It was up to
"It was a brilliant idea to stoke the PR fires during the industry's most visible day. At the press event ... we lit up Twitter and
It's the only such firm in central
The firm's location in
A more recent client is the
Among local clients are
In a few weeks Arland, 50, will head back to
"This will be my 22nd time that I've gone to the Vegas [show], which makes for an interesting holiday season," he said.
In his younger days, Arland was press secretary to Mayor
There, Arland watched the evolution of the consumer electronics business, including the digital TV revolution. He understands the latest technology, said Dish boss Clayton, himself a former Thomson executive. "He's a unique character. It's a reflection of why his firm is unique ... If he's not the best he's among the best."
Forced career move
Starting a business was not among Arland's skill sets or ambitions, however.
In the mid-2000s, Thomson was winding down its local operations. The headquarters back in
"I had to lay off most of the people who worked for me. Eventually, I got the lay-off notice," Arland recalled.
"When that happens, you just feel gut-punched ... I rather enjoyed getting a paycheck every two weeks."
Arland figured he'd have to look for another corporate job. Industry friends suggested he take his encyclopedic knowledge of consumer electronics to start his own firm.
"What's the worst that could happen? You could fail miserably and then you could get a corporate job."
He took his severance and set up an office and started calling on his years of relationships in the business. It sounds easy now, but, he says, "It's a momentous moment, standing at that cliff and saying, 'It's sink or swim.' "
Slowly his business took off. It's expanded into areas such as video production and e-commerce. During the annual CES show, Arland's staff swells to seven people, in part by the use of local experts including videographer
"I prefer to hire local talent, which can come in like a strike force," Arland said.
One of the more unusual aspects of Arland's marketing/PR shop is an e-commerce business (getmyelectronics.com), which ships antennae, remote controls, portable TVs and other gadgets for clients including a Korean electronics firm. On one given day this fall, account executive
The revenue from e-commerce isn't a lot, but the value is in the insights Arland and his team have learned. Lofgren has gotten an earful of what consumers like and don't like and their expectations for customer service.
"I saw this as an opportunity to learn not only how real consumers are ordering things online, but I want us to diversify our business and become even closer to the consumer," Arland said.
"We've learned about consumer behavior, about how people shop. We've also applied this as a living laboratory for online advertising."
With much of the marketing now done through Internet channels, Arland recently hired
Of course, the biggest annual event is the Consumer Electronics Show, which by some measures is the largest trade show annually. The sheer size of the event is intimidating and the competition for attention among electronics firms is ferocious.
Arland and Lofgren have years of experience navigating through the chaos and in helping the trade press understand the latest gadgets being hawked by clients.
"Dave knows the show. He knows the space," Clayton said.
Clayton said Arland immediately understood the value of renaming the Dish DVR, which company engineers wanted to call the "VIP813P" and the value of marketing it as The Hopper.
As for those engineers, "They're not laughing.now," Clayton said.
Service: consumer-electronics-focused marketing/PR firm
Notable: Specializes in representing consumer-electronics clients at major trade shows. Growing video production business and an e-commerce arm run out of a back office that also serves as a laboratory to research consumer online behavior.
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