CES: Hit the jackpot of desire in Vegas

Participation brands are always up for grabs

At mega events like CES, the big challenge is to shine like a beacon in an environment that already dazzles like no other. An environment that glories in high octane, loud, brash Vegas style theme park experiences. The question is, how to shine brighter? If this world is all about social amplification, then we need to enable experiences that are personalised to enable each visitor to curate their unique online persona. The question is, how do you start to build a ‘participation brand’?

Brands at a crossroad?

The first thing to accept is that the relationships people have with brands have reached a kind of crossroad.

We’re no longer eager, gullible and hungry for the next sparkly, new thing. Consumers and business folk are seeking ‘participative brands’.

Around a third of us use ad-blocking, while about 90% of advertising isn’t even noticed. Today’s consumers can thrive in their own networks, on their own terms, without brands telling them how to behave.

On the flip side – and what a flip side it is - people are letting certain brands into their lives like never before. Brands that are endorsed, promoted and meme-ed.

Their products induce fetishes, their founders are idolised and, in a cut throat jungle, they not only survive, but voraciously thrive.

The trick is, make sure your brand is culturally relevant by allowing people to make your brand their own. If you can extend that relevance and encourage that participation in a show environment, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

Desire from excitement, not love

In matters of the heart, consumers also show youthful emotions towards brands they participate with. While love has long been the ultimate response to brand building, in the hearts of consumers ‘excitement’ trumps ‘love’ on the emotional spectrum. If you want some of the action, your brand will need to be provocative and fuel passions. It needs to be perceived as ‘hot’. And most of all it needs to create real, enthralling experiences that people want to be part of.

Tease, but be consistent

In a fragmented, transitory world, saturated with information, consistency has never been more crucial. Being consistent across all touchpoints and experiences, because only consistent wooing will drive deeper emotional responses like desire. But beware, this isn’t just visual consistency, but a much deeper and more profound ‘togetherness of experience’ whenever and wherever the brand is encountered. Create that ‘togetherness’ in the mega show environment and you’ve scored the winning ticket.

Deep down, be good

It may be a world of instant gratification but, deep down, Gen Y and now, Z, are most influenced by social impact. They are most passionate about the need for brands to behave as good corporate citizens. Half of 25 – 34 year olds are bothered about a brand’s impact on society, compared with just one third of the 45+ audience. So when you talk to them, be clear about your commitment to people and planet.

Return on Involvement

With three out of four brands failing to build any emotional engagement with people, it’s never been more imperative to design meaningful, culturally relevant experiences that people seek out, rather than block out. It is increasingly clear that the brands that flourish will build from people up, rather than brand down. And nowhere more definitely than in the mega show environment.

The lesson? Don’t let the relationship your brand has with consumers be a passive one. Get out there and grab a piece of the action. Don’t just build your brand for people, build your brand with them. Create a different space, a desirable, engaging space, where consumers share content and participate in the growth of your brand.

Christopher Joyce, Copywriter at Shelton Fleming, a creative agency that produces live events which transform how you see the wider-world, business and brands. We do this by designing intelligent, personalized experiences for global brands.

Further reading