What you really missed at CES

CES is another version of the Cannes Lions festival in its ability to draw an impressive variety and quality of attendees looking for a dose of networking, recruiting, and learning within the context of media and innovation.

Two weeks after International CES 2014, the volume of news and post-event analysis has diminished, and some of the implications to communicators and brand managers are becoming more obvious. 

Simply put, CES is another version of the Cannes Lions festival in its remarkable ability to draw an impressive variety and quality of attendees looking for a concentrated dose of networking, recruiting, and learning within the context of media, ideas, and innovation. It is, among many other things, a “creative” event of a new kind. 

Clients I spoke with during and after fell into three camps: those who were there to directly support and execute product promotions; those who were there to sponge off everything to been seen in order to inform their decisions and vision for their brands back home; and those who didn't make it and were increasingly envious and now determined to get to Las Vegas next January to experience it for themselves. 

The universal relevance of this event is escalating and being appreciated by professionals representing everything from muscle cars and credit cards to Greek yogurt and luxury products. If you want a window into what people are going to be adopting into their increasingly digital and media-surrounded lives, there is no better place to go. It's a remarkable petri dish and crystal ball rolled up into a near 24/7 networking event with endless meals and sponsored parties.

Our perspective from FleishmanHillard was particularly amplified by the unique role we played as the Consumer Electronics Association's official social media monitoring partner. The media coverage of our “Black Box” presence and analysis right from the ground floor reached a staggering 174 million people worldwide through the likes of CNN, E!, and countless tech and lifestyle outlets. That is a mind blowing data point. News wasn't just streaming in endlessly about what companies were doing, but about how people were reacting, in near real time.

Perhaps more telling was the overwhelming interest by potential new clients to see this kind of communications-based technology and approach applied to their business. 

Making connections in a whirlwind environment while celebrating the next big wave of innovations coming our way, that's what you missed if you missed CES.

Bill Power is the global practice leader for brand marketing at FleishmanHillard.

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