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Top tips from UK tech media on how your brand can rise above the noise at leading consumer electronics show, CESDate Posted: 27 November, 2017
Exclusive press briefings, endless product demos, miles and miles of exhibition halls; even for those who haven’t traversed the depths of CES, its reputation travels far from its yearly residence in Las Vegas. To find out exactly what it is that consumer tech brands should be doing to rise above the chaos at CES, we spoke to a series of top technology journos to get some insight into how to filter your message through the mayhem.
Bring something different to the table
Amid all of the hubbub and the big names that show a face at CES, one thing that is imperative as a baseline to get yourself heard is to ensure you’re showing something different. Having that key USP and being able to show your brand is thinking outside of the box is the most sure-fire way to get as much attention as possible.
As Dan Grabham, Online Editor at T3, told us: ‘’A lot of the buzz around CES is predictably dominated by the big names, but the bottom line is that we like to talk about really interesting products that we think readers will be interested in and so that’s what makes a brand stand out. These tend to be the products that are doing something a little different. They might have a clever design, incorporate new technology that readers want or solve a common problem. The main issue for many brands is that CES is full of very similar products. That makes it problematic to cover as well!’’
Provide as much information as possible ahead of time
Considering how valuable a commodity time and space is at CES, getting any important information into the right hands ahead of time can prove itself worth its weight in gold. A man well-versed in the trials and tribulations of CES, Guy Cocker, Global Brand Director for Stuff Magazine, states: ‘’The best tip I can give is that if you want to get actual coverage at CES, try and meet us in December, before CES. We’re happy to sign embargoes, as it’s so much easier to get the coverage in the bag before you go out there. You also get a much better feel for the product if you’re not racing around the show floor’’.
Backing up this sentiment is Tomi Adebayo, the tech influencer Gadgets Boy, who adds: ‘’Advance notice and exclusive content or hands-on is key. Having someone from the brand who can be quizzed on and off record is also useful’’.
Make things as convenient as possible
As much as it might be construed as a bit of an old adage, there’s no doubting that when it comes to the likes of CES, convenience is key. If getting information to key press before the show is liable to prove beyond a brand’s reach, the least they can do is make things as simple as possible when everything kicks off.
Kieran Alger, freelance journalist for a range of titles including TechRadar and Wareable, says: ‘’If there’s anything a brand can do to make it easier for me to meet with them that’s a win. I’ve always looked at the taxi queues after the show and thought it’d be great idea for a brand to run a shuttle and take the opportunity on the shuttle to do a quick demo of their wares. The other big draw is reliable wi-fi, a seat and a cup of coffee. Brands with accessible lounges are a God send. I also think it’s important for brands to support media a little. Don’t make the experience feel too forced and formal, help us get to speak to the right people, create product demo zones where it’s easier for media to create the content they need. Oh, and a free pin badge. That’s always a winner’’.
Changes in CES over the years
Despite maintaining its sense of scale and intensity over the years, the truth of the matter is that CES has morphed into something different since its inception, and this is something else brands need to bear in mind when planning how to manage their presence, as it’s also affecting attending media. Both Dan and Kieran flag in particular the use of social media, Dan noting how ‘’because of social media it’s also now easier to get a handle on the top products you need to cover’’, Kieran flagging how ‘’where once it was all about the 400-word news stories, the move to shorter, snackable video-led social media content is driving a different kind of coverage’’.
The other key element raised is how media have become involved with the show itself in different ways. Guy uses the example of Stuff’s relationship with CES as an official partner, not only via their CES Wearable Awards they run but also the ‘’Best of CES’’ content hubs they do on the website. Ensuring brands are aware of such affiliations and partnerships and able to maximise any such opportunities if possible is yet another way they can attempt to stick their head above the rising waterline of competition at the show.