PR pros pair technology with personal touch at CES

LAS VEGAS, NV: A grab bag of technology and old-school principles are helping PR pros cut through the noise to make their mark at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

LAS VEGAS, NV: A grab bag of technology and old-school principles are helping PR pros cut through the noise to make their mark at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

Access Communications VP Cori Barrett is using a group texting application called GroupMe to communicate with her team of 12 scattered throughout the event, so everyone is on the same page.

“I don't know what we did without it last year,” she said.

While it may be tempting to lean on all things tech to promote tech clients, going offline and embracing personal relationships is also key in getting event attendees and reporters to visit booths and exhibits. “It comes down to relationships, just like in real life,” Barrett said.

It appears mobile, geolocation apps like Foursquare are being used to entice people to booths and to interact with exhibits. Kaplow PR SVP of emerging media and digital strategy Chaim Haas is seeing brands use Foursquare by rewarding reporters and attendees when they “check-in” at booths and including invites to other private events.

“They are starting to use location not just as fun, but also as a means of engagement,” said Haas.

In full disclosure, Foursquare works with Kaplow as AOR for messaging, media relations, and an education campaign.

Cutting through the madness and noise at the mega event can be tough, but a greater audience absent from the event is watching, and listening. Haas said he saw what he described as reporters with video backpacks on to live stream video from the event.

“More than last year, the walls of the conference have been broken down,” he said. “People can watch the conference as it is happening.”

Horn Group SVP Katie Neuman agrees that technology is playing a giant role in PR at the event this year, including TV demonstrations at exhibits live-streaming tweets. Yet, PR pros are going to greater lengths this year to put a personal touch on outreach with teams of PR agents roaming the event floor to engage visitors and draw them back to exhibits.

“A lot of hand holding going on this year to give people more context,” Neuman said.

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