AZA 2019

Saving the Planet One Design at a Time

We’re gearing up for the 2019 AZA annual conference, by far our favorite event of the year, each and every year, where we learn more about what the amazing people working at AZA-member zoos and aquariums around the world are doing to save animals and conserve wildlife habitats.

We have a special place in our hearts for organizations that are making the world a better place, and you won’t find a group of individuals as passionate and dedicated to their work as those who work with AZA.

To commemorate this year’s event, we created a limited edition poster which serves as unique swag for conference attendees while also celebrating AZA’s work to save one of the world’s most unique endangered species: Asian elephants.

Why We Created an Original Art Piece

You might be wondering, why a poster? Great question. 

When we sat down to brainstorm ways to help make the 2019 AZA conference bigger and better than ever, we wanted to be intentional about the products that we placed into the hands of AZA members and marketers from around the world. Our main goal: provide something people actually want that helps AZA and their mission to protect wildlife.

The world needs less stuff.

If you’ve been to a conference in the last few years, chances are you left with more pens, magnets, and notebooks than you’ll ever need. We’re not against the idea of free stuff, and we are the proud owners of branded coffee mugs, t-shirts, and other cool swag, but we also know that now more than ever, most people want their products to have a purpose, even free products. Our 2019 AZA posters serve as both a commemorative item for conference attendees while also helping rid the world of more unnecessary stuff.

We’re helping to save the planet from more plastic.

Saving animals starts with saving habitats, and we’re committed to helping AZA create a better world for wildlife by reducing plastic waste which can end up in oceans and other ecosystems. That’s why we’ll be attending this year’s conference with our commemorative posters and less plastic, less pens, and less unnecessary stuff. Through the use of a limited number of commemorative posters, we’ve also eliminated the need to recycle or dispose of unused items.

Saving resources  → Saving wildlife + ecosystems  → Saving the planet.

Why We Chose the Asian Elephant

When our creative team began the process of creating our commemorative posters, we wanted to be intentional about which animal we chose to feature. We chose the Asian elephant, an endangered species which is currently on the AZA SAFE list.

“We knew we wanted to pay homage to the work AZA is doing to protect endangered species through our design. When we reviewed the AZA SAFE list, the Asian elephant was one species that stood out to us in particular for a number of reasons.” - Kindra Svendsen, Director of Marketing at Speak

Asian elephants are remarkably intelligent and resourceful animals, and surprisingly enough, they also happen to have a lot in common with marketing professionals.

Asian elephants have empathy.

Researchers have discovered that elephants have a truly incredible ability to demonstrate empathy. While elephant mothers are known to be affectionate with their young, elephants have also been observed comforting one another through physical touch and vocal cues.

At Speak we have the opportunity to work with dozens of amazing organizations, many of whom are nonprofit organizations or those who are dedicated to making the world a better place. It truly makes our job more enjoyable and more meaningful, and we love helping these organizations, including zoos and aquariums, create content and resources that help serve others.


Asian elephants have amazing self-awareness and understand their limitations.

Elephants have gained a reputation for being some of the smartest kids on the block, but it turns out their intelligence may even rival that of humans. Researchers at the University of Sussex found that elephants living in the wild were able to determine which individuals they encountered were most likely to pose a threat to their safety. When playing sound recordings of people of different backgrounds and ethnicities, the elephants showed visible signs of distress and made efforts to huddle together and move to safety when recordings of native tribes known to poach and hunt elephants in this particular area were played.

As marketers, we also have the ability to understand where technology can both help and harm us. A multitude of tools exist to help us craft brand identity and messaging, and a plethora of resources are available to analyze data, create strategic campaigns, and target specific audiences. If, however, we don’t know our limitations and create intentional marketing campaigns to drive our messaging and products, we’re missing out on potential sources of business and growth.


Asian elephants are resourceful and have the ability to use tools.

Asian elephants are some of the world’s most resourceful animals, and they have been observed using their trunks as efficiently as human beings can use their arms. From repelling flies and other insects to clearing paths through densely wooded areas by breaking tree branches with their trunks, Asian elephants are aware that tools can be a valuable resource.

As a marketing agency, we value the understanding that tools such as a website or app can make you smarter and more self-sufficient. The right tools can make a marketing campaign effective, but only if you use them efficiently. A digital marketing team can help you craft the right message and use the right tools to take your online presence to new heights. Learn more about how an award-winning website with innovative design and an interactive app helped Maritime Aquarium connect with visitors.


How can I support AZA’s Asian elephant SAFE program?

To learn more about AZA’s mission to protect endangered species like the Asian elephant, visit their website, become a member, or donate online today. Your donation will directly impact research, conservation, and breeding programs for endangered species around the world.



How can I get a copy of the limited edition poster?

If you’re in town for the 2019 AZA annual conference, swing by booth 432 to grab your copy. Less than 250 copies are available, so be sure to stop by early. See you there!

Asian Elephant Facts and Statistics

• The largest threats to Asian elephants are poaching, trafficking, and habitat loss.
• More than 50% of the world’s surviving Asian elephants are found in India.
• The average lifespan of an Asian elephant is 48 years.
• Asian elephants can weigh as much as 12,000 pounds.
• The average adult male Asian elephant is 10 feet tall.

Posted by Sarah Vaughan at 12:05