PSAV Shifting to Encore Brand, Planner-Focused Strategy

PSAV, one of the oldest audiovisual companies in the world is shaking up how it delivers services and adopting the name of one of the companies it recently acquired. The Schiller Park, Illinois-based vendor announced this week that it will phase in the Encore name for its portfolio of companies.

The 80-year-old company went on a buying spree in recent years, acquiring Hargrove, Hawthorn, KFP, FMAV and Eclipse in addition to Encore Event Technologies. The team now consists of 14,000 employees across 2,100 on-site venue locations and more than 50 regional warehouses. The company operates in more than 20 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia. It has moved beyond renting lighting, sound systems and Internet to providing end-to-end experiences—services they say are more identified with the Encore brand.

Cathy Schlosberg, senior vice president of marketing, explained, “We believe we can more effectively represent that under a new, global master brand that maximizes the very best from our already-strong roster of leading companies.”

The change will start with Freeman AV Canada this month and will continue to roll out through the summer.

An Existential Shift

At the same time, company representatives realized that they needed to change how planners thought about them by changing how they deliver services. John Rissi, senior vice president of sales, singled out the aha moment when he realized something had to change after a customer described the company as “inevitable” in a forum. “That was a wake-up call,” he said. “We went back and asked ourselves, ‘How do we go from inevitable to desirable?’”

The company is adjusting how it interacts with planners by shifting from a focus on hotel partners to the global needs of the end customer. It is also putting in place production standards and database software that will track planner needs, with the goal of delivering operational consistency wherever a meeting professional takes a program.

Consolidated project management teams will work with meeting professionals focused on the goals of the event, rather than a project list. Consultants are being trained to ask questions about the goals of the event and present good, better and best options that focus on the experience rather than talking about prices for pieces of equipment.

A new customer support phone number and website (866-461-2577, psav.com/connect) will make it possible for planners to talk about requirements before a hotel has been selected.

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