5 key PR takeaways from the 2012 CES

January 17, 2012

This post was written by Mike Lizun, Senior Vice President

The real news from last week’s 2012 CES in Las Vegas had less to do with the gadgets, devices, and shiny new things being introduced by the world’s leading technology companies and more to do with the way those companies told their stories during the four-day extravaganza of all things technology. The convergence of social media and hand-held devices has created an entirely new way of gaining notice, interfacing with the media, building traffic, and leveraging the costs of attending any show, let alone the world’s largest consumer technology show.

This year, four of us made the trip, some to support, some to sell, and some to simply learn more about what’s new and hot. And no matter how exciting the technology, what really caught our eye is how companies are using digital communications and building their own channels of content to win, persuade, enlighten, and engage on the showroom floor. Here’s the new bible of how it’s being done:

1. Be the media. Texas Instruments helped show the way with a video team that traveled from booth to booth, interviewing partners and demonstrating how TI technologies power the coolest products. B2B customers throughout the show snapped to when TI showed up, a great way to build buzz and relationships, and celebrate their common ground.

2. Virtual brand ambassadors meet reality. This year, for the first time, we saw real, live customers in company booths, talking to the media, buyers, and even consumers about their real life experiences. We were fortunate enough to source and find our own such ambassador for Mitsubshi. Carlos brought real life credibility to what all too often is simple sales hyperbole. Thanks, Carlos. We expect to see a lot more of this strategy in the future.

3. Adapt or die — in real time, as stories unfold. CES is all a game of buzz and emerging trends. Many times this year, we jumped on stories as they were unfolding. One big story, OLED technologies, grabbed attention with the unveiling of a 55-inch OLED TV by LG and Samsung. OLEDs are nothing new to CES, but this was their year, and it was smart to jump on the story as show floor buzz swelled.

4. Twitter as the medium for real-time CES coverage. Immediacy. Impact. Influence. Twitter enabled real-time conversations from CES about the technologies we represent. In some cases, the reporters weren’t even at the convention. Rather, they were following in real time back at their offices. But by providing instantaneous, valuable commentary, anyone was able to credibly become part of the conversation — driving traffic and media interest.

5. The Facebook effect. And then there were the fans, watching CES from a distance on Facebook. Networks built in advance provided an extended platform for bringing even more loyalists into the conversation, exciting and educating them to what’s hot and new, and preconditioning them to buy now and in the future — sharing with them an insider’s view from the world’s leading consumer technology show.

While the shiny tech provides the eye candy, it’s still all about marketing and exposure when it comes to CES. This year, the best and brightest marketers in the world shared their secrets, opening eyes, minds, and pocketbooks at the greatest show on Earth for those of us who love technology, electronics, and all the things digital.

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