PR Challenge vs. Opportunity: Six Media Relations Facts You Should Know About CES

For reporters and exhibitors, CES is undoubtedly one of the most competitive trade shows we have seen in 25+ years of doing business-to-business PR.

So, to ensure success, it is important – especially for our client base: automotive suppliers and mobility technology providers – to understand the media landscape of this massive event … so they can set realistic targets and appropriately manage executive expectations.

Here are six media relations facts, the challenges you will face and the opportunities that surround them:

Fact #1: More than 6,600 media attend CES.

Challenge: A large majority of those journalists are there to cover the latest in consumer electronic products and gadgets. So, unfortunately for vehicle technology suppliers, most of the reporters do not attend CES with the intention of covering automotive supplier technology.

Opportunity: If you as a supplier have a compelling story with a good consumer angle that fits a trend, as well as strong visuals to offer, you may be able to snag some major consumer media coverage (think national network news or CNN) that your executives would view as a major win.

Fact #2: More than 4,500 exhibitors attract reporters from all over the world.

Challenge: Auto suppliers face intense direct competition for journalists’ attention, as well as many distractions.

Opportunity: The gathering of so many media (one-third of which are from outside the United States) in one place at one time offers the potential for your automotive to be experienced by a broader audience than it might otherwise attract at other shows or individual media events.

Fact #3: CES offers hundreds, if not thousands, of potential media relations opportunities.

Challenge: This multitude of opportunities are all crammed within a total of maybe 65 hours –even fewer if you focus only on the 1-1/2 media days that precede the show and are held at Mandalay Bay with a limited number of press conference time slots.

Opportunity: You will have 5.5 days to connect with media at the show – 1.5 media days and 4 show days for conversations, demonstrations and more. The key is to pitch early and get your media interview schedule filled well in advance of the show.

Fact #4: There’s more than 2.9 million sq. ft. of exhibit space for media to explore.

Challenge: Initial space selection for CES 2020 has already taken place, so it is easy to be locked out.

Opportunity: If you cannot secure booth space, there are still ways to leverage media relations at CES, including three major media events that draw solid media attendance: CES Unveiled; Pepcom Digital Experience; and Show Stoppers. Unveiled is held two days prior to CES, Pepcom runs the night before show opening, and Show Stoppers is on the first night of CES. These events are so popular with press that many companies who are solely interested in media coverage are choosing to attend one of these events, instead of having a booth. Reporters at these events are there to meet and greet, ask questions and try out products, while learning about your company.

Fact #5: In addition to the 6,600+ media, CES attracts more than 175,000 other attendees.

Challenge: If you are trying to do interviews or demonstrations with media on the show floor amidst the throngs, all of the show traffic and noise can have a negative impact on your results.

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 and demonstrations, as well as customer meetings. But be forewarned, booking through CTA is advised, as “outboarding” – trying to book space for unsanctioned events offsite – and can get you banished from future CES events.

Fact #6: CES takes place in dazzling Las Vegas, a city that calls itself the entertainment capital of the world.

Challenge: The sheer number of people in Vegas for CES causes traffic gridlock and logistical nightmares for attendees, while the lure of the all-night shows, partying and gambling, can distract, fatigue and overwhelm even the most industrious journalists.

Opportunity: If you begin your media pitching process early enough, you can often arrange pre-show, embargoed interviews or show previews. This helps to take the fatigue factor totally out of the mix – and allows reporters to develop and hold their stories before their plane even touches down at McCarran International Airport. Early pitching can also lock down some post-CES interviews, which will allow reporters to provide their full attention and enable you to side step the CES chaos and clutter.

Whatever you think about CES, it has become one of the most important events in the world for mobility technology companies and automotive suppliers. In fact, veteran auto industry journalist, analyst and host of the popular Autoline Detroit TV show, John McElroy, called CES 2019 was “the best auto show I have ever attended!”

With the right strategy, you can make it the best media relations opportunity your company has ever enjoyed.

You might also be interested in:
CES 2020: Six Ways Auto and Mobility Suppliers Can Maximize PR
How to Maximize Your Exhibit Success at CES
Five Things Auto Suppliers and Mobility Technology Providers Need to Do Now for a Successful CES

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