WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW
LAST OCTOBER WE TOOK YOU ON A LITTLE TOUR OF ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CONFERENCES OUT THERE, COMIC-CON NYC AND SPENT SOME TIME DIVING INTO WHAT MAKES IT GREAT. WE'D LIKE TO DO THAT AGAIN WITH ANOTHER LARGE-SCALE EVENT THAT WE THINK IS A GREAT CASE STUDY.
ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCES BEGINS TODAY IN LAS VEGAS, THE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW (CES) PUT ON BY THE CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION. THIS ANNUAL EVENT SHOWCASES INNOVATIONS IN ELECTRONICS AND TECHNOLOGY ACROSS A BROAD SPECTRUM OF APPLICATIONS: PERSONAL, HOUSEHOLD, CORPORATE, RECREATIONAL, ENTERTAINMENT--ANY ASPECT OF TECHNOLOGY THAT MIGHT BE APPEALING TO CONSUMERS.
THIS YEAR, THEIR FOCUS IS ON TWO RAPIDLY EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES: ROBOTICS AND VIRTUAL REALITY, SO THERE ARE SOME REALLY FUN THINGS TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE. BEYOND THIS, THOUGH, WE WANTED TO EXAMINE THE FOUNDATIONS OF WHAT MAKES THIS CONFERENCE COMPELLING TO MORE THAN 175,000 ATTENDEES ANNUALLY (INCLUDING MORE THAN 7500 MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA AND HUNDREDS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS).
LET'S LOOK AT WHAT THEY DO WELL AND HOW YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO APPLY THEIR IDEALS EVEN ON A SMALL SCALE FOR YOUR OWN EVENT.
a WEBSITE that WORKS
Is this the most visually stunning website ever? No--but it's simple, clear, and easy to navigate. A few posts ago we detailed for you why you might want a microsite for your event and CES is a great example of why it's important and why it works well to have a site dedicated to your event. Their branding is clear and colorful, there is lots of white space, and all of the information you need, whether you're an attendee or just someone exploring, is easy to find. Their navigation is linear as you would experience the event.
a playful ATTITUDE
We love this because it shows that the one of the biggest technology organizations out there doesn't take itself too seriously and has a sense of humor. Frankly, their motto is accurate, too. WHOA. This is pretty much what we all do when we see something groundbreaking, surprising, and new--all of which applies to emerging technologies. It's smart, simple, and funny--proof that you don't have to be too serious even if your products are. We also love how authentic this feels, which is another great way to really get users to really engage with your brand.
CAPTIVATE THE BEST in the biz
You know you have the right formula when the who's who of your industry are clamoring to attend, speak, and collaborate. So how do you make your event the gold standard? We suggest you start small. CES didn't bloom overnight but they continually tweaked a formula that worked and began to cultivate relationships with the brands they hoped would hold court at their event year after year. Now, they have come to be the unmissable event in the technology industry with names like Amazon, LG, Samsung, Microsoft attending annually and saving this stage to unveil their hottest innovations. If you intend to have a repeat event, think hard about how to cultivate your long-term vision for success.
GIVE AN OPPORTUNITY UNAVAILABLE ELSEWHERE
Going back to their "Whoa!" motto, at CES, the chance to experience consumer technologies long before they are ever revealed to the public is an enticing invitation. This week at CES, robotics--especially personal and household robotics (think about the steps beyond your Roomba and Nest) and big moves forward in virtual reality are the big attractions. Attendees of CES will be able to experience things that most consumers will never see. This chance to experience and understand things that haven't been widely shared, plays into tech fans desires to be the first ones in the door (and also their fear of missing out). Indeed, guests of CES will leave this weekend with a deep understanding of technology innovations that fewer than 200,000 people are aware of--this is an exciting privilege. Even if your event is a small one, finding a way to give an unexpected or unique experience to your attendees is key. Let them come away with a lasting feeling that they have been part of something totally special.
HAVE A STRONG FOUNDATION AND BUILD ON IT
Establishing consistency is key here--to keep people engaged, you must have an excellent product year after year. However, maintaining quality won't be enough-- you have to continue to innovate the event as the years go by. CES uses a few strategies for this: mini-events called CES Unveiled in tech hotspots around the globe (they function like teasers for the big event), an executive club, and an Innovation Award program. CES has gone through a few iterations over the decades, evolving as technology does is only the smart thing to do (like having their own app), but overall, they have maintained a strong track record for decades. In fact, their 50th anniversary celebration is this weekend. From Blu-Ray to Amazon Alexa, each year they find new talent, new innovators and industry disruptors to add to their roster, to keep the event consistently exciting. Knowing what you do well and strengthening that property, while pushing through your opportunities, should help you establish an event with staying power.
CHECK OUT WHAT 50 YEARS OF EVENT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE HERE
HAVE YOU BEEN TO CES OR ANOTHER CONFERENCE YOU THINK OUR READERS CAN LEARN FROM? WE'D LOVE TO HEAR ALL ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. WE LOVE FIGURING OUT WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOUR EVENTS, WHICH IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO.