This year’s Consumer Electronics Show revealed new heights of creativity and innovation. Despite the depth of variability displayed at CES, though, one theme rang true throughout: the importance of the consumer experience.
In a brief interview regarding CES 2023, Daryl Lee, Global CEO of McCann Worldgroup, highlights the importance of developing technology for humanity’s sake. Now more than ever, there is “laser light focus on how technology will improve the human experience,” Lee says. Many of the products presented at CES this year are showing how brands have shifted their focus and are now better prioritizing their consumers’ wants and needs.
Recent years have proved that consumers expect brands to meet or exceed their expectations in more ways than one. Consumers are demanding more, and brands cannot shy away from that. Functionality is no longer enough. Consumers are looking for brands and products that they align with ethically. Developing a deep-rooted connection with and understanding of consumers should be all brands’ top priority. Many of those who presented at CES 2023 hope to do so through technology.
Stronger relationships, more intentional products, and more meaningful technology all come at a cost, though. On Friday, January 6th, Dani Benowitz, President U.S., MAGNA; Arielle Garcia, Chief Privacy Officer, UM; Sara Tehrani, VP of Global Digital Partnerships and Media Responsibility, MAGNA; Shannon Womack, Director of Lifecycle Marketing, Delta Air Lines; and moderator Jessica Heygate, Associate Editor & Technology Editor, Campaign US came together on a panel to discuss the “Ecosystem of Responsibility.” During this conversation, these women emphasized that there will be trade-offs while seeking to achieve consumer fulfillment. At times brands may need to pay a high price in order to ensure satisfaction, Womack suggests, but other times a holistic evaluation may steer brands in a different direction, says Garcia. The panelists reiterated how important it is for brands to place people at the center of their product and service innovations, as this is the key to developing more personalized, positive consumer experiences.
View the replay here: https://vimeo.com/788072923.
With consumers leading the conceptual way into 2023, much of the technology exposed at this year’s CES was more human-centric than in years past. Brands are still working to find the balance between brand values and brand revenue, but this weekend it was quite apparent that they are beginning to understand the importance and value of the consumer experience. Brands and marketers can now focus on identifying which of the event’s leading trends, concepts, and products might be most beneficial to their consumers.
Prominent Trends at CES 2023
Despite a dedicated space in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s (LVCC) Central Hall, the Metaverse seemed to have taken more of a backseat this year. As opposed to being the center of CES attention, it appeared more tangentially across various brands, products, and innovations, igniting conceptualization around how the Metaverse can be best integrated into marketing and consumer engagement efforts.
Consumers and brands alike are still grappling with the concept of the Metaverse and understanding its value and tangibility in the business model, but John Kelley, VP and acting show director of CES, says he is “seeing an increase in business use cases for Web3 and metaverse tech—from employee training sessions to advances in gaming” and expects to see more of that in 2023. Chad Engelgau, CEO of Acxiom, also highlights notable strides in metaverse integration and the knowledge gap that slows that process. The Metaverse is a unique opportunity for advanced innovation and creativity, and the more familiar brands become with its phygital dynamic, the more they’ll be able to use it as an advantageous tool in developing meaningful consumer experiences.
Digital healthcare trends and innovations have been on the rise for a few years. This year, healthcare technology products, as seen at CES 2023, are taking a captivating turn. From Withings’ toilet sensors which help track vitamin and hydration levels and organ health, to wearables like medical grade FDA-approved hearing aids and heart monitors and Somalytics’ Eye Tracking Sleep Masks, consumers are gaining power with these creative opportunities that allow them to stay efficiently knowledgeable about their health.
In a brief interview, Sean MacDonald, Global Chief Innovation Officer, McCann Worldgroup, acknowledged and shared his appreciation for the rise of data transparency within digital health. Transparency is often the distinction between human-centric efforts and “technology-first approaches” to consumer satisfaction. As MacDonald discusses one of the products that piqued his interest—NuraLogix’s Anura, a device that can detect cholesterol levels, signs of hypertension, diabetic symptoms and more by way of a selfie—he mentions how rewarding it can be when brands focus on addressing and resolving consumer issues. Healthcare technology is in a unique position to establish the juncture between data and consumer understanding.
Advancements in healthcare technology are helping to minimize the gap between rural and urban healthcare accessibility. It is important that health tech continue to prioritize usability, transparency, and affordability in order to fulfill the growing needs for healthcare in developing markets/regions.
Auto and Mobility
Like healthcare technology, auto and mobility trends have very often taken a front seat at CES in the past, and this year was no different. So much so, that some people have even speculated that CES has become one of the dominant automotive shows in the world. Auto and mobility trends are so much bigger than just vehicles, though. Sustainability and entertainment also play major roles in this sector.
Electric vehicle (EV) technology advancements are working to produce vehicles that work more efficiently while using less power. There is also consumer demand for more affordable EV options. With affordability and accessibility in mind, micromobility comes into play. Electric scooters and bikes are growing in popularity worldwide. There is increasing demand for smarter cities and more sustainable transportation in developing worlds, especially. Micromobility innovations will be a key factor in achieving viable, sustainable ecosystems as auto tech continues to expand.
Consumers are driving change and seek to align with a brand’s values. Though this comes at a high price, Womack believes that prioritizing consumer satisfaction and occasionally sacrificing revenue is worth it. Especially in regard to sustainability, doing the right thing is often more expensive than doing the wrong thing. Consumers are appreciative of more ethically inclined brands, though.
Sustainability has been trending and has permeated so many brands’ business models, strategies, and values, even before CES 2023. The tech industry, in particular, is currently thriving in achieving net zero and other sustainability goals.
The matter of sustainability and retention goes beyond environmental protection. As discussed throughout the duration of CES 2023, sustainability is a matter of responsibility, inclusivity, holistic safety, authenticity, and accessibility. The need to mitigate the gaps between global and urban capabilities will be best addressed through the larger scope of sustainability.
McCann Worldgroup asks, “Do you think changes in technology drive human behavior or the other way around?”
While CES 2023 exhibited products that were a result of both scenarios, it is important to recognize that brands always have a role to play beyond resolution or product development. Brands hold the responsibility of building trust. Suzanne Powers, Global President and Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup, mentioned that as she experienced CES, she wondered about the human need behind some of the concepts and innovations presented. Powers’ reflection emphasized the need for technology to be developed with a human being in mind. Consumers would likely agree with her.
Brand ethics and values are key contributors to the consumer experience. Macdonald also emphasized the importance of trust and data ethics and transparency. As consumers are given more of this access, brands must remain supportive in order to develop and even nurture positive relationships and assist consumers in product and service understanding and retention, keeping humans at the center of brand efforts.
As consumers continue to demand more from companies, accessibility to responsible content, products, and resources are more important than ever. Ensuring inclusivity, diversity in perspective, human-centric values, and integrity are all a part of corporate responsibility. During the IPG Innovation Conversation: “Ecosystem of Responsibility,” the “panelists highlighted these factors as vital variables that come into play in order to achieve responsible branding, marketing, media, production, and more. These are the variables that help achieve authenticity and consumer satisfaction and engagement.
CES 2023 underscored the value of positive consumer experiences as well as brands’ responsibility to prioritize authenticity, integrity, brand values, and consumers. While the categories listed above may be guiding trends for 2023, as Engelgau assures us, “brands who focus on delivering experiences that delight and surprise their customers in the best possible way will ultimately come out the winners, no matter how the technology evolves.”
For more on CES 2023’s top trends, also check out IPG Media Lab’s event recap.