You have to hand it the AVIXA, folks. They nailed their recent brand-launch event cold.
Engaging personal stories. Compelling video clips with memorable sound bites. A well-honed and comfortably-delivered presentation by CEO David Labuskes.
And then: a truly surprising reveal. Shazam! Suddenly, WE ARE AVIXA, and everything — from our membership structure to the sign outside our headquarters building — had changed.
Very exciting stuff, until you consider the members had absolutely no say in the matter. We didn’t vote. We weren’t consulted. It was never discussed in committees or councils. Nor was it part of the strategic plan Mr. Labuskes presented at last November’s AVEC (AV Executive Conference).
Only staff, board members and a select group of insiders were in on the secret. Which, of course, is vintage InfoComm. Why tell the members anything we don’t absolutely have to? They might start asking difficult questions!
Changes Needed to Fix Old Ways
InfoComm, the association, has long been criticized by the AV industry rank and file as elitist, self-serving, exhibitor-centric and far removed from the industry it represents.
“They’re in the trade show business,” someone explained to me a few years ago. “Not the AV business. Don’t ever forget that, because they certainly don’t.”
The real problem is that most InfoComm members are corporations and institutions, not people.
As a result, the association is structured and operated to serve the business interests of the audiovisual industry’s employers, manufacturers and large institutional users. Not for the benefit of those of us who work in the AV industry.
And, while InfoComm’s CTS certification, education and standards programs have been a real boost to the whole AV industry, they were actually developed for the benefit of the companies and the institutions we work for.
The good news is… AVIXA appears as if it will be a very different kind of association than InfoComm. And those differences are exponentially more than just a new name and logo.
Many Reasons to Love the Change
I love that the leadership of AVIXA looked at the InfoComm association they inherited and decided they needed to be much different to be much better. AVIXA will be a better association, and we’re lucky to have smart people willing to take the risks to get us there.
I love that AVIXA has put “AV” front and center. I’m proud of what I do for a living. I’m proud of the AV industry. And I want to belong to an AV association.
I love that AVIXA has started life with a brand new membership structure — one built around people rather than just corporations and institutions. Individual membership is, to me, the cornerstone of the association’s new engagement strategy and it will, in time, produce the type of AV association we all want to belong to.
But what I’d really love is for AVIXA to go grass roots. With regional and/or local councils or chapters that can bring audiovisual people together regularly to discuss matters of common interest and benefit.
Not round tables. Not sponsored events. Not trade shows. Just AV people gathering around the AVIXA flag to enhance our industry, our relationships and our mutual opportunities.
It works for others and, I believe, can work for AVIXA, too.