Today saw the second in a series of breakfasts brought to the Scottish digital community through a collaboration between BIMA and Cohaesus. The session was lead by Steven Crichton of Cohaesus, opening with a a “phygital” theme…
Chasing Pikachu. How ‘Phygital’ is the guiding light for brand reinvigoration.
In the space of a week, streets filled with thousands of people searching for digital beasts and Nintendo was re-born as the guiding light of brand rebirth in a frontier few had previously experienced. By unleashing the constraints of the customer from their screen and keyboard and augmenting the environments that customers inhabit, how can agencies utilise these new technological mediums to engage with customers in new and meaningful ways.
Senior representatives from the following companies were round the table to join in the discussion: DIGIT; Equator; Framewire; Hot Tin Roof; iProspect; Leith; Multiply; Nile; Standard Life; Tayburn; Yard Digital.
Steven opened by stating his assertion that phygital is really what we used to call interactive media design and the challenge remains blending traditional brand thinking with digital innovation for consumer benefit. He also noted that while there is always a desire to create a clever / beautiful / brilliant end product, it is essential that the journey for the user to get there is as simple as possible. Steven also alluded to finding the problem that needs to be solved. Observations around the table concurred with this view point and opened out into a mixture of challenges raised and anecdotes of where we currently are vs where we need to get to:
- The point around simplicity of interaction was quickly picked up on and there was concurrence that streamlining interactions to get to the end result is key. A retro example of the Tesco South Korean shopping wall was used.
- It was noted financial services could be doing so much more with the data they hold to make customer journeys slicker but also to be able to provide real bespoke financial advice rather than basic product and services information. Of course, it has been noted at previous BIMA debates that there are lots of inhibitors for FS providers to ensure they stay well within financial and data regulations. It also leads to another recurring theme around how challenging it is for large brands and corporates to respond to digital change. This can be cultural, structural or financial.
- There is a focus on skills to deliver digital in Scotland but it was argued that vision is too closely set on coding whereas creativity is crucial. The ability to think philosophically, abstractly – to see the problem that others may not see - is what delivers a good product. People are emotional beings and that emotional response needs to be factored into design whereas often it can be overlooked in the name of technology. How ibeacon can be used for redundant and useful functionality was referenced here.
- One person mentioned the challenge is to hold onto the creative while automating the process – no small task!
- A good disruptive product should not just change the product but also the business. However, wrapped up in that point, it was noted that often agencies focus just on delivery and the next challenge is keeping the project alive and providing ongoing support and customer care. Again this is a theme that is coming through in other BIMA community group roundtables with a view to addressing the business model.
- It was generally agreed that we are in a time of too much consumer choice and there is a need to put the “noise filter” on. The example used was the Internet of Things which has had little traction in the consumer market but is taking off in industry where the gains are obvious. It is back to point of finding problems that need solving. Some problems resonate and others won’t. The ROI for industry is clear and apparent but in the household the gains are seen as minor.
- Certainly there are many gains to be made in usability and health where the mantra “prevention is better than cure” is yet to win the battle. The Direct Line use of drones in an attempt to reduce accidents was referenced here. Products such as the Axa Insurance car app were noted as a great example of control and assurance being handed to parents of teenage drivers.
So the conclusions arising from the varied debate were:
- The skills gap of the future will be around creativity, psychology and philosophy
- Technology innovation and the ability to process and respond to vast amounts of data does lead to moral decision making issues for big corporates
- Everyone is looking to Education for the next big disruption.
Thanks were extended to everyone present for taking part and to Cohaesus for leading and hosting the session.