CES 2020: Why data privacy and security concerns will take center stage

September 19, 2019

It’s happening.

The summer, it’s almost gone. The kids are back at school. We’re knocking on the door of Fall. And in boardrooms across the business world, a familiar question is raising its head: “How are we going to make this CES our best yet?”

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the biggest tech showcase in the world, is approaching fast. It won’t be long before it barrels right through your holiday plans and New Year’s celebrations.

In the coming weeks, you’re sure to see a million prognostications about what to expect from the 2020 show of shows. Autonomous cars and voice control. Devices that help you sleep, devices that help you exercise. Machines that see, machines that learn, and so much more. A million brands expressing themselves in a million different ways.

But if you’re looking for one mostly universal tip, I have one: it’s time to take your data privacy and security messaging seriously.

For years, well-meaning brands have gotten by on the virtues of their product and broadly accepted end user benefits. Data privacy? Oh, sure, we invest fully in making sure your information is safe. Security? Oh, yeah, we take security seriously.

In 2020, that won’t be enough. Why should consumers believe you? How do you keep them safe? Prove it.

Today’s savvy tech consumer won’t be fooled any longer. They won’t allow their concerns to be brushed aside. As Ketchum cited in its recent Tech Tipping Point study, consumers have a love / hate relationship with technology, and they’re beginning to wonder whether the drawbacks of our always-on, ever-connected life outweigh the benefits. As an ambassador for your brand telling your story at CES, it’s your job to put consumer’s minds at ease about your technology.

Master your communications strategy and get your privacy and security story straight, and you’ll be well on your way to a fruitful CES activation. If you can’t do that, you might want to revisit your CES strategy. The voice of the wary consumer – the Techruptor – is loud and demands answers. Give them what they need or brace for blowback.

At this point of the year, you’ve likely jumped in with both feet on your 2020 CES planning. That’s smart – there is no such thing as too early when it comes to CES planning. However, if you find yourself wanting for outside counsel, know that you have a team of CES veterans and strategists – across every possible industry – on stand-by at Ketchum, waiting to support you and make your next CES activation your best.

Chip Scarinzi is a senior vice president in Ketchum’s technology sector, where he draws from more than 17 years of experience in consumer and enterprise tech. A dyed in the wool sports fan, he is also the author of Diehards, a non-fiction book that explores the evolution of sports fandom.