The start of a new year brings goal-setting, planning … and the always anticipated Consumer Electronics Show. As technology continues to disrupt a variety of industries, including corporate event and meeting planning, CES is increasingly becoming a place to not only marvel at what’s new, but also get actionable inspiration to deliver an engaging, memorable event experience.
Nearly 200,000 people headed to Las Vegas this year to get the scoop on the latest technology and tech-related trends, including our own Kevin Cobb, director of marketing. Aside from some unexpected excitement (Desert flooding! A temporary blackout!), Kevin took away a wealth of trend-driven insight that can help improve the quality of your meetings and events.
As you look ahead to your company’s events calendar, consider the following three CES trends that can enhance the attendee experience and help boost the effectiveness of your meeting or event.
LED Displays Boost Interaction, Immersion
“Enormous LED screens were everywhere as the way to do production display,” Kevin says.
It’s no wonder, given the crisp quality of LED picture. LED screens are versatile, too, which makes them especially useful at meetings or events. Use a single screen, for example, to polish a booth display or presentation delivery.
You can also combine multiple LED screens to create a huge, eye-catching display with impeccable quality—it looks like one giant screen, rather than several screens combined.
Both the size and quality make large LED displays more than simply a way to showcase video. Instead, they offer a more immersive audio/visual display, immediately drawing the eye and capturing attention.
Just think: if you were in the midst of an exhibit floor and you spot a wall of LED screens displaying a video, demo or even used as an especially vibrant backdrop, there’s a good chance you’re going to make a beeline for the display and find out more about what’s happening.
Plus, top-quality audio/video production is becoming increasingly important to the attendee experience and the perception of success, especially at highly attended showcase events like annual conventions and company meetings. Expertly planned and executed A/V can elicit both an immediate reaction and a lasting impression. And as seen at this year’s CES, incorporating LED displays is a great place to start.
Promotional Gifts Are Going High-Tech
No knock on pens, notebooks and branded traveler’s mugs, but there’s definitely an uptick in high-tech promotional gifts.
“CES was filled with smart, wearable everything—watches, shirts, hats, socks and more,” Kevin says.
There’s a novelty factor to some of these gifts, but before you dedicate a significant portion of your promotional gifts budget to smart socks, it helps to take a step back (no pun intended) and think about the reason for the gift and how it fits in both your event strategy and branding.
As Kevin notes, questions persist with some of these smart gifts about what sort of data they track and how using a particular item will improve someone’s life. After all, there’s sometimes a fine line between trend and novelty, and you don’t necessarily need to up-end your promotional gifts to accommodate a rapidly changing marketplace.
That said, it’s an ideal time to experiment with some tech-related swag. Wireless charging devices were prevalent throughout CES and are always handy, especially as you encourage attendees to digitally share and broadcast during your event.
Giveaways are another way to effectively incorporate a few coveted, high-tech gifts and encourage booth visits, session attendance or survey completion, to name a few goals. Plus, you can leverage the “wow” factor of high-profile gadgets without derailing your budget.
Exclusivity vs. Grassroots: What’s Right for Your Business?
Sometimes inspiration comes from how an event is executed, rather than what’s being shown at the event. Such was the case at CES, where Kevin noticed a shift in programming.
“More events at CES are exclusive, invitation-only, ‘peek behind the curtain,’” Kevin says.
This sort of behind-the-scenes access isn’t surprising, especially given the rapid rise of influencer marketing. Compare that to another common event audience approach, which involves more of a grassroots feel—get as many people as possible excited about what you’re doing or showing.
The key is to examine your own event or meeting and your strategic goals. If you’re unveiling a new product, for example, consider kicking off the launch with an all-access sneak peek opportunity for vetted influencers. This way, you could generate some initial buzz, then follow it with a larger reveal to a more generalized audience.
For a company meeting or similar strategic gathering, it’s likely more effective to go for a more grassroots approach. In this case, you want to excite and energize attendees so that they’re invested in what’s happening and how they can be involved. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to make even a large audience feel like VIPs, so a sort of hybrid approach might also be an effective tactic.
Other CES trends to watch: the continued evolution of augmented reality, robots, smart cars and the arrival of the 8K television.
Were you at CES this year? Did you notice any other trends that might impact your meeting or event? Tweet us at @Wellington_US—we’d love to hear your input!