(By Buzz Knight) As I write this CES 2023 Wrapped article, like many of you who attended, I’m winging my way back home trying to extrapolate key themes that can be useful.
Item one will be to inspect my custom orthotics to be sure they are still in working order. Our Takin A Walk steps clocked in at roughly 65,000 steps of glitz, glory and gadgets. But, seriously, how does one answer the question from CES outsiders who ask, “What was the coolest game changing technology that you witnessed?”
I’m stumped when one sees a plethora of prototypes, tech evolution and businesses forging ahead with an entrepreneurial spirit to answer the question succinctly. Even more challenging is sorting through the actionable observations that can relate to readers from the radio industry.
To quote the awesome personality Sheri Lynch of The Bob and Sheri Show, who remarked about how many dazzling and disruptive things she witnessed as a first time CESer, “Now what?”
That is the indisputable question with new products, disturbing trends, exciting opportunities and the whole CES package. Here are five key summary takeaways from the show that might benefit you if you attended or if you did not:
1. It’s important to step outside your regular bubble whether it be on a personal or professional basis and CES is a perfect way to do that.
It’s not easy to think clearly while doing the “zombie apocalypse” wandering routine on the show floor, but you won’t soon forget about the diverse collection of what you saw at CES 2023. Motivation, curiosity and inspiration are prevalent everywhere. Seeing the future can be both exciting and scary, but stepping away from your day-to-day routine is important to staying fresh and relevant.
If you are setting a 2023 goal as you manage your team, look for new opportunities to step outside your bubble, just like one does at CES to provoke curiosity and get them better “future proofed.”
2. If you want to be an innovator in your field start with trying to solve a thorny “pain point” problem.
As my former boss and friend Steve Goldstein (Amplifi Media) and I were walking the various show floors, that was a frequent question we both asked while taking in CES.
When you see “The World’s First Electric Skates” you have to ask why?
The world’s biggest OLED TV makes for a great display, but is it solving a problem? Especially in a down economy. Yet, when you see the vast array of health care related innovations, you know a problem is being solved which led to an innovative product.
Tons of innovation coming out of health care.
Consider having a “what pain-point” session with your staff or customers as a way to facilitate innovation regarding a particular problem-solving opportunity.
3. Branding and messaging is not for the squeamish at CES. We are all marketers in some form, and CES always provides great learnings about the fine art of crafting a message and a product name. What’s with this fad that is an attempt at being clever with the spelling of an already hard to interpret brand handle? Steve Goldstein definitely fired up this conversation as we walked the halls.
Likely this is connected to some domain availability issues for products, but why “Conneqt Pulse” (a blood pressure monitor) instead of “Connect Pulse?” TALKRai versus TALKERai? No wonder nobody knows how to spel.
The overall art of branding from a simplicity of messaging is on display at CES.
Mercedes-Benz is always so artful in their branding and always on message. They are touting their “Digital Experience” for upcoming releases: “More Intelligent, More Human, More You.” Simple yet elegant branding. If you are a brand manager, regularly audit your brand messaging for clarity.
4. Point of difference Looking around at CES 2023 in a sea of glitz and sizzle you often see duplicate types of products from multiple brands in a product category. Healthcare, EV and Security systems are just a few of the sectors with lots of competition. Yet, the classic marketing question should be-“what’s the point of differentiation? What makes one stand out over the other?
Another great exercise to deploy with clarity and resolve as a brand manager is auditing your brand message for a “point of difference.”
5. Partnerships and the opportunity for future growth. I’m always fascinated at CES at the amount of partnerships that are created and deployed.
Many jumped out, including this one: “Partnerships bring together the leader in the in-vehicle commerce sector with the major EV charger platform to boost the adoption of electric vehicles in North America.”
This was a press release from Sheeva.AI (in-car payments) and AeonCharge (an app that helps drivers find and pay for charging sessions). Collaboration and partnership is a great opportunity to create a 1+ 1=3 scenario. The spirit of being open-minded to possibilities at its core is what drives consumer technology and CES.
Gather your teams together, whether it be sales or programming, and dream up new partnership possibilities.
Congrats to Gary Shapiro and his team at CTA for pulling off another great CES. They make creating something so gargantuan look so easy. So great to see so many old friends, and thank-you Steve Goldstein for the inspiration.