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CES 2023 C Space Keynote: Trust, Community, Diversity Key Drivers of Attention Economy

How do you capture and engage consumer attention?

How do you capture and engage consumer attention and what role does technology play in winning hearts and minds were the overarching questions posed in the CES 2023 C Space Keynote “Building Connection & Community in a Non-Stop World.”

Panel moderator Michael Kassan, CEO of MediaLink, encapsulated modern marketing goals in a dozen words, five starting with “T”—trust, transparency, talent, technology and transformation—and seven starting with “C”—content, commerce, culture, creativity, community, curation and cash.

However, trust and community received the most panelist attention. “The core of what sits behind loyalty is trust,” opined Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines’ CEO, who announced that Delta Sync, the airline’s free interactive Wi-Fi service, would roll out next month. “You can create free Wi-Fi, you can create gizmos and gadgets and shiny objects, but if you don’t place them on a foundation of reliability of performance and trust—that’s what loyalty sits in.”

C Space Keynote a CES 2023
Michael Kassan, CEO of MediaLink (left), and Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines

Francine Li, Riot Games’ head of global marketing, also stressed the importance of trust in creating a fiercely communal customer base. “Our players have an incredible intimacy with the games that they play so we no longer own those games—they do. We think about the value exchange of them placing trust in us, and us doing right by that trust as we create these games.”

Panelists agreed that these T- and C-words do not exist in a vacuum. Netflix president of global advertising Jeremi Gorman noted how Emily in Paris, Glass Onion and Wednesday have built community in a media not exactly suited to “appointment TV.” “That kind of community — creating memes, these water cooler moments — had kind of gone away.” Gorman observed how Netflix’s new $6.99 advertiser supported tier “opens the door for a lot of people who didn’t have Netflix before” and “ensure that they can afford everything that they want to consume and be a part of this community.”

Instacart’s latest community-building efforts focus around linking heretofore isolated shoppers through its shared Community Carts feature. “We shared Lizzo’s cart with the world,” explained Laura Jones, Instacart’s CMO, “and people could shop what she was shopping. We’ve also partnered with a number of other creators and influencers and athletes to share their carts with the world. That’s a great example of how we tap into that community.”

Diversity was one non-T- or C-word that percolated throughout the discussion. “The type of history, the stories that are told, the types of stereotype norms that we see are really fueled by media, and advertising dollars are the fuel for that,” argued Travis Montaque, Group Black co-founder and CEO. “I fundamentally believe that inclusion is the biggest business opportunity today.”

Montaque also cited the importance of technology in advancing diversity. “One of the core principles of Web 3.0 is the economic inclusion of creators. So this idea of building businesses that are inclusive of all communities is not just the right thing to do, but has real material effects to the bottom line.”