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How offline experiential marketing platforms will survive the pandemic's third wave and use this to prepare for the future

Prerna Uppal, Chief Partnership Officer, KidZania India, writes about the soon to be formed hybrid environment where the physical and digital will cease to exist, and about the main components of this ‘Phygital’ world

The Metaverse – Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash introduced to the world an idea that would reimagine the future for generations to come. Let’s face it – Virtual “Reality” is the pursuit to make every human experience real, no matter the space our encounters reside in. We don’t want to enter the digital space, we want to assimilate it into our space, make it one with our reality.

Whether you expect our reality to turn into a machine invasion on man or a man machine paradise, a single force that remains constant and seems to evolve and appreciate like a financial currency is the one unifying value of - “The Human Experience.”

In a world where external circumstances or waves beyond our control have pushed us back into the confines of our walls, despite our lockdowns and restrictions, the resilience of the human will has intensified the pursuit of “The Ultimate Human Experience”. Social distancing has forced us to innovate and redefine the traditional notions of money (crypto, blockchain tech), education (EdTech and Youtube) and how we feel and connect (social media). Hence, we strive to make Digital as Real – whether it be money, love or play the barriers between digital and physical grow thin.

“Human beings are a social animal” is a validation of the untameable force called Human Nature. The social lessons learnt along our long evolutionary journey has ensured the social et rebellious token of the “Human Experience” currency remains robust and at all-time high, because greater the scarcity, greater the value. A dinner with your family, chilling with friends or meeting your grandmother on the weekend is equally exciting when compared to a backpacking trip to Bali or a holiday at the Hamptons. Local experiences are suddenly cool again, let us see the example below:

Mid 2021 had witnessed a sudden rise in a new phenomenon around the world called “Revenge Shopping” in China, while in the US post January, retail sales surged by 21%. Revenge shopping is a signal that consumer confidence is increasing.

With many such interesting consumer insights the modern post-Covid era has also led to a unique hybrid environment where the physical and digital cease to exist, the new “Human Experience” made flesh. A world– but soon to be known as “Phygital”.

An important component of this new Phygital universe is the power of storytelling. Brands need an environment where they can tell their story. Like a WhatsApp meme or a Insta reel that is shared virally amongst communities – content is self-propagating. But the investment in experiential marketing is time plus content. Despite stringent social distancing, groups of ardent Spiderman fans found themselves at the theatres with box office numbers touching $ 1 billion across the world. Fans speak of their favourite movie moments though not many may remember the exact movie plot. This proves that memories we forge are ‘content’ of the human experience – it is what brands must strive to own.

 

The Phygital experience makes up for what advertising and digital content lack. For example, Decathlon's Connect stores that allow consumers to touch and feel their sports products and immediately order them online. IDFC First Bank uses digital banking to open accounts, powered by a powerful banking app that aptly makes it a phygital experience. At KidZania we translated this experience for families and children who are the future of banking. Top scholars came up with a cutting edge EdTech brand that created a first-of-its-kind experience in KidZania which does not talk about history or math, but immerses children into a role of a Marine Biologist who are on a mission to save the ocean ecosystem, through a digital AR activity alongside the basics of marine biology within a branded environment.

Businesses and brands must realise that adapting to this new “Phygital” universe is of paramount importance. Phygital redefines “Experiential Marketing” – incorporates the best of content, virality and physical engagement that goes beyond the traditional ATL & BTL as it strikes a balance between imagination and reality.

To ensure we thrive in a fish bowl attention economy, brands and businesses need to pause, sit with their audiences and just have a meaningful conversation, because these times have proven The Human Experience to be the only asset worth investing, a business that beats inflation, provides growth, innovates and we’ve been a part of it all along. 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn & relearn.” – Alvin Toffler.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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