Each year OOKII Company helps both new and established high tech companies generate outstanding media coverage for their products and brand at CES. This year we decided to share with you the challenges of CES and some of OOKII Company’s tried and tested strategies for a successful CES.
‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat!’
CES IS BIG (2017 stats.)
4,000+ exhibiting companies and over 2.6 million sq. ft. of exhibitor space.
CES MEDIA COVERAGE
Almost 60,000 media mentions and more than 69 billion potential media impressions in January alone.
Industry Attendees 109,498
Exhibitor Personnel 67,321
Deciding to attend and booking a booth at CES is but the first small step. The biggest challenge still remains – and that is getting your product in front of the right people.
1 – Defining Your Message and Media Audience
You will need to craft a story that breaks through the CES media clutter. Unless you are planning to unveil a functioning cold fusion reactor, you are going to need to invest a significant amount of time deciding exactly how to get that media attention. Start by thinking about it from the journalist’s perspective, most journalists receive hundreds of unsolicited new pitches every day, and even more during CES week. While we all like to believe what we have created is truly unique, so do all the other CES exhibitors. You will need to craft a truly compelling story that resonates with the media audience you’re looking to engage with. This is very useful, because if you think about it, not all 7,460 journalists are going to be interested in your product, so figure out who would be interested and focus on those.
At the same time consider the audiences those media journalists and influencers are looking to reach and engage with. Explore the various use cases that end-customers can imagine for your product. How do they see your product integrating into their daily lives? Once you truly understand that part of the puzzle you can have a more meaningful conversation with a journalist about your product and how it relates to his/her readership.
Ensure all press messaging and assets are locked down by Thanksgiving, once the holiday is over journalists begin to think about CES. Which means your press messaging and photo/video assets need to ready before then, because you now have other things to focus on.
A glimpse of the organized chaos that is CES
2 – Setting up Media Meetings
As you can imagine CES is extremely busy and noisy, asking journalists to drop in at your booth during the show is of limited value to you. As well as a booth on the exhibition floor you will also need a private meeting room, close to or even on the exhibition floor. This is where you will be scheduling your media meetings. In this quiet controlled environment, the journalist can give you and your product his/her undivided attention and together you can have a meaningful conversation. Trust us, the journalist will welcome the opportunity to sit down and re-hydrate
while watching a demo and asking questions. Journalists don’t become respected by copy pasting press releases. This meeting is where journalists ask questions and start to formulate what their angle will be with their readerships/followers. You and your team can help facilitate that by providing the journalists with they need; images, video clips, quotations, samples, demonstrations, case studies and access to your senior management at the show.
This process should start as soon as the CES media list is released in November. If you wait until December, you will be behind the pack and it will be hard to get slots in the journalists CES schedule. Don’t be too rigid, journalists often prefer to offer a window of time rather than a specific time.
Remember those other 3,999 exhibitors are now your competitors for media mind share. Journalists will appreciate you reaching out ahead of the show because the show is too big for them to see everything they want. The earlier you can get a product on a journalist’s dance card the better.
Whoever calls journalists needs to be thoroughly briefed about the product, this is one of those rare occasions where promising to get back with an answer probably isn’t going to cut it. Be fully prepared and use the call as an opportunity to earn the journalists confidence, by demonstrating that you know your product, and understand their needs.
One of the things you will be offering journalists is “one on one” access to your senior executives. You may be dealing with multiple executives attending the show each with different schedules of availability for media interviews. One person needs to own this scheduling task as a priority, because it will change during the show. Log all media and key meetings in one schedule, make the schedule accessible to everyone who will be attending the show.
Pre-Show media Events
These events are where you’ll meet the bulk of media attendees.
3 – At the Booth
Product demos need to be choreographed and rehearsed. Booth staff need to be prepared for journalists or camera crews to “drop-in” this usually means you will need a minimum of two spokespeople available on your booth at all times. Articulate and well-presented they must be capable of representing the brand/product on camera. It’s vital that your spokespeople have had media training and command in-depth knowledge about the product. Broadcast media opportunities can happen on the fly at CES, so make sure everyone on your booth knows who the chosen spokespeople are and where they are at all times.
For any high-tech or more complex products, make sure you have a product engineer or technical expert at the booth available to answer in-depth questions. Take the time to role play questions before the show this may reveal topics you don’t want the technical expert to address.
Once the show is underway, make sure booth personnel understand the color coding of the media badges. Don’t be shy about approaching journalists as they go pass your booth. Approach them and invite them into the booth. All booth representatives must be able to explain the product and be fully conversant with the messaging that was developed before the show.
Keep the booth fully stocked with Press Packs and hand them out to anyone from the media who is even vaguely interested.
4 – After the Show
Follow up with everyone you engaged with at the show. Ensure that journalists don’t have any lingering questions from conversations at the show. Make sure everyone has the media assets and quotations that they need for their article. At this stage it’s very easy to drop the ball and lose out on great media opportunities by failing to follow-up with journalists who expressed initial interest in your product. Don’t assume the media you met with will remember your discussion, reach out to them after the show with an email thanking them for their time and letting them know you’re looking forward to working together in the future.
Media analysis. Make sure that you have media tracking in place and that you can follow up with a personalized thank you for everyone that covers your product announcement. This is how you will build credibility and long term media relationships. You may also need to tactfully correct any factual errors.