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How Vanco Used a Trade Show to Bolster its Brand Recognition

Vanco’s tech brand recognition was bolstered by attending CEDIA 2017. Here’s how they made the most of a business acquisition.

How Vanco Used a Trade Show to Bolster its Brand Recognition

PWP Studio 2018

Staff Editor

Vanco International has been a steadfast presence in the professional audiovisual industry for decades. They have manufactured products and technology solutions specifically for AV installers for over 60 years, maintaining a constant cadence of new product development and delivery as their customers’ needs evolved. They were surprised, then, when a 2017 SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis revealed that their tech brand recognition was surprisingly low.

This was a period of transition for Vanco. The company’s then-president Brad Corbin was stepping back to transfer leadership to his son, Mark. One of Mark’s first big moves as president was the acquisition of the storied audio brand Beale Street Audio.

In order to successfully relaunch Beale Street as a Vanco company and maximize exposure, they needed to address their name recognition issue head on with a strong PR strategy.

Vanco/Beale Street’s tech brand recognition bolstered by CEDIA

Vanco worked with Caster Communications to raise their brand profile and announce the Beale Street acquisition. These turned out to be mutually supporting goals: Beale Street became a lever to elevate Vanco, with CEDIA Expo 2017 serving as the fulcrum.

Though increasing overall exposure for the Vanco brand was PR brand Caster Communication’s most important goal, launching Beale Street as a Vanco brand was the most immediate need.

Once contracted, Caster immediately began laying the groundwork for the announcement by interviewing Vanco’s executive team and Beale Street’s founder.

They drafted press release and FAQ materials, pre-briefed target media prior to launch under embargo, and followed up with a wide release that resulted in coverage from 11 top tier residential AV and audio enthusiast brands with a potential audience of over 700,000.

Product launches alone cannot raise a brand’s profile though; there must be a strategy to continue media cadence between announcements.

Product launches alone cannot raise a brand’s profile though; there must be a strategy to continue media cadence between announcements.

The Beale Street launch segued into executive interviews on industry podcasts and in print and digital magazines, contributed articles, and crucially, CEDIA Expo.

On the heels of the Beale Street acquisition, Caster turned their attention to the wider stable of Vanco brands and products, submitting awards applications, contributions to upcoming editorial features, and thought leadership.

The narrative gradually shifted from “Beale Street has been acquired (by Vanco)” to “Vanco is more than just another black box manufacturer – they’re a company with both a proud history and a vision for the future.”

Investment in brand recognition pays off

In 2017, Vanco had their best-ever CEDIA Expo. That show brought press to “meet the brand” with in-person interviews and live demos, cementing the narrative they had been cultivating since the acquisition of Beale Street.

The next year, in 2018, they set a new company record, with even more press, award wins, foot traffic, and qualified leads. Then in 2019, they did it again. They’ve become a mainstay of industry awards, scoring CE Pro Best Awards in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

They have also expanded their outreach, re-entering the commercial space at InfoComm at 2018 and 2019.

The key to Vanco’s transformed brand profile is tirelessness. They’ve also consistently updated their product lines – they’ve debuted over 20 products since the last tradeshows of the pre-pandemic era.

Now, that technological innovation is supported by a constant flow of thought leadership, as the product development leads and executives within the company regularly engage with press to share design insights, trends forecasts, and industry perspectives.

The media notices a difference

“Vanco has always had great products and technology solutions, but lacked the exposure to show them off to the world,” says Joe Whitaker, Co-Founder of Thoughtful Integrations and Contributing Editor for Connected Design.

“Seeing the growth and industry recognition of their brands first-hand has been amazing. Now they have a defined story and exposure that is as spectacular as their products.”

Related: What Integrators Really Want to See at Your Tech Trade Show Booth

This carefully orchestrated media engagement strategy has kept Vanco’s profile high even as the return of large-scale live events has seemingly dipped below the horizon.

Now, the 60+ year veteran company is eagerly awaiting its next chance to demonstrate to show-goers that the stories are true, and every bit of their newfound recognition is deserved.

This post was provided courtesy of Caster Communications.