For nearly 40 years, the most wonderful time of the year has traditionally been followed by CES season in Las Vegas. Quickly after setting their resolutions, some 200,000 humans from all over the world head to Sin City to kick off the new year with a bang. They walk the more than 2.5 million square feet of exhibition floor and asphalt at Vegas’ largest conference venues and hottest hotels in awe of (and perhaps bewilderment at) the creations, inventions, and innovations of the world’s best and least known brands, proudly showing off.
In a serendipitous turn of events, I was lucky to be offered the opportunity to attend again this year. For now a free agent, I packed my most comfortable shoes, left my blue glasses but remembered my umbrella as I eagerly prepared for a new experience. I set my game plan: focused on auto, especially of the autonomous driving kind (more on all that in an upcoming article), I finalized my agenda and got on the ride.
Echoing my sentiments from last year, in one word, CES still is BANANAS. There simply is no better word to describe it. However, as a return attendee, I knew what to expect and what I wanted to get out of it. Once the rain passed and the power was restored, I was able to take a moment in the desert sun to pause, rest my feet and reflect on my observations…
Everything is smart. Everything is connected. Everything is electric. Everything is about mobility. Everything is about humanity. And everything is about experience.
Experiences that are smart.
Experiences that are connected.
Experiences that are electric.
Experiences in mobility.
Experiences for humans.
Experiences about experiences…
Wait, hold up, what?!
I wondered: are they all talking about the same thing? Probably not, or else, how would experience be a differentiating factor amongst all of them?
Then, what do they each really mean by “experience”? A question very few exhibitors were capable of clearly answering, I set on to answer it for myself. In the context of the products brands provide to their customers:
- Experiences must consciously bring to mind positive thoughts that appeal to and awaken feelings. They must evoke emotions.
- Experiences should purposefully allow customers to retain a lingering sentiment or attitude about them. They must leave impressions.
- Experiences should leave customers feeling like they were custom-created particularly for them. They must celebrate individuality.
- Experiences should demonstrate a brand’s knowledge of its customers, authentically encouraging a sense of and respect for privacy while continually learning to further their connection. Beyond personalization, they must create intimacy.
I believe this approach deepens the relationship between brands and humans: it creates experiences that enhance the experience of being human.
This kind of experience can be delivered in many ways. I saw some great examples, notably at BYTON and LG. My favorite #CES2018 experience moment however is BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience: watching BMWs drift and squeal across the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot.
My fellow on-lookers also seemed to enjoy their experience.
And I am pretty sure the selected few humans that were lucky enough to be in the car would agree, especially those who got to ride with Guinness Book of World Record holder, professional and #UltimateDriver Johan Schwartz.
In the end, in a place where I didn’t expect to find myself again, I had a wonderful experience. And I definitely got what I wanted out of it, perhaps even more…
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