CES: Push The Experience, Not The Product

After taking a hiatus, many of us are looking forward to returning to CES in person, to walk among rows of shiny, pocket-sized gadgets, rainbow displays and stand before larger-than-life LEDs – giving us that feeling akin to seeing the toy store newly stocked for Christmas when we were children.

I remember strolling down the halls of booths in Sands Convention Center, the Las Vegas Convention Center, and around boutique suite activations in top name hotels. The booths can easily be mistaken for retail outlets, each hawking the latest in sleep, wellness, entertainment, and every form of tech imaginable. 

But while the displays are pretty and the products are prominent, looking like a retail store significantly diminishes the user experience. After all, we don’t stop in every store at the mall, do we? Stop pushing the product, push the experience instead. And, while you’re at it, push your experience. 

Beginning with the concept, it should be the how, not the what (as in, what kind of products are we pushing) that should be thought of first when filling a booth. 

How do we let attendees experience our brand? 

Simply going out there with matching signage and flyers and the same color chairs doesn’t make a brand. Think of the core of your company, your mission, your values, your message, and then think of a way to convey that to your attendees. 

How should attendees feel when they walk away? 

The user journey is important because, in the short amount of time that an attendee is at your booth, they should be directed to feel certain emotions at each informational interaction. The order of informational interactions may vary, but the journey should include: the attendee establishing rapport with your brand, addressing the attendee’s own applications for your product, and the attendee understanding the key essence of your brand. Remember, most attendees enter a booth due to curiosity, but few leave satisfied.

How do we bring the hype to life? 

In some cases, your reputation precedes you. Attendees seek out certain booths and, while some leave excited, others can leave disappointed. If you had to throw the biggest, baddest block party, what would it look like? Now, apply the same passion and excitement to your booth. Make sure there are enough brand ambassadors on hand to deliver your message and engage with the attendees who are checking out your booth.

A booth is like a spot among so many others in a speed dating event. It’s your personal spotlight and proper planning and execution can highlight what is uniquely special about your company (and, in turn, your products). Let attendees experience your brand, and they will be more in tuned to buy your product. In my humble opinion good companies do that and good agencies can help. 

Brand experience is something big names like Apple and Samsung succeed in. Although they aren’t the only names in tech, loyal customers flock to these brand even though the components in their products might be similar, or even originate from, the same manufacturer as their competing brands. These fangirls and boys who tout brand loyalty weren’t recruited overnight. I conjecture that they exist because, through and through, these big hitting brands have sold users a lifestyle experience rather than just describing their products’ features. Using their product is, in turn, a definition of the user’s being.

This year, make note of your favorite booths at CES and, at the end of the conference, reflect on what they all have in common. My money’s on the fact that they each provide a unique brand experience for you (and probably had great swag, too.) If you’re looking to create a great brand experience of your own at CES, DesignScene has an enviable track record of working with some of the the world’s biggest names in tech to deliver bespoke booths, suites, dinners and experiences at the show. What’s more, if the show doesn’t go on, we can pivot with you from an in-person to virtual event presence, ensuring that you’re still part of the CES action whatever form it might take. 

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