CES Looms: Four Tips for Telling Your Story
For many of our clients, CES – that little old event in Vegas (ha…) – is the culmination of years of work, from engineering and product development to fundraising and marketing. Media are looking for that next big “thing” that’s going to tip the scales and propel us forward – which isn’t something they find every year. Dealers are at the show looking at the trends and products that are going to shape their inventory in following years. Companies are both sizing up the competition and identifying potential partners.
Here at March, we’re invested in how our clients tell their story – something that can impact every part of their CES experience, if done right. (And, indeed, if done wrong.)
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together four calls to action for your prep time ahead of this year’s show, to make sure you’re hitting all the most important notes.
First things first – have a story. Are you making a new product announcement? Is there an update to the product you showcased last year? Do you have an exciting new use case to present? There’s a lot of noise at CES. Without a hook and, ideally, something eye-catching, you’re going to struggle. This rich storytelling element isn’t just about press releases, videos or handouts. It’s also about your booth design and the experiential elements that pull it all together.
So, don’t just have a story – know how you’re going to tell it to media. From a purely logistical perspective, all media ducks should ideally be in a row so that you can answer the following questions by Thanksgiving: 1) what is your news? 2) why should media care? 3) what are we inviting media to experience or learn more about on your CES booth? 4) who are the core spokespeople available to press?
This also means having your press release and press kit assets finalized by the time you’re off enjoying that Thanksgiving turkey. When your PR team gets back, they’re going to receive the first iteration of the CES media list, and that means it’s GO time. They’ll be trimming that list down from 4,000+ attendees to a highly targeted 5 or 10 percent of that number. Your team will want to begin pre-pitching your news and inviting media to briefings and product demos as soon as possible.
Invest in break-out media events. CES itself can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to getting your story noticed by your key media. While you’ll have pre-pitched for briefings at CES itself, there is always the opportunity for more fly-by interactions with press – but these often come at the break-out media events taking place outside of show hours, like Showstoppers or CES Unveiled.
Both of these events offer opportunities to connect with media in a more concentrated environment – with nibbles and some wine – where they’re actively looking for stories. We find that these shows offer the chance to interact with press who may not have bitten on your initial pitch, or who didn’t have time for a briefing at CES. Our clients, especially startups, often get the most media visibility from these events, as compared with CES itself.
Be everywhere – go after content and award opportunities. There is an extraordinary number of content and award opportunities taking place around CES and they all represent yet another chance to get your brand out there and saturate the event. These include big ticket items like the CES Innovation Awards and a contributed spot in the CES Daily as well as seemingly smaller (but definitely not less important) opps like your brand’s online directory listing. We clocked at least 17 of these opportunities last year for one of our clients, and they each have their own impact on the visibility of your brand and product’s story.
CES represents an incredible media and business opportunities for consumer tech brands. But, it’s a whirlwind that’s easy to get caught up in and, without the proper planning, brands can miss out on some of the most important moments for visibility of the entire year. So, start early, and sink deeply into the surreal mania that is CES. The rewards on the other side are priceless!
CES Case Study – March Communications and Marxent