The Future of Great Experiences Delivery, Marketing & Advertising News, AND BrandEquity

The “phygital” strategy accepts the reality that customers have grown accustomed to digital means of interacting with the world while slowly adapting to the physical world that opens up securely.

By Deepak Lamba

Darwin’s theory of evolution finds its influence in economics, politics, psychology and even marketing. A more apt way to make this comparison is the way American playwright Jessica Hagerdon puts it: “Adaptability is the simplest secret to survival.” With the recent pandemic causing major disruption across all industries, what we’ve learned as a contingent of brand advocates is that change can never be purely external. We as brands, whether it is a product or a service, must transform with this change and adapt to the ways of the new normal to survive and thrive.

The first step in a customer-centric transformation requires businesses to tap into unmet customer demands. They should also think about some questions they might ask themselves beforehand, including: What are our customers’ expectations and how can we meet them? What touch points can we identify and how can we improve the customer experience? Are there any issues to be resolved? Let’s take a step back and think about whether we should wait for all the answers or that perfect moment to deliver what we have.

For the past 18 months or so, technology has been at the heart of innovation across all industries and also plays a key role in shaping their future. Sectors that were once heavily reliant on human capital are now considering a “digital first” approach to traditional practices such as sales, events and improving the property experience for customers. The pandemic has forced even media conglomerates to take advantage of technology to reinvent the customer experience in order to adapt to the new normal. Therefore, the term “Phygital” – a combination of both physical and digital environments – emerged.

The “phygital” strategy accepts the reality that customers have grown accustomed to digital means of interacting with the world while slowly adapting to the physical world that opens up securely. Even in physically installed stands, customers now prefer to pay digitally. The media industry has been hit hard by the economic decline triggered by COVID-19 as the pandemic accelerates digitization. Brands have invested heavily in building the skills of their employees and welcoming new talents with new skills to take advantage of digitization and maximize the customer experience. On the flip side, creating a customer experience that engages people in the physical world has required equal, if not more, focus on research and development, sales, and marketing. As a result, companies that have successfully implemented a strong customer experience strategy will have lower satisfaction rates, churn rates, and increased revenues.

According to a recent study, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. For a business to be successful in any industry, “experience” must be at the heart of business strategy. Industries that want to survive the economic impacts of the pandemic must combine online and offline strategies so that the user experience is delivered instead of the changing preferences of their target audience.

After moving towards the digitalization of their brand during the pandemic, companies are now rapidly switching to a combination of the two approaches, which does not undermine the again growing importance of the physical mode. If a brand is looking to engage its consumers in an event / physical experience, it needs to create a strong community ecosystem before and after the event to ensure holistic engagement across all formats.

When designing an ecosystem that combines both physical and digital formats, keep in mind that the number of physical events will decrease in quantity, as the target audience will only want to attend physical events ” must-haves ”, due to the persistent risk of COVID. Therefore, the nature of the digital ecosystem will be replicated in the physical ecosystem, that is, only two or three leading events will thrive and be successful. The rest should slowly but surely shrink in size. An essential ingredient in ensuring that a brand’s event falls into this “must-see” category is the creation of a strong digital community, which establishes an ongoing relationship with its audience. Brands need to transform their approach to carefully balance the interplay of the two modes.

The message is quite simple: if you fail to meet their growing demands, your customers will eventually leave you.

As we envision a long road to recovery, executives in the media industry must pace their actions according to consumer expectations and the market situation. There will be a fundamental shift in consumer behavior, leading to new ways of producing, distributing and consuming content, forcing businesses to recalibrate their operations and build an infrastructure that is digital and ready for the future.

-The author is CEO of World Wide Media. The opinions expressed are personal.

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