource for AV standards, certification, training, market intelligence and thought leadership.
The AVIXA website should be live now. If the planets align, and he’s available, I hope to have a chat with Labuskes tonight and have a podcast up for next week.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.