It’s About the Bigger Picture – Insights into CES 2021

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

During RAB’s CES coverage, RAB, along with guests, discussed not only the change with CES from in-person to virtual, but also the changes in products and efforts by various tech companies. Shawn DuBravac, futurist and president of Avrio Institute, suggests when hearing about the products presented during CES, to zoom out of the individual product announcements and “look at the bigger picture.” DuBravac continues, “Push more broadly around products tying into their bigger goals and bigger desires… this is really going to disrupt the advertising market.”

Throughout the coverage, RAB shared the various themes that rose from sessions and tech companies, as well as the trends that will impact consumers, retailers and essentially the advertising industry.

Tech Trends

To no surprise, one of the CES 2021 key trends to watch is digital health, shared by Jeff Schmidt, SVP, Professional Development, RAB. The pandemic accelerated changes in how we monitor our health. Other trends include robotics and drones, 5G connectivity, digital transformation, vehicle technology, smart cities, etc.

The New Consumer

Like one of the tech trends to watch, the pandemic’s impact on retail is also health-related. Erica Farber, president and CEO, RAB, shared four trends that are changing digital commerce. To no surprise, is the desire by consumers that shopping be “touchless.” Other trends are improvement, spending and timetables. Specifically, consumers will continue to find ways to improve their environment, be it their home, how they look or how they feel. With these improvements, consumers plan on spending money to achieve these goals. They will be spending money on their homes, in clothing and even travel, once the pandemic is over. The need to improve or “better” their current situation is important. Lastly, with lockdowns and shifts in the new workplace, the day or calendar is fluid. The time to shift from the thought of conventional timelines to a new one is now.

Goodbye Traditional Purchase Funnel

Pandemic-related behavioral shifts have upended the traditional purchase funnel. Dave Casper, SVP, Digital Services, RAB, shared insights on the evolution of the consumer journey with brands. Consumers expect brands to offer contactless payments and pickups, as well as two-day free shipping. Due to technology and the amount of data now available to brands, consumers will respond and react better to personalized offers. Consumer reviews and referrals have now replaced the need to experience a product firsthand, be it by sight or touch.

Humanizing Brands

The events of 2020 elevated the importance of a brand’s role, purpose and impact. Tammy Greenberg, SVP, Business Development, RAB, has written about how radio plays a key role in amplifying brand purpose. During the CES coverage, she shared some of the “values that a brands needs to adopt, communicate and truly live to earn the loyalty of consumers and ultimately succeed,” based upon insights gleaned from Microsoft Advertising’s Marketing with Purpose playbook.

Consumers yield greater buying power and influence now than ever before. They are buying from businesses and organizations that reflect their ethics and values, so the importance of brands building trust with consumers is now more important than ever before. According to the playbook, there are three core building blocks strategy to earn consumer trust: 1. responsibility, 2. values and 3. inclusive marketing.

Wear Shades

With all these changes in consumer behavior and expectations and with technology, where does audio fit in? Erica Farber was able to ask about the future of audio entertainment at the end of the Tech Trends session at CES. Steve Koenig, VP, Research, Consumer Technology Association, responded: “the future of audio is so bright, you’ve got to wear shades when it comes to audio!”

Want to know more? You can watch all RAB’s CES coverage here.


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