What is phygital?


Phygital seeks to bring together digital and physical world elements to provide a multichannel experience to the public. Learn more about it.

The physical world is increasingly connected with the digital, making companies faster adapt to new technologies, experiences, and channels.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, we relate to each other changed completely. This forced us to adopt self-care measures, the most important of which was social distancing. As a result, digital experiences became a primary tool to keep humanity on track.

Today, almost two years after the first outbreaks were recorded, the “new normal” has merged the physical plane with the most recent advances in technology, which leads us to believe that the future will be hybrid but based on digital.

This is what the Reuters Events Reference 2021 report indicates, where it is estimated that there will be a 67% increase in hybrid events in the first quarter of 2022.

This figure becomes an excellent opportunity to create experiences that have a high interaction, generate more excellent recall, and be measurable to optimize our impact.

Characteristics of a phygital experience

When we talk about phygital, we refer to bringing together elements of the digital and physical worlds to provide a multichannel experience to the public. However, this trend has other features that are also important when it comes to including this type of format in our communication strategies.

The model and methodology are different: We are not going to find traditional models such as keynote conferences where the audience is limited to receiving information without getting involved with the speaker; on the contrary, phygital tools offer the possibility of implementing an interactive system where the user can participate, whether they are either physically or virtually on site.

Also read: Benefits of Gamification

To this hybrid activity, we also add a gamification component, which does not only imply voting or leaving a comment, but also opens the possibility for the user to advance in stages, overcome levels, and be rewarded, even virtually, so that we motivate connectivity and the relationship with the content they are watching.

Another critical aspect of phygital experiences is that it has as a condition to be applied in contents of short-term and easy assimilation. Using this technique to long content does not make sense because the objective of generating real physical reactions through digital tools will be lost.

In case of having extensive information to share, this should be fragmented into small contents of a maximum of 16 minutes and vary the format or the speaker, giving a different dynamic to the communication methodology.

Why did phygital experiences become a trend?

A few years ago, only in movies or on television, and as a product of science fiction, we could have an idea of what it means to have before our eyes a floating image of a person, in real size, talking to us and answering our questions.

We all remember Leia Organa’s holographic distress message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, delivered by R2-D2 in ‘Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope,’ which at the time of its release -in 1977- meant a great novelty for the seventh art and, of course, for the viewers who were exploring Combat on their Atari 2600 in terms of entertainment technology.

Holograms were only fantasy and were part of a “very distant” future for humanity, so who would imagine, almost 45 years later, that generating a hologram to transmit any content would be possible?

Now, this is a reality, and under the name of Holostreaming, it is included in the phygital experiences (digital + physical) that are currently trending worldwide and are achieving memorable and innovative impacts, with greater engagement between viewers and brands, when they are included and used correctly in hybrid events.

Under this category, we find the traditional Hologram, a projection enriched with 3D elements, which can enhance scenography, brand activation, and other creative applications.

Holodisplay is also an exciting option for hybrid events. It is holograms projected in 3D using an urn or box from cell phones, tablets, and even larger formats. This tool is perfect for a ‘showroom,’ working as a digital glorifier.

Besides these phygital trends, there are also other formats such as Mapping, which is composed of projections on physical models, whether organic or defined structures, allowing the contents to interact with reality fantastically and even allowing the user to control what is shown.

Under this line, there is also the Interactive Wall, where push buttons and mapping are integrated through electronic conductive ink, allowing the user to touch the surface and control the animated contents.

Finally, another high-impact tool is Augmented Reality, which consists of integrating graphic content over a real-world view. For this purpose, devices such as cell phones or tablets are used, adding virtual information to the reality seen by the user.

Greater interaction, higher retention

As we have already seen, when naming digital tools, we do not only refer to making websites or mailings. From experience, in igloolab, we have managed to mix creative innovation with relational processes, producing multisensory reactions as a result.

Currently, we would think that the public is not enough to see and feel. However, based on the post-covid “new normal,” every experience must not only “feel” real but “be” truly real.

This is another of the phygital trends that are revolutionizing digital marketing: Multisensory experiences, which integrate into different ways the technologies mentioned above, to provide a superior digital experience.

This can be achieved by adding other elements such as proximity sensors, electronic buttons, smell devices, haptic controls, among others, to make innovative mixes, creating new experiences to connect with the public.

In addition, we can implement Multidevice Interactions, which go beyond the conventional webinars, conferences, forums, or congresses and allow connecting the exhibitor’s experience with the user’s actions, turning the receiver into an active subject in front of the contents and knowledge. 

This tool makes it easy to connect cell phones or devices with screens to perform actions such as voting, games, and all kinds of interactions in real-time.

Why use phygital experiences in the pharmaceutical sector?

It is vitally important to differentiate yourself in the pharmaceutical sector because, unlike the mass consumer industry, audiences are much smaller and more specific. In addition, the health professionals to whom we direct our strategies are exposed to be permanently “bombarded” with similar information, but which is not disseminated in an adequate way to show their contribution to knowledge management.

You may also be interested in: Importance of audiovisual content

Given this scenario, what phygital experiences do is precisely to help us get out of the traditional and attract the audience’s attention with truly disruptive activities that generate greater engagement and facilitate brand recall, positioning the brand not only in their minds but also in their hearts.

How to create a comprehensive phygital experience?

What is the point of having high-tech tools if the content we communicate does not add value? Or better yet, what is the point of structuring valuable content, using high-tech tools, and having an attractive scenario, if we fail in getting physicians to attend our invitation? On many occasions, minor errors in the execution of the strategy diminish the expected impact on the target audience.

A phygital experience must be very well planned to ensure its success.

·               Call: Choose the date of the event in advance and start the call at least 60 days before with an invitation email or ‘save the date’; then a message of reinforcement, one of expectation and another one promoting the agenda or the content that attendees will find.

·               Pre-production: It is essential to select our speakers very well. It is also crucial to use the appropriate technologies to communicate the content memorably, so it will be much easier to choose the formats that best fit our strategy.

·               Connectivity: Implementing a 100% hybrid format requires having a good broadcasting tool to include the attendees and those we will have online. High-quality connectivity makes it easier for absolutely all our audience to live the phygital experience from start to finish, without interruptions that may cause them to lose interest in our event.

·               Post-phygital: Our strategy cannot end when the event closes. We must also plan for post-experience communication with a ‘post-phygital’ activity so that physicians continue to have access to the information for a period of two to three months following our contact with them.

How to measure the impact of a phygital experience?

The main advantage of phygital experiences is that their impact is entirely measurable. When compared to a keynote or any other traditional scheme, where the only report is the registration and attendance, implementing this trend brings with it the benefit of collecting data from the time of the call stage, managing to determine among the invitation emails that were sent how many were opened, how many were read and how many people registered to attend virtually and physically.           

We can also know whether or not we had the impact we expected on our audience by observing the interactions that each of the attendees had with the formats we have for the event, whether it is an interactive wall, mapping, hologram, etc.

Other important data that can be obtained are related to the engagement rate and the retention rate, which accurately show us whether the activity was successful or not.

Do you want to customize your phygital experience? In igloolab, we tell you how…

igloolab is the pioneer company in using phygital experiences for the pharmaceutical industry in Colombia. Our trajectory and development as strategic allies of our clients have been marked by years of research and study of international markets, scientific societies, and recognized laboratories, allowing us to consolidate a complete portfolio of disruptive formats that mix the digital world with the physical.

Related content: Difference between virtual and augmented reality

Knowing our audiences very well, we go one step ahead in pharmaceutical marketing trends; therefore, we enter the Maximized or Mixed Reality modality. A mix between virtual reality and augmented reality. In our company, we decided to use it so that the user, through a device -glasses-can scan the real outdoor environment and begin to visualize and interact with virtual 3D elements that are superimposed on reality.

In our case, we use this innovative tool for the pharmaceutical industry to develop creative applications without limits, such as surgery simulations visualization of processes in organs, among others.

When we talk about phygital, without a doubt, our goal should be: to articulate content with technological tools in such a successful way that they generate a high retention rate, turning each message into an unforgettable experience.

Luis Alfonso Ruíz                                                                                                                                              Igloolab– CEO


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