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CES 2023 will be one of the most competitive trade shows we’ve seen in our 30 years of doing business-to-business public relations. This hyper-competition will hold true for both journalists and exhibitors alike.
As such, it’s important for exhibitors – especially the vehicle technology providers and automotive mobility suppliers we serve – to fully understand the media landscape of this massive event to ensure success, set realistic targets and appropriately manage executive expectations about media attention you may or may not garner at the show.
Based on our years of PR experience and supporting clients at CES, we’ve outlined six media relations facts, as well as the challenge you may face and the opportunities that could potentially surround them:
2,279 exhibitors in 2022 attracted reporters from all over the world.
Challenge: With such a large group of exhibitors, automotive suppliers and mobility technology providers face intense competition for journalists’ attention. How does a reporter cover hundreds of exhibitors in just a few days? It’s logistically impossible. Plus, reporters face distractions from other activities, including speeches, panels and receptions.
Opportunity: The confluence of such a large media audience from around the world and in one place at one time offers the potential for your technology to be experienced by a broader global audience than it might otherwise attract at other shows or individual media events, if you can get their attention.
There will be millions of square feet of CES exhibit space, but it can go fast.
Challenge: Even with such a vast amount of space offered to exhibitors, it is possible to get locked out of exhibiting on the show floor. In years past, many late comers have been unable to secure the exhibit space they want.
Opportunity: If you cannot secure the booth or product demonstration space you seek, there are still ways to leverage media relations at CES. Typically, there are a few major pre-packaged media events that do draw solid media attendance in a Meet & Greet-type format, such as CES Unveiled; Pepcom Digital Experience; and Show Stoppers. Unveiled has been held two days prior to CES, Pepcom has typically runs the night before the show opening and Show Stoppers has been on the first night of CES. These events have been so popular with journalists that many companies who are solely interested in media coverage have chosen to attend one of these events, instead of having a booth. But note that most of the journalists attending these events are more consumer-product-oriented, and these receptions tend to lend themselves to smaller, table-top type product displays, rather than active vehicle technology demonstrations.
A combined 3,185 media (1,878 in person / 1,307 digitally) attended CES 2022 from 1,670 outlets
Challenge: A large majority of the 3,185 journalists (59% domestic and 41% international) that attended CES 2022 (in person and digitally) attended to cover the latest in consumer electronic products and gadgets. So, unfortunately for automotive suppliers and mobility technology companies, most of the journalists are just not interested in covering or are assigned to cover automotive and vehicle technology suppliers.
Opportunity: If your company is an automotive supplier or vehicle technology provider, make sure you have a compelling story with a good consumer angle that fits an industry trend or issue, as well as strong visuals and videos to offer. With these, you may be able to snag some major consumer media coverage, such as national network news, that your top executives would view as a CES media relations win.
In addition to the 3,185 media, CES 2022 attracted 84,600 industry attendees (44.5K in person and 40.1K digitally).
Challenge: CES2023’s crowd, absent a COVID surge, is likely to hit 100,000 to 150,000 people. So, if your company is trying to do interviews or demonstrations with journalists on the show floor amidst the massive number of attendees, the show traffic and noise can easily impact on your results … and most likely not in a positive way.
Opportunity: CES’ sponsor – the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) – offers a variety of exhibit suites, hospitality suites and meeting rooms for private meetings, conversations and demonstrations. These intimate settings can allow your company to have a home base for uninterrupted media interviews, as well as customer meetings.
And be forewarned, booking private space through CTA is advised, as trying to book space for unsanctioned events offsite can get you banished from future CES events.
CES offers hundreds, if not thousands, of potential media relations opportunities.
Challenge: The official Media Days for pre-show press conferences typically last only a day and a half, so the number of official news conference slots is severely limited, with most of those going to larger exhibitors.
Opportunity: Despite the competition, your company will have up to five days to connect with media at the show – for conversations, demonstrations and more, but only if you target the right reporters, develop a compelling story and pitch as early as one or two months before the show. The best feeling in the world for a PR person at CES is to have your company’s media interview schedule filled well in advance of the show.
CES has become one of the most important events in the world for vehicle technology companies and automotive suppliers. With the right strategy, you can also make it the best media relations opportunity your company has ever experienced.
CES takes place in the entertainment capital of the world, dazzling Las Vegas.
Challenge: With the show expected to attract 100,000 or more in-person visitors, the sheer number of people in Las Vegas during CES can cause severe traffic gridlock and logistical confusion for attendees, while the lure of the all-night shows, partying and gambling, can distract, fatigue and waylay even the most industrious journalists.
Opportunity: To work around the distractions, it helps to begin your media pitching process early so that you can arrange pre-show, embargoed interviews or show previews. This helps to take the fatigue factor out of the mix and allows journalists to develop and hold their stories before they even arrive. Early pitching can also lock down some post-CES interviews, which will allow journalists to provide their full attention and enable you to sidestep the CES chaos.
If you’d like more insight on how to succeed with PR at CES2023, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1.248.269.1122.
Author: Jessica Muzik
Jessica is vice president – account service at Bianchi PR with more than 25 years of PR experience across the corporate, industrial and community perspectives.
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