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The Church And The Gym

IStock_000014283615XSmall 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.

IMB_HighSchoolGym 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.

8 thoughts on “The Church And The Gym”

  1. Makes sense: the environment matters. But along with that is the experience you create and allow to happen matters too. I recall working for Nextel in marketing when we first started sponsoring NASCAR. Our company created the Nextel Experience, an interactive, fun venue set up outside the racetracks where fans could jump in race car simulators, watch a pit stop demo and yes, touch and feel the latest Nextel products. Ultimately, those that win create memorable experiences in a suitable venue. Thanks for the post. Greg

  2. Thanks for the informative article. It just seems like the world has turned obese at such a fast pace it really is scary. I have struggled with weight for my whole life and finally have a grip on it after 30 years of suffering from diet-itis!! It really helps to know what you are doing and you don’t have to work nearly as hard when you do

  3. Hi Rohit,

    Thanks for the post, as a trade show consultant and professional like your post about CES, it is giving good insight what are the possibilities of the trade show participation. Unfortunately many companies are not using its booth and presence at the show to get their marketing message and visibility stronger and more powerfull.

    Best regards from Croatia,


  4. While I have not ever been to CES, I have been to other Trade Shows. You make a very valid point about Sony and Lenovo understanding that it was not just their message, but also how they presented it that would make a difference.

    A convention center full of booths inevitably overwhelms or underwhelms the visitor. Either the sheer number of vendor’s booths and products will overwhelm and then blend together to the point where the visitor can not remember which vendor presented which product or the sheer monotony and similarities of their presentations will underwhelm.

    By setting themselves up in a nearby restaurant, Lenovo undoubtedly made themselves a “destination”-a place where convention visitors could grab a quick bite to eat, get away from the large number of vendors and relax enough to enjoy and take-in Lenovo’s products. Similarly, by the sheer size of Sony’s booth, they created a destination within the venue walls. I’m sure many thought we’ll visit these conference rooms and end with Sony or began with Sony

  5. At first, I really thought this was about weddings and stuff. Great comparison and I have to say i agree with you. Most of the times, the environment and the atmosphere are the ones that make the difference. When you are comfortable you “absorb” more information without even realising it.
    Thanks for the post.


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Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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