How ‘phygital’ Chinese fashion brands can drive greater engagement

Yanie Durocher, founder of POMPOM Creative; drives fashion brands through PR/social, production, digital apparel/web3. IG @YanieYanson

Despite the continued popularity of metaversion, most people don’t know much about it, especially when it comes to how to apply it to brands from a marketing/PR perspective.

Let’s start with the basics first. Rather, Metaverse is a decentralized organization that represents the new internet wave, mixing reality with virtual and integrating VR, AR, blockchain, NFT and other technologies. This allows the metaverse to live parallel to the real world, but independent of the real world.

My agency SANPOM, which helps fashion brands with their PR and digital strategies, has experience working in the metaverse. In collaboration with several other organizations, we have been exploring virtual clothing technology to transform physical clothing into digital versions. This not only helps with e-commerce, promotion and virtual gear, but also helps reduce the waste and carbon emissions that physical samples produce. With the fashion industry being the second largest source of environmental pollution in the world, this digital shift is something we are starting to witness more of today.

So how can fashion brands entering this new world bring awareness to their ‘phygital’ collections that consistently connect with both the physical and digital worlds?

Understand the importance of what you are doing

The first area to start with in order to embark on this technology is to understand its importance. I really believe this is key because many potential clients and customers come to me without understanding the value of it and end up letting the idea/project go.

Because we are based in China, I think that this hesitancy can be mostly due to political reasons. But many times it is really due to a lack of understanding of the technology and a resistance to change.

Know your story (and boldly tell it)

From a PR campaign perspective, make sure your digital fashion tells a story worth talking about and represents what your brand stands for.

For example, when we researched the technology to create the phygital capsule collection with Kornit x Amorphous Studios, we mixed different eras with renaissance accessories and subtle vintage floral patterns. In the meta-environment, we also created an archaic dilapidated ballroom paired with an androgynous alien avatar, creating a narrative for embracing inclusivity, the unknown, and going against conformity.

Expand your reach through partnerships

To increase your engagement and social/PR impressions, it’s important to use strategies that connect your products to new audiences.

For example, for the joint project I mentioned above, we targeted Chinese influencers on the social commerce platform Red Book and virtually dressed them in the items we wanted to display.

Make your products more interactive

You can also extend your digital or physical items into games and PR/social campaigns to create different “looks”.

To make this work properly, it is important to find talent or agencies that have a strong understanding of the technology so that they can communicate effectively while understanding the relevant political boundaries. This can help you avoid a potential PR crisis.

Invest in a good PR campaign

A PR campaign could help more tech-savvy fashion brands boost the company’s return on investment through e-commerce. In addition to emphasizing the physical and digital (and vice versa) aspects, your campaign should also focus on how this approach helps solve sustainable problems while reducing the cost of sampling, production, etc.

The ROI for a PR campaign can go a long way if done correctly. This ranges from creating a high-quality digital item to strong motion design and a good PR campaign that engages both media and influencers. What is your opinion on the possibilities of phygital?

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