Authored by Rob Frost and Emily Rizer
Brought to you by MediaCom US
Highlights from CES 2020
THE RELEVANCY RESOLUTION
Tuesday morning on the WPP stage, Anush Prabhu, CSO of MediaCom US spoke about how, for marketers, CES should not be about technology, but about consumer relevancy. Brands need to close the gap between the rate of tech adoption for consumers and businesses. Brands that are successful in adopting tech quickly, follow a simple rubric: They adopt tech in one of three ways:
1. To fulfil their purpose
2. To become culturally resonant
3. To become personally relevant
As we walked around the floors this week at CES, we saw numerous companies, tech and innovations that can help brands to fulfill these.
With headlines about robots and AI replacing jobs and posing automated threats to our humanity, CES reveals a brighter reality. Two talks Tuesday, Robots Preserve the Land and Robots Preserve the Ocean, illustrated how Robotics and AI are providing new ways to save the planet, enhance our lives and discover more about the world around us - from investigating our oceans, growing crops more efficiently and assisting in recycling to provide a key role in the earth’s cleanup. This could be a great opportunity for brands such as adidas, who already bring their purpose to life through partnerships such as with Parley for the Oceans.
The concept of “Smart Cities” has been around for some time, with brands such as IBM tying their purpose (and some great marketing) closely into it. But we haven’t really seen this come to life to date. We’re now at a stage where different tech is being developed by different companies that will help to create new infrastructure and bring smart cities to life in the future. 5G and Smart Vehicles were just a few to be seen, whilst Eureka Park was ripe with startups looking to make this a reality. So how can brands utilize new tech to help contribute towards building smarter cities and giving back to the communities around them?
CES is a perfect reminder of how technology is enabling companies to live out their missions in ways they couldn’t have predicted in the past and Logitech was a shining example. Logitech’s mission is focused on “designing products that connect people to the experiences they care about” and one new release shows their true commitment to putting both people and design at the heart of their innovations. The “Adaptive Gaming Kit” takes a step further towards making gaming systems accessible to all. The $100 kit is a collection of buttons, sensors and switches that enables gamers with a variety of accessibility needs to easily and effectively play on the Xbox One console.
Becoming Culturally Resonant
While it may not be the tech you expect, it’s certainly innovative: Impossible foods announced their new Impossible Pork and Sausage products. Conversation and consciousness around meat consumption has been steadily growing and is becoming part of modern-day culture for many consumers. And this announcement is timed to perfection: aligning with new year health kicks and the growing uptick in “Veganuary.” That’s right! Move aside Dry January, you have a new vegan competitor! What’s great here is that Impossible Foods are not only using tech to create new products that align with this part of culture, but they’re actively helping to shape it.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen society rally around wellness and a rapidly growing “natural beauty” movement. Mintel reports that over 3 in 5 women now prefer the “natural look” and consumers are starting to challenge the incumbent cosmetics space to prioritize skincare protection and minimal makeup. Products like Opte’s “Beauty Wand” using tech to answer this call. The handheld wand uses a safe LED blue light to scan the face to detect any blemishes or discoloration. It then precisely disperses a serum that not only naturally camouflages with less than 97% of traditional makeup but also actually works to repair the skin.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again - eSports has gone mainstream and brands are diving headfirst into developing products to make gaming quicker, clearer and more immersive than ever. Razer’s “eRacing Simulator”, with a wraparound screen and motorized seat, creates a shockingly lifelike racing experience while BHaptic’s “Tactsuit”, a full-body wireless suit, let’s you physically get in the game to feel sword slashes and zombie grabs. We’re also seeing a rise in gaming phones like the “Black Shark 2 Pro” and Dell and Alienware have actually found a way to squeeze a PC into an 8” handheld device with their “Concept UFO” to take gaming on the go.
Becoming Personally Relevant
Vineet Mehra, Global CMO of Boots Walgreens Alliance, joined Sasha Savic (MediaCom US CEO) and Lindsay Pattison (WPP Global Chief Client Officer) for a panel on the WPP Terrace earlier this week. He discussed how their goal is to shift from being a retail company to an experience company and that tech is not the ends, but the means to creating personal consumer experiences. For him, marketers need to be consumer driven, with one eye on data and tech, and the other on cultural anthropology if they are to succeed in utilizing what they see here at CES.
CES 2020 has been quick to show us that the IoT has been redefined, from the “Internet of Things” to the “Intelligence of Things”. We’re now living in a world with Alexa-enabled everything - from fridges, washing machines and security systems to lawn mowers, grills and even an Alexa enabled Lamborghini. Most devices have the ability to plug into any of the voice assistants (Alexa, Google, Siri) to help us automate our lives. However, the future will require a shift - from automation to anciptation. Our smart devices will become an integrated smart home that can learn from our individual patterns and behaviors to anticipate and tailor the environments around us before we’ve done it ourselves. Imagine the shower starting up as you arrive back from the gym, and your daily latte making itself as you turn of the water each morning.
So long are the days of simplistic fitness wearables. Products like Omron’s “Connect” watch are going beyond counting steps to now tracking your blood pressure throughout the day to ensure doctors receive accurate and real-time data. Other innovations like “Pillo” are hoping to help the 50% of consumers who struggle to take medications properly. The gadget uses facial recognition technology to individually dispense the proper pill in the proper amount to the right person. Health and medical tech are taking it to the next level with products designed to facilitate remote contact with our doctors and bring regular and personalized care into our own homes.