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CES Rookie Mistakes? Here’s What the Media Has to Say

Hotwire Global

How do you describe CES? Last week, media from CNET, Digital Trends, Fast Company, Inc., Laptop Mag, Refinery 29 and Tom’s Guide described the experience as, “it’s our Super Bowl,” “it’s like being in a pressure cooker,” “exciting but overwhelming,” a literal “tsunami of company updates” and with many company announcements that are “generic” and “worthless.”  For brands and reporters alike, CES is expensive, exciting and exhausting. With brands investing thousands, if not millions of dollars to have a memorable presence at CES, it’s critical to work with a team who understands the media’s experience, approach and trends shaping the coverage landscape to maximize value. Here are some rookie mistakes to avoid to help you get more out of CES and not get lost among the 4.5K other brand sponsors.

The Palms – Great for parties, not for media briefings – Brand spokespeople are busy! So are the reporters! CNET cautions brands, and those pitching on behalf of companies, to bear in mind how challenging it is to get around Las Vegas to all of the meetings. Digital Trends once clocked in 80 miles(!) of steps from running around CES for all the meetings. All the media reinforced that destination meetings are not ideal, unless it’s for major news and scheduled back before November. “Don’t make me go to the Palms, unless it’s for a party.” The best way to engage the media is to work with teams who intimately know the reporters’ schedules to book early in the event, earlier in the day, or during a time when you’re helping a reporter in transit. “If you help me get from one part of Vegas to another, I’m happy to take an interview in the car to my next meeting or hotel.”

Putting all your Eggs in the CES basket – CES is sensory overload. While it is the largest stage to make a big announcement in the consumer tech world, CNET, Fast Company, Inc., Digital Trends warn brands to not use CES as the place to launch if you’re a lesser-known company. Months before and after CES and at other events such as ShowStoppers and Pepcom throughout the year is when we nurture these media relationships in person, to help brands get attention. “Lighting the product on fire or having a celebrity” helps get attention, Digital Trends joked, but Fast Company and Inc. reinforced that a highly visual component will help brands stand out in addition to briefing, filming and demoing news slated for CES in the summer or early fall.

Fake news – Reporters still love exclusives to news, when they’re legit. Fast Company and Inc. cautioned brands from giving an exclusive to one publisher and then multimedia interviews to a competing publisher. Tom’s Guide / Laptop Mag was surprised by how often brands break their own embargo by posting the news on their website first. CNET and Digital Trends reinforced that an embargo needs to be agreed upon first, and are great for real news. What doesn’t make the cut as real news? “A new phone case is not going to change the world.” We help teams navigate what will resonate with reporters and ensure expectations are in line with what a brand needs and what the reporter needs to create a stronger relationship between the two that will have long-term ROI.

Additional resources to get more out of your CES investment

As an essential bridge between the media and brands, Hotwire is an advocate for both the companies and media on site with decades of experience on-site to help brands maximize their CES experience. For additional guidance, check out:

Still on the fence about attending CES? Don’t have a booth but still want to maximize CES? Drop us a line and we’re happy to put you in touch with our experts who will be on-site at CES 2020.