How To Survive CES 2015

Lisen Syp

The glow of a fire, a little gelt, twinkling lights and laughter, Santa and New Year’s Eve bubbles…this is what December is all about. Unless you’re a marketer or a PR person heading to CES! While we’re enjoying friends and family these holidays, we also know that that CES is coming screeching around the corner. Getting prepared for CES is a major Q4 initiative, but no matter how well prepared we are, the final two pre-show weeks are critical.

PAN has for four clients launching at CES this year and many others attending. Here are some tips and tricks compiled from those of us at PAN Communications on what to do between now and January 6 so that you can ensure success at 2015 CES!

Before the show: Media Relations

  • Research the press conference list in advance – especially those taking place on Monday – between Unveiled and the actual start of the show – to plot out where you can assume your target media will be and when. Bring business cards, fact sheets, and if possible, your product, and see which media attention you can attract on their way in and out of formalized conferences.
  • Create a Twitter list of key media and influencers you want to engage with at the show so you can stay tuned into what they’re seeing as cool or trending in real-time.
  • Research hits from last year’s show for competitive products and pitch the same media contact. Even if her beat has changed she might be able to share insight in to who’s covering your space this year.
  • Practice, practice, practice!! Especially if your start-up client is launching a new product at CES, they may not be familiar with talking to the media. Run through every question you can think of with them, multiple times. The more comfortable they are talking about their product, the more successful the week will be.
  • Agree on an elevator speech. In many cases you’ll have under a minute to secure interest. Know your key message, and the benefit of your product to the end user. The coolest device in the world will fall on deaf ears if it’s not easy to understand and the inherent benefit isn’t understood.

At the show: Stay Sane

  • CES is an incredibly rich environment for sharing your brand story. Awards, conferences, broadcast galore and literally thousands of media to engage…it is heady, and can quickly get to be overwhelming. Stay focused on who you’d like to reach, and use good old fashioned organization to succeed. Collaborate with your colleagues. Collect business cards. Divide and conquer. Set up a shared Google doc calendar so that you know everyone’s schedule and appointments, and update it regularly. Keep a media list and update it with conversations you have, emails you send and calls you make. The more you track, the better you’ll be able to follow up. Leave nothing to memory!
  • Be yourself. Really. To make the show a success remember that everyone there is human. It sounds easy but people often forget to keep that personal touch involved because they’re so focused on pitching their product. Be personable, smile, ask how reporters are doing, always be friendly. The reporter might have already done 15 interviews, gotten little to no sleep, and it’s a fact that by Wednesday his feet are already killing him. Even the most influential writer is ultimately missing home and his bed. Keep it real and have fun.
  • Stay connected to base camp. Have direct line of communication with your team in the office to handle details, like emailing press materials or images, tracking down a phone number, or posting a real-time media hit to share with stakeholders.

Survival Skills:

  • Protect your battery life:
    • Connect to WiFi whenever possible – on tablet and smartphones
    • If you’re demoing a mobile device or app, have a back-up device to demo if you lose all your juice
    • Consider bringing an alternative portable charger, like a Mophie for more juice
    • Bring your charger everywhere you go! A few minutes of extra juice can make a huge difference
    • Tuck a multiple outlet plug adaptor in your laptop bag. When you do find a plug, you’ll find it is often already in use…so sharing your adaptor means multiple charges at once. The added benefit might even end up being a new media contact or influencer friend.
    • Turn off all juice-sucking apps. Double check to be sure!
  • Pack granola bars. Food lines are long and meeting windows are short, and it can take 20 minutes to get from your booth to your media suite, easily.
  • Ladies: don’t wear heels. Just don’t. Wear layers. Vegas AC can be frigid, and if you’re under lights, you’ll start to roast within a few minutes. Think through your day and dress for as much for comfort and versatility as style.
  • Try to relax, and enjoy. CES is a true spectacle, and every hour offers a whole new opportunity for your client. If an editor is a no-show, move on. Use your energy on success that you can achieve moment to moment, don’t sweat the small stuff.

See you at the show!

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