CES is arguably one of the most competitive tech events in the world for journalists and exhibitors alike. Because of this fact, it is important for the vehicle technology providers and automotive mobility suppliers we serve to fully understand the media relations / PR landscape of this massive event for several reasons:
Based on our 30+ years of PR experience, many of those supporting automotive clients at CES, we’ve identified several key media relations facts, challenges your company could face and the opportunities that could potentially surround them:
Even with millions of square feet of CES exhibit space, it goes fast.
Challenge: Although this is a vast amount of space offered to exhibitors, it is unfortunately possible to get locked out of exhibiting on the show floor. Many late comers, in years past, have been unable to secure the exhibit space they want.
Opportunity: Even if your company cannot secure the booth or product demonstration space it seeks, there are still ways to leverage media relations at CES. Typically, there are a few major pre-packaged media events that can draw solid media attendance in a meet-and-greet format, such as: CES Unveiled; Pepcom Digital Experience; and Show Stoppers.
These events have been so popular with journalists that many companies who are solely interested in media coverage have chosen to participate in one of these events, instead of having a booth. However, 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 4,815 media representatives attended CES 2023.
Challenge: While even more media are expected to attend in 2024, a large majority of these journalists (which broke out in 2023 as 58% domestic and 42% international) that attended CES 2023 were there to cover the latest in consumer electronic products and gadgets. So, unfortunately for automotive suppliers and mobility technology companies, most of the journalists are not attending to cover automotive and vehicle technology suppliers.
Opportunity: So, if you are an automotive supplier or vehicle technology provider, to optimize your PR opportunity, make sure you have a compelling story with a good consumer angle that also addresses industry trends or issues. You’ll also need to have strong visuals and videos to offer. If you can deliver all of this, 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 success.
With 221,000 stories produced last year, CES offers thousands of potential media relations opportunities.
Challenge: The official media days for pre-show press conferences typically lasts only a day and a half, so the number of official news conference slots is quite limited, with most of the slots going to larger exhibitors with significant news.
Opportunity: Despite all of this, your company will have up to five days to connect with media at the show – for conversations, demonstrations and more, if you target the right reporters, develop a compelling story and pitch as early as one or two months before the show. With the right strategy, you can make it the best media relations opportunity your company has ever experienced.
3,273 exhibitors in 2023, including 1,051 start-ups, attracted reporters from all over the world.
Challenge: With such a large group of exhibitors, automotive suppliers and mobility technology providersface intense competition for journalists’ attention. And frankly, it’s logistically impossible for a reporter to cover thousands, even hundreds, of exhibitors in just a few days. Add to that the many distractions reporters face from other activities, including speeches, panels and receptions, it’s a lot for a reporter to take in and digest.
Opportunity: Such a large worldwide media audience that is in one place at one time offers the potential for your technology to be experienced by a much broader global audience than it might otherwise attract at other shows or individual media events.
CES 2023 attracted 118,000 industry attendees, with 64.5% domestic and 35.5% international.
Challenge: If your company is trying to do interviews or demonstrations with journalists on the show floor amidst this massive number of attendees from 151 countries, territories and regions around the globe, the show traffic and noise can easily impact your results and, unfortunately, 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 base for uninterrupted media interviews, as well as customer meetings. But you should be forewarned, booking private space through CTA is highly advised, as trying to book space for unsanctioned events offsite is likely to get your company banished from future CES events.
CES takes place in the entertainment capital of the world, dazzling Las Vegas.
Challenge: With the show expected to attract perhaps as many as 150,000 visitors in 2024, the sheer number of people in Las Vegas during CES can cause severe traffic gridlock and logistical confusion for attendees. Worse yet, the lure of shows, gambling and other extracurricular activities can distract and fatigue 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. Embargoed pre-event interviews and demonstrations are one option that can take the fatigue factor out of the mix and allow journalists to develop and hold their stories before they even arrive. Early pitching can also help secure post-CES interviews, which allows 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 CES 2024, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Jessica Muzik
Jessica is vice president – account service at Bianchi PR with more than 26 years of PR experience across the corporate, industrial and community perspectives.
You might also be interested in: