Many marketers leave CES with two overwhelming feelings. First, a sense of guilt over all those broken New Year’s resolutions about healthy eating and exercise, and second, confusion over how to act in a meaningful way on what they heard from nearly 70,000 exhibitors, many of whom were at CES to evangelize a vision of the future, rather than solve the immediate challenges that many brands are looking to address.
But if marketers are looking to solve immediate challenges, they’re missing the real value of the world's biggest consumer technology trade show. Because CES is an opportunity to take a rare moment to recalibrate and think about what’s next instead of what’s now, and ensure that we’re ready for the challenges on the horizon.
Below are 3 critical action steps for marketers coming out of CES 2019.
Prepare for the New Brand Trust Dilemma
The datafication of everyday life was apparent everywhere this year, with connected cars, smart homes, and wearables reinforcing the enormity of consumers’ data footprint. With the inevitable questions and concerns over privacy and security, brands need to establish a transparent and proactive approach to ensure a clear value exchange. Consumers need to feel they are receiving something tangible in exchange for exposing their personal information, and conversely, brands need to be upfront with consumers about what information they’re using. To empower customers to control their digital identities, Allstate launched a new product at CES called the “digital footprint”, which enables consumers to learn more about who has their data and why.
Embrace the New Future (and Present) of Brand Identity
Mastercard got CES started by announcing a major brand move, unveiling a new wordless logo that will help the brand adapt to new digital environments. The move is indicative of the challenges today’s environments continue to present to brands—from smaller smartwatch and smartphone screens to voice-based smart home assistants to AR and VR. It has never been more evident that when building your brand identity you must be digital first and consider not just today’s platforms, but key emerging environments, too.
Time to Start Building AR Brand Experiences
Although there was a noticeable lack of buzz around VR this year, it would be a mistake to leave CES thinking that the opportunity for brands to build new types of connected and rich experiences is not accelerating. Surveying the exhibitors, it was clear that AR continues to hold more immediate promise as a tool that allows brands to add utility and delight to customer interactions. Hyundai revealed how AR might enhance driver navigation, Connected Garden showed us how us to keep our garden thriving, and Lumus unveiled stylish smart glasses so we can look cool no matter what we’re doing. Marketers need to consider how they leverage the opportunities associated with AR and the increasing prevalence of digital and real-world convergence.
The Bottom Line
A clear takeaway from CES 2019 is that brands need to continue to stay focused on building products, services, and marketing initiatives that meet the new expectations emerging from a more connected, intelligent, and integrated world.