Virtual CES and Pepcom 2021: Takeaways for Future Shows
Image Credit: GeekWire
As has become the 2021 norm, both Pepcom and CES were entirely different conferences year. Flashy booths and media stop-bys became virtual waiting rooms and video demos. Although the events were virtual, they were still a chance for companies to build relationships with media and showcase their consumer appeal.
Fittingly, Pepcom and CES used the very thing they celebrate — technology — to connect exhibitors with media. Booths appeared as boxes with company logos on a landing page, and brief descriptions of each exhibitor — along with a video link — helped attendees decide if they wanted to “stop by” and talk with someone from the company. Despite the updated experience, reporters, editors, producers, and hosts still flocked to the event.
Some Highwire clients chose not to have a large presence at the shows, though the week did — somewhat unexpectedly — still prove to be a priority for media targets looking for news. Below are a few of Highwire’s standout campaigns:
While the company didn’t exhibit at CES, the team took a unique approach to connect with media attendees. The team highlighted Bespoken Spirits’ ability to tailor spirits in a matter of days vs. decades by leaning into the de-stressing effects of a good cocktail. Consumer and lifestyle reporters received a designed recipe card for a CES-themed cocktail and an offer to sample Bespoken whiskey. By including ingredients that most media already have at home (such as honey and syrup), the team also helped emphasize the company’s focus on sustainability.
This smart home company previewed a new matte black finish for its most recent smart lock, Level Touch, at Pepcom. The new finish, which turned several heads at the show, adds to momentum Level has seen in the past year driven by two product launches — Level Bolt and Level Touch. The team offered a firsthand look at the lock’s new finish through a video demo with the company to event attendees, which encouraged conversations with people the company had existing relationships with and expanded visibility with new faces.
Level’s 2021 Pepcom booth preview
Despite the virtual experience, these events were still a great opportunity for PR teams to build relationships with key media attendees and drive awareness for their clients.
Based on the media feedback teams received, here are a few tips on how to best engage with attendees at future virtual events:
- Familiarity is everything: Strengthen pre-existing relationships by positioning the stop-bys as an informal chance to get the latest on the company. Be sure to reference the last conversation to jog the reporter’s memory.
- Give a reason to engage with the product: Get creative! Don’t simply offer a sample or review unit from your client, but give them a way to actively experience it (like we saw with Bespoken’s cocktail recipe).
- No news? No problem: If you don’t have news to announce, focus on introductions between relevant targets and your client by leaning into their beat. Check out their Muck Rack and Twitter pages, as well as recent coverage, to get a sense of what they’re covering. If they like what your client is showcasing, they still might include it in a Pepcom/CES roundup.