July 7, 2020 by Kirsten Nelson

Conversations with customers have changed drastically amid a pandemic and the global movement for social justice, and more than ever, integrity and authenticity in relationships inside and out of a company will have significant impact on business. Branding efforts can make sure you connect with your clients now and into the future. These sessions from InfoComm 2020 Connected recommended a variety of new ways to ensure your brand remains connected with your customers.

Engagement Through Socially Conscious Design

From a client perspective, creating experience designs in this new era presents remarkable challenges. But it’s also an opportunity to reach audiences in a new way and connect a brand with real efforts for social good.

Addressing the ways the AV industry can help to transform large-scale experiences for consumption by audiences at home, Wiena Lin, Creative Director of Public Good Labs emphasized:

“As we’re seeing in the midst of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, brands that are only focused on selling product are losing relevance in a time when their consumers are distracted by very real existential issues in the world. However, when brands tie their core offerings and their values to social good, they have enduring relevance.”

Boosting Your Brand to Capture New Business in AV

The three presenters in this session are definitely people with great personal brands in addition to solid company branding chops. So, this is clearly one to watch. It’s dense with practical and inspiring information from start to finish.

Moderator Alesia Hendley, Associate Sales Engineer with Access Networks, has some great advice:

“Reach out. Don’t just wait for your clients to come back to you when they need help during the crisis. Be proactive, reach out. Even not in a crisis, you get recurring revenue when you build actual relationships with your clients. Do start there. Don’t just wait until a crisis comes — be engaging from beginning to end, and in the middle as well. Start there, be real, be humble, and establish a real relationship.”

And branding expert Steven Picanza, Co-Founder of Latin & Code, had some branding advice for AV companies:

“You have to differentiate in a sea of sameness. And in AV, unfortunately there’s a lot of sameness. Everyone kind of says the same thing, looks the same way, but where you can differentiate is in your messaging. Your messaging is so important. And AV companies out there, I’m screaming at you, don’t do your logo. Nobody cares about your logo, work on your message.”

One of the AV and events industry’s most brand-savvy company founders and media-savvy podcast hosts, Will Curran, Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, summed it up well when talking about building the image of his own business:

“You have to be almost a perfectionist about it. The best brands out there are so particular about what they want. If you aren’t ahead of the game setting the rules of what it needs to be, someone else is going to define what your brand is and the way it’s going to look.”

Live Events Spotlight: Is the term ‘experience economy’ still relevant?

Speaking to companies looking to reinvent themselves as they offer new services, in addition to companies looking to sharpen their brand messaging to drive new business, Claus Raasted, Director of The College of Extraordinary Experiences, talked about building a “brand universe.” This goes beyond just a logo and a mission statement into a new realm of building a holistic depiction of your company in all its communications, events, and projects.

Spend your energy building a brand universe, he asserts. “Find people to help you transform your products and expertise into coherent universes. And don’t be afraid to invent new markets.”

But most importantly: “Make sure the brand universe matches the tone of what you have to offer. If you’re a service-oriented company, maybe don’t have a fun masked character as your mascot. Maybe look for something a bit more abstract or stay close to home with founder myths. They’re a great place to start.”

About Kirsten Nelson

Kirsten Nelson has written about audio, video and experience design in all its permutations for more than 20 years. As a writer and content developer for AVIXA, Kirsten connects stories, people and technology through a variety of media. She also directs program content for the TIDE Conference and Technology Innovation Stage at InfoComm. For three years, she also created conversations around emerging media and experiential design at InfoComm's Center Stage. Prior to that, Kirsten was the editor of SCN magazine for 17 years.

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