Face-To-Face, Virtual, Phygital: What Experiences for the Future?



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In an era of social distancing, events agencies have had to very quickly question, adapt, develop digital skills and innovate in order to offer new brand experiences. What did we learn from the situation? What are the implications for our approach to future events or retail experiences? To what extend does the general awareness of the numerous possibilities offered by the new uses of digital technology open the door to new physical, digital or phygital event models? Carry on reading to find out.


The physical experience will always remain important as it is so rich and strong in emotions. It develops a much more direct and natural connection with a given community. Nevertheless, with the health crisis of 2020, brands are becoming aware of the gap to be bridged in terms of digital experiences and activations as well as the implementation of experiential and interactive e-commerce solutions. It is crucial for brands to take their proposals a step further, by building digital content that does not leave the user passive, but on the contrary, really engages with him! The user’s experience itself should be the reward!

The appeal of digital for events is nothing new. As early as January 2015, our agency organised the first L’Oréal Group phygital launch party in London for the Yves Saint Laurent Beauté brand, attended by the muse Cara Delevigne. The event was broadcast live around the world to allow a much wider audience to experience the party from their smartphone or desktop. In 2019, we worked once again for Yves Saint Laurent Beauté to livestream a concert in partnership with Tmall, alongside our “YSL BEAUTY STATION” activation. This generated 1 million views and instant sales on China’s leading e-commerce site. Digital activation as an experience amplifier for making branded content go viral or generating sales is unavoidable and is already a reality.

Our role today as a creator of experiences is to constantly innovate, to detect the trends and behaviours of our society, to test new technologies in order to propose and initiate new digital uses. The digital experience was mainly aimed at creating resonance and amplifying the messages in a pre-lockdown environment. At a time of social distancing, it is key to convey the history of the brand and unite the audience around customer issues and challenges. From multiplexing to webinars, livestreams, social contests or virtual and immersive 3D experiences, digitised experiences are now totally at the service of brands, and that is good news!

In the fashion industry, this is the case of the young designer Angel Chen who decided a few weeks ago to present his autumn 2020 collection virtually in a variety of digital environments. The video was broadcast on different platforms: Labelhood’s Tmall store, his own Taobao store, Instagram, Weibo and Douyin. 40,000 people watched the show on Tmall live and many retailers placed orders based on the feed. As one of the first shows of its kind, the designer introduces a new direction for fashion shows, merging digital technologies with embodied models and clothing, and opening the shows to a much larger and less exclusive audience.

In the field of music, the festival We Love Green wanted to offer the experience of an online festival, a phygital experience that connects i-festivalers in a 4th dimension where interactive meetings, conferences and concerts are on offer. An online version of the Festival, designed to preserve its spirit and values as much as possible: social, economic and solidarity values to awaken consciences. It is a new experience of space and time that transforms the physical experience at a given moment in time into an augmented experience over a longer period of time, with content made available for longer periods of time and events expected throughout the year!

At PARTI PRIS, exercise is also our daily reality by transforming the influencing trips initially planned last June and July into 100% phygital activations. Influencers with a passion for new technologies are valuable partners with whom to build innovative brand experiences. The challenge? Start from the initial concept and completely rethink its format, engaging influencers through creative processes to engage their communities. Maintaining part of the experience in a face-to-face format is sometimes necessary in order to give meaning and make the digital content go viral! Whether it is for preparing influencers, filming content in a set design, bringing the brand’s teams together to introduce the new product (etc.), the physical experience remains at the heart of the process. However, more than for a face-to-face event, the digitised/phygitalised experience requires reinforced storytelling and interactivity. Editorialisation, interactivity and UX are the winning trio for a top phygital experience!

Recently, we also held an online press conference for one of our long-standing clients, La Redoute, to unveil their new concept of La Redoute Intérieurs Paris-based store located at 21 rue d’Uzès, in the 2nd arrondissement! Editorialised and sequenced like a TV show, it enabled around a hundred journalists, partners and employees to find out about the entire concept store in the form of a remote visit. Our aim with this format was to offer a dynamic, engaging and immersive visit, as if you were there! A stroll through the various areas of the store supported by a moving and fixed recording as well as speeches and Q&A sessions with speakers in order to give the guests a feeling of closeness and exchange that is as close as possible to a physical experience!

Digital technology is also redefining more than ever the relationship between brands and consumers. Post COVID-19, behaviours and expectations change, evolve and commerce is now looking for ways to adapt to the changing market.
A few examples: Balmain and its virtual showroom allows buyers to view the collection through a dreamlike universe and to place orders by communicating with the perfect digital replica of its artistic director Olivier Rousteing. Also, the cosmetics brand Villa de Murir, which offers a production studio for media content creators (YouTube, Instagram, WeChat, etc.) in its store to promote the exchange and sharing of shopping experiences as part of livestreams and thus boost sales. Very concrete means of phygital conquest, innovative, playful, personalised and fluid experiences with the aim of leading consumers naturally towards making a purchase, without friction, and sometimes even without interruption.

As a result, we are witnessing a positive transformation that is pushing us to reinvent today the events and experiences of tomorrow through a balanced mix between face-to-face and virtual: phygital experiences. At the heart of this new relaunch: editorialisation, interactivity, UX (User Experience) and emotion.

Today, even more than before, PARTI PRIS is becoming a creator of phygitalised experiences! A new era with an unchanged mission: to elicit emotions and provide users/customers with memorable experiences throughout the entire activation process.