5 Phases of CES as Told by a PR Professional

Racepoint Global

By Racepoint Global

When most people think of the Consumer Electronics Show, they think of the four days of absolute craziness when in reality, it’s months of prep and strategy. As one of the top tech PR agencies at the show, the Racepoint team is well-versed in what it takes to execute a successful event campaign. Our team lifts the curtains on what goes on behind the scenes in the months leading up to CES.


Phase 1: Develop a strategy

Before your team can start prepping for CES, it’s crucial that you understand exactly what your client wants to achieve. Will they be hosting a press conference or launching a guerrilla marketing campaign? Where will they set up their booth? Are they focused on meeting with media, potential customers or both? These are just some of the questions a PR team must ask to determine the best strategy for success heading into CES.


Phase 2: Vet the media list

Any PR professional who has a client attending CES understands the attention (and patience) required to vet the media list. Every year in early December, the official list of over 3,000 media contacts is released and whittled down to a select number of reporters who are the perfect fit for the client. To do this quickly and effectively, the PR team must know the end goal of each meeting. For example, business press and trade press will be asking different questions and writing from completely different angles. What’s the story your client wants to tell and who are the most appropriate contacts to write it?


Phase 3: Conduct outreach and start writing writing_CES_RPG_tech

Once the media list is ready to go and the pitches have been written it’s time to kick-off outreach. The weeks leading up to the holidays consist of emails, phone calls and calendar invites to confirm briefings with the people your client wants to meet with at CES. Between the outreach, PR teams are also working with the client to develop content that ranges from press releases to social media recommendations. The key to content development is ensuring that the client’s voice and message is consistent throughout all of the press materials.


Phase 4: Arrive in Las Vegas

Although the official show is only four days, many teams arrive early to put the final touches on their plans for the week. Once CES starts, it moves incredibly fast given the sheer number of people, products and news being announced on the show floor. Here, the PR team’s job is to stay organized and provide support to the client wherever it’s needed. If something unexpected happens, you must think quickly to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, the offsite team at the office will be scanning the news and sending daily reports so that the client can see the results of the day’s activities.


Phase 5: Conduct post-event recaps and reporting

After the week has ended and the team is back in the office, it’s likely that your client will want to see a report that recaps all the amazing coverage that resulted from the conference. This could vary from social media activity to traditional media coverage, which is why it’s so important to understand the information that is most valuable to your client. Once all of the reports are distributed and you’ve deemed the show a success, it’s time to celebrate with your client and start counting down to next year!