The rapid evolution of Web3 technologies has ushered in a transformative era where the digital and physical worlds are increasingly converging. At the recent D2 X Advertising Week event, expert industry speakers joined to explore the intersection of Web3 advancements with real-world experiences, delving into the innovative ways Web3 tech like blockchain and digital collectibles are being harnessed to enhance customer engagement when merging physical and digital experiences.
What is Phygital?
Alicia Esposito, Vice President, Content at Retail Touch Points kicked off the panel with a question about the use of the word “phygital”, meaning to combine digital and physical experiences into one, which some love, and others see as a dirty word.
Devin Nagy, Director of Emerging Technology & Platforms at Diageo shared in response that “consumers expect us to seamlessly integrate digital into all the experiences we build out there in the world. So, when it comes to our brand portfolio and how we activate, I think we try to focus on building engaging, memorable experiences for consumers that weave in technology, whether it’s Web3, AI, or something else. So, if we’re not doing that, it’s going to fall flat.”
Matias Marquez, Co-Founder & CEO of ethos along with Bill Rosenthal, President of Midnight Oil both agreed that there’s a really big opportunity to delight customers by giving them physical experiences and digital experiences combined, but that the industry should get away from using words to describe the technology and processes and instead focus on how to make people happy in a new and different way through seamless integration.
Ways Brands are Blending Physical and Digital to Offer Immersive, Interactive & Personalized Encounters
One example referenced during the session was around the smash hit movie “Barbie”. Bill explained “The movie, it’s everywhere, anywhere, all at once. I think that’s really what the consumer is expecting. And I think it’s got to be entertaining. And it’s got to have value. And it’s got to surprise and delight you. And sometimes it’s in different worlds.”
Brands like Starbucks have led the way and used the blending of these experiences to tell their story and build brand ambassadors. Diageo has done something similar with its scotch brand, Johnnie Walker, allowing customers to personalize their experience in a digital way. This empowers your brand influencers.
Matias followed up sharing “customers now, they get delighted….about learning more about your story. They get delighted about accessing a digital event you’re hosting and these types of things. So where the opportunity for Web3 lies is really around augmenting the idea of loyalty to delight your customers and give them more… than they would expect from an existing loyalty program.”
What this all points to is that the customer is changing. The customer wants digital rewards, digital benefits, and digital engagements as part of their interactions with the brand.
- There’s a lot of promise in the world of extended reality, especially as phones become more powerful and bring experience to mass scale.
- Binary thinking just doesn’t work, especially with nascent technologies; remove enough friction and you’ve got customers.
- Start with the business goal (for onboarding Web3 technology) and talk about how it solves a business challenge.
- Web3 can help a brand offer a non-monetary reward or something to excite a customer; that’s a lower cost of customer acquisition.
- Meeting your customer where they are means understanding how they interact in different places, physically and digitally.