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How to Survive (and Thrive) at CES

by Bristol Whitcher

consumer electronics technology

Ah December, a time filled with holiday cheer, New Year’s celebrations, rest and relaxation. That is, unless you work in the tech industry (i.e. tech PR – us; tech reporters; industry analysts; consumer tech companies; etc.), in which case, you’re most likely gearing up for CES happening Jan. 6-9, 2016. We’re still not sure why they decide to pack it in so close to the holidays, but that’s just the world we’re living in. The tech PR life didn’t choose us, we chose the tech PR life.

For those who aren’t aware, CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, is an internationally recognized, massive (no really, last year 170,000 people attended) annual trade show, showcasing the best of the best in, yup, you guessed it – the consumer electronics world. It may only be 96 hours long, but trust us, it’s a whirlwind full of press events, booth meetings, keynotes, conferences and more.

Preparing for such an event can seem overwhelming at times, but we’ve outlined a few simple steps to help you survive CES (and maybe even thrive!)

1) Start planning – early.

You’ve probably heard the expressions “if you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late; and if you’re late, don’t bother showing up.” Well, we think the same is true for CES. Sure, it’s still (only) ~30 days out, but it’s never too early to start tracking deadlines for awards submissions, press events, client meetings, etc. At BIGfish, we use grids track deadlines, make checklists, and build out detailed action plans. There’s so many things to remember (bring business cards!!!), that it’s incredibly helpful to write it all down for confirmation nothing gets missed. In our CES preps, we take it back to the Dark Ages (okay, not literally), but we do print out our action plans on real life, tangible paper (crazy!). If the internet goes down, your cell phone breaks or you can’t access the server for whatever reason, having a backup hard copy will prevent headaches and greatly reduce your stress. With the holidays just before the actual event, it’s crucial to get things done early so you’re not scrambling on New Year’s Eve to wrap anything up. Toast to the New Year and a successful CES by getting everything lined up in advance.

2) Bring Comfortable Shoes

You think I’m kidding. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but it may be the most important thing we tell you. With close to 2 million square feet making up the show floor, do you really want to be running around in heels or blister-inducing loafers? Probably not. We’re not saying you need to break out your finest Nike Frees, but go with something that you’ve worn before, is broken in, and won’t be a distraction as you’re running from press event, to the show floor, to Starbucks (and back to Starbucks, and again and again…coffee is also crucial to surviving CES). Also, if you’re working a press event, you’re going to be on your feet for at least 4 hours, probably much longer, so bring a change of shoes and stop your dogs from barking!

3) Stay Charged

Unfortunately, there’s not much time to enjoy the nice hotel rooms in Vegas during CES. The majority of your days will be spent on the show floor, setting up / working / breaking down a press event, sitting in on briefings with your clients, and maybe, just maybe if you’re lucky, sleeping for 3-4 hours a night (more on that later). That being said, being away from a hotel room, and a wall, means you’re often away from a power source to charge all your devices. That’s where BIGfish client TYLT comes in (P.S. make sure you stop by their booth sometime during the week Tech East, LVCC, South Hall 3, 30800). Before jetting off to LAS, pick up one of their Energi 5K+ portable battery packs, or Energi Sliding Power Cases. Both will ensure you’re fully charged for whatever CES throws your way.

4) Sleep Whenever You Can

Forget New York, Las Vegas should really be called the ‘City That Never Sleeps.’ Everything is basically open 24 hours a day and there’s an endless supply of entertainment at your fingertips. If you get a free minute away from CES-related matters, it can be tempting to go and explore the city, hit up the coolest restaurants or splurge at the fancy shops. But our recommendation? Catch some shut eye whenever you can. If you’re coming from the East Coast like we are, that 7:00-10:00pm PT press event is going to feel a loooot later, so it’s important to rest up when you can. We’re not saying never go out and see the sites and enjoy yourself a bit, but make sure you reserve a little personal R&R time for yourself. You’ll be much more well-equipped to handle the CES madness with a clear head if you’ve had a chance to snooze. In other CES well-being related topics, it’s always a good idea to bring some snack bars or fruit for a little mid-day nourishment. During the days of the show, the food choices are somewhat limited, and definitely not healthy, so a trusted pick-me-up (Nature Valley, anyone?) can be a lifesaver.

Perhaps what’s most important is that you have fun and take lots of pictures to capture the memories. You’re obviously going to want to humblebrag to your geeky friends about the awesome tech you saw, so make the memories last forever with a photo – after all, that’s 75% of what we (or at least, I) use my iPhone for anyways.

What are your tips for surviving CES? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. we’ll be in Vegas with four of our clients – Ring Video Doorbell: (Sands, Halls A-C – 72131; Pepcom, Jan. 5 & Showstoppers Jan. 6); TYLT: (Tech East, LVCC, South Hall 3, 30800; Pepcom Jan. 5); TarDisk (Showstoppers, Jan. 6); and Actionproof (Showstoppers, Jan.6), so keep an eye out for the team and make sure to say ‘hello!’ Stay tuned for a recap after the event for some highlights from our time at the show!

Happy prepping!

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BIGfish is an unconventional PR agency that helps its clients redefine their industries through thoughtful storytelling and strategic PR campaigns. By integrating traditional PR with social media and marketing support, BIGfish generates awareness and motivates consumer behavior.

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