Behind One Association’s Vision for Its Rebranding

Last week, InfoComm International renamed itself AVIXA to better signal its connection to more elements of the AV industry.

InfoComm International, an association representing the audiovisual industry, last week renamed itself the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. The change gives it a snazzy acronym: AVIXA. But more importantly, its leader says, it signals the result of a years-long process to expand its reach and address a question many associations are forced to contemplate: Who should be included as a member, especially in an industry defined by rapid change?

“What we’re trying to do is lay down groundwork for growth for the future for the audiovisual industry,” says executive director and CEO David Labuskes, CAE. “The new [groups] that we’re hoping we are more appealing to and that we reach are those who are creating content that is delivered through the technology that has traditionally been within our wheelhouse. … We felt that we had reached a point in evolution as an industry and as an association that our name should reflect more about not only what the industry is but what industry creates.”

That shift is a response to what AVIXA has seen in terms of membership growth outside its core membership of AV hardware and software companies, bringing in, as the press release about the announcement says, “experiential designers, content creators, IT companies, and users of AV solutions.” In 2014, Labuskes says, the board began looking at ways to better integrate those various industries and customers in the AV world under one umbrella, responding to its understanding that AV technology and content don’t exist in separate realms. “Exceptional experiences are created through the intermingling of content and technology,” Labuskes says.

Rather than work to train up its core AV members, AVIXA opted to expand its reach. “We had two options,” Labuskes says. “You could take those who are currently involved in the conversation and teach them how to develop content, turn them into creative ad developers, turn them into digital media content producers, and turn them into space designers. Or you can create a platform where you attract the experts for all of those into a single conversation that can then deliver real value to the ultimate customer. We chose option B.”

It’s not just a change of logo or change of colors.

AVIXA was one of 70 names proposed by a branding consultant brought in once the association decided to undergo a name change. That said, Labuskes says he wanted to tread carefully about making a move and not undertake a rebranding just for rebranding’s sake. “I was more concerned that we had the appropriate motivations,” he says. “It’s not just a name change. It’s not just a change of logo or change of colors. It’s really going out there and saying, ‘We have become something other than that which we were.’”

The rebranding didn’t change much in terms of staffing, though it did recently hire a senior director for market intelligence. “We’ve identified that a key part in the way that we can contribute to the success of our members is by providing them clear information into the industry and in the marketplace,” Labuskes says.

But AVIXA is keeping the InfoComm name for its global tradeshows, which attract an estimated 250,000 people annually. Labuskes says the argument for that is to send a signal that tradeshows “are one platform to deliver on our mission, but AVIXA offers services around the world every day of the year. So I think by implementing AVIXA as our association name, we can draw a distinction between the trade show and the association and strengthen both of those brands.”

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Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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