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Keynoters Sparkle at ISA Converge

National sign companies and manufacturers convened in Louisville, KY.

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National sign companies and industry manufacturers gathered in Louisville, KY June 18-20 for ISA’s annual Converge event, which matches buyers and sellers for networking, one-on-one meetings and industry updates. ISA President Lori Anderson highlighted the association’s efforts to address the talent gap and need for advocacy with its annual Sign Manufacturing Day, job board and dozens of online courses that are mobile-friendly and offer digital badges. She also pointed to peer-reviewed, independent research gathered by the Sign Research Foundation.

Highlights included two keynotes. The first, by demographics expert Ken Gronbach, predicted that sign companies “will have all the work they can handle and all the labor force they need in the future” in a society where bigotry declines and women’s economic power rises.

Advising sign companies to check Bureau of Labor statistics, Gronbach said, pointing out that the demand for any product will change from generation to generation based on, if nothing else, one generation’s size compared to another’s.

“Mass media is going away,” he said, “The internet is not going anywhere. Signs? Your ability to take over mass media is going to be overwhelming. How’s it going to happen? I don’t know.” Yet, he said, currently, birth and death rates are getting closer and closer and closer to each other. By 2020, elderly people will outnumber people under five. 

The final keynoter, Mike Allen, is the founder of Axios, a popular daily newsletter, as well as a former Politico reporter. He discussed thinking of a business as a political campaign. What are people saying about you? What is your message? Are you breaking through? What are your detractors saying? And, most importantly, what is the one big idea you want people to know about your company?

Today’s consumers hate white noise; they demand communication in real time, he said, pointing to airlines’ speedy responses to social media complaints.

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Just be persistent, Allen advised: “The moment when you get sick of repeating your message is just when it will be beginning to break through.” Wise words in a world where we’re all battling for others’ limited attention.

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