Imagine the best wedding that you have ever been invited to. Perhaps it was your own, or a close friend's. What made it so great? Was it the people who were there? Or perhaps your relationship to the couple getting married? If you are like most of us, those things were likely a part of the experience … but when you picture a wedding you typically think of the venue where it was held and the spectacle of the ceremony. It may have been a quiet wedding on a remote island or a majestic wedding in a huge church. Either way, the point is that with a wedding the environment makes a big difference.
Now how might your vision change if I told you that instead of any of those venues, the wedding had to be held in a high school gym. You could do what you like to the gym inside, but that would be the venue. A lot less romantic, isn't it? All of a sudden the most important day in someone's life has a big cage around it. While it doesn't make it impossible to create a great wedding, it does make it A LOT harder.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, there were lots of big press events. Most were held on "press day" at the Venetian hotel, where members of the media were packed like sardines into clearly undersized conference rooms to hear the most significant announcements of the entire year from some of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world such as SHARP, Samsung & Panasonic. These press conferences were like weddings in a high school gym.
In contrast, two brands stood out on the day for two different reasons. SONY was the first, as they held their press conference at their suitably impressive booth on the tradeshow floor which was easily the size of a small town. Surrounded by demos of "glasses-free" 3D TV prototypes and a wall of flat panel TV screens – the announcements they made felt big. They seemed significant.
Lenovo decided to forego the entire tradeshow booth and press conference experience altogether and repeated their strategy again this year of taking over a centrally located restaurant and turning it into a showroom for all their latest products. They created a comfortable lounge atmosphere with food and drinks and invited people to enjoy their products and the entire experience in an unhurried and completely unique way.
Ultimately, both Lenovo and SONY won for the same reason … they presented their biggest announcements in an environment where people would remember them. There is a clear lesson in this for anyone who is working on making any kind of big announcement. The environment you choose to make the announcement matters. Unless you're doing a high school graduation or prom night … stay away from the high school gym.