Why CES Still Matters!

January 20, 2015
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We’ve had a week now to decompress since the team here at Gregory FCA returned from CES in Las Vegas. Just like every year, our post mortem of the weeklong orgy of everything technology reveals that even after 48 years, CES is still the premier media event for consumer technology companies. Sure, we get probed about its value all year long from clients who rightly question the investment of showing and attending. They always debate whether CES still commands market impact, and if a company can stand out and make headlines among the thousands of presenters.

Here’s the truth: CES is what you make of it. Make no mistake: The competition for media attention is stiff. But consider the alternative. It would take years of one-on-one introductions to reach the same critical mass of media that attends four days of CES. The halls are literally crawling with media, all on the prowl to be the first that finds cool new technologies, gadgets and gizmos to share with readers, viewers and listeners. Where else do reporters from the BBC stand shoulder to shoulder with writers from Mashable or does the New York Times compete for interviews with Canadian TV? This year proved fruitful for many of our clients who were interviewed and appeared in everything from USA Today to The Verge.

Yet, it doesn’t just happen by showing up. You need a clear and crisp game plan if you intend to win at CES, and it’s never too early to start planning.

  1. Build out your product pipeline to peak at CES. Yes, it’s still about news and if you have nothing new, playing the media game is all the more difficult. So start well in advance (even now) to create a pipeline of products and new features that hit in time for next year’s CES.
  2. Accept the timing. The first full week of January is a tough time to do media relations. Most media is out of pocket over the holidays, which makes for chaos that first week back. The caveat? Start seeding media early in December in order to schedule interviews and demos during the show.
  3. Work the floor. The media is everywhere and accepting of a cold intro. Find them. Target them. Introduce yourself and share your story. It’s a sure-fire, overlooked way to win media coverage.
  4. Use social media. Media members are leaving tidbits all over their social channels of what they’re looking for, where they are going, and how to reach them. Use your social accounts to connect before, during, and after the show.
  5. Issue news releases. That’s right. Even in an ocean of news, the media still needs a life raft to help with storytelling. A well-crafted story, complete with stats or fact or details, can often win coverage just because you made it easier for the press to report.
  6. Leverage, leverage, leverage. Post and repost your coverage. The media moves in packs. If others are reporting your story, then they feel more comfortable doing the same. It’s monkey see, monkey do when deadlines are tight and there’s space and time to fill.
  7. Participate in pre-show media events. Pepcom and CES Unveiled never fail to win media coverage. They come with additional fees, but they also provide exclusive media access that the larger show cannot provide.
  8. Make it a team effort. CES works best when you divide and conquer, leverage all your people and resources to build excitement and interview the media. It works best when you incorporate your PR team in every aspect of the event and empower them to tell your story in rich and detailed ways!

So is CES worth the investment? It is if your company needs to make some noise and build awareness. The opportunity to win at CES starts with months of advance planning and only wins once you gain the media coverage your consumer product deserves!

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