Fast-forward to Sept. 13, 2020, exactly three years after InfoComm International became the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). If most of the discussion about that rebrand is centered on the color of the logo or its resemblance to the letters “AV,” executive director and CEO David Labuskes will know the effort was a failure. But that’s not what he’s expecting to happen among those in the AV industry.
“We knew the launch was just the start of this,” says Labuskes. “Now, it’s about continuing to tell the story about why we did it for the foreseeable future. Everyone in the organization is out talking about it. It’s about being relentless in telling the story and answering the questions, having an open and frank evaluation of it. The meaning of those words needs to become part of the identity of our members.
Labuskes sees the importance of investing further in industry awareness and communications, while getting investment bankers and venture capitalists to become more interested in AVIXA market research and creating thought leadership pieces that appeal to audiences outside the AV circle.
AVIXA is launching a new membership structure that features three levels each for individuals and enterprises, with individual memberships ranging from free to premium (similar to regular memberships under the old structure but for $50 less) to elite (allowing unlimited access to all online education and a career tracker).
Enterprise memberships will go from bronze to silver to gold to diamond, with each level including elevated numbers of elite level benefits. The diamond membership allows engagement across all association platforms.
Sticking Up for the AVIXA Change
Labuskes didn’t expect—and hasn’t received—universal approval for AVIXA’s brand change, and he isn’t shy about talking to critics about why they did it and why members will benefit from it.
“I don’t think I’ve ever shied away from a debate or a discussion and I certainly wouldn’t do that in this case either,” he says. “It’s not about having a debate in 140 characters, though. That’s not how I want to do that. I want to explore it more broadly and in more depth than that. My goal in a conversation like that is to understand why they think it’s a bad idea. This is about making it our identity.”
The AVIXA brand change can be considered a success not if AV industry members remember the colors of the logo are raspberry, tangerine and orange, but rather if there’s an increased engagement level among its members with the association, increased member satisfaction with the benefits they’re getting from AVIXA, new members from areas that weren’t previously interested in or aware of what AVIXA offers, and increased awareness of AV’s value to enterprise decision-makers in seven vertical markets in the next three years.
“For 80 years, we’ve been trying to convince architects that AV is important by pushing it out to them that we want to be involved in the building design conversation earlier,” says Labuskes. “What we’re doing now is pulling them into the conversation and talking to them about content, space and technology and how you need all three of those to create the exceptional experiences customers want.”
Less than two weeks after announcing the change, Labuskes shared the story with attendees at InfoComm India, noting that the show is primarily done in English, although some skills-based courses are done in Hindi to increase their appeal and reach.
“The whole message on Sept. 13 was a global message,” says Labuskes. “The AV industry faces the same challenges around the world, but the story is at different points in different places. The message of AV as an integrated experience is something that’s universal.”