PR Niblets

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Growing Older (and More Experienced) with America’s Favorite Trade Show

By Doug Wright

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) celebrated its 50th anniversary last month. This gave me pause, as I figured I must have attended nearly half of these renowned events showcasing the latest in technology and gadgets. I can’t decide whether this makes me feel more “old” or “experienced,” but the fact that I too turn 50 this year…

My first CES experiences were in the early 90s, when the Consumer Electronics Association (now known as the Consumer Technology Association) hosted two shows per year, including a summer expo in Chicago in addition to the winter one we have today. During my career, I have been fortunate to represent many brands at these events, including Sharp, Sony, Maxell, Kenwood, Pioneer, Yamaha, Monster, Acclaim Entertainment and most recently HDMI Licensing Administrator and Healbe.

Over the years, preparation for this highly-anticipated show has certainly evolved. Here are a few pointers to help your company prepare for CES from a public relations standpoint:

Timing is everything when it comes to press releases/announcements.

Where it used to be generally preferred to announce new products at CES, the size of the show today has made it more difficult to break through the noise and clutter of it all. Consider these two alternatives to help your company stand out:
  • Release your news in advance so you can invite media to your booth for more information, a live demo and/or an interview with a company spokesperson.
  • Offer the news to the most important media outlets in advance (but under embargo until launch day) to give your company a better chance at being featured when you want the coverage. I’ve also noticed more recently that editors are writing stories in advance to keep up with the demand for coverage at the show. In these cases, you’re actually doing them a favor.
To press conference or not to press conference?
The vastness of the show and its media days means your company is competing with press conferences for companies of all kinds. In order to stand out among all this competition and noise, weigh your news objectively and decide if it is best suited for a standalone press conference or an editor preview event (such as ShowStoppers or CES Unveiled,) where hundreds of reporters go to learn about all the new products while enjoying a bite to eat with colleagues.

Social media is not optional – it is essential:
When I started out, there was no social media; however, today you must have a plan to engage. Here are some tips to staying social at CES.
  • Post content before, during and after the show with information about your booth, announcements and new products.
  • Share content live from the floor with lots of graphics to show off your displays and booth crowds.
  • Spread information about your company and products using official event hashtags (e.g. #CES2017) and encourage booth visitors to do so as well.
  • Post photos and shout outs tagging press and other booth visitors to increase engagement and attract new followers by soliciting replies and retweets.
For your next big trade show, whether it’s CES or otherwise, consider these tactics to help you secure quality media coverage and get the greatest value out of your time and allocated resources.

Healbe CEO Artem Shipitsin talking about the new GoBe 2 Smart Life Band
with Into Tomorrow Radio's Dave Graveline at Showstoppers.