Phygital: Bridging the gap between digital and physical world

The pandemic has affected the events industry in a massive way. In the past, it would have been difficult to imagine large-scale events taking place online. However, companies in this space have had no choice but to innovate to survive, and some industry players have achieved great success while finding new ways to engage audiences and customers.

With only five years of history, one-stop marketing solutions company FEED HK has been launching impactful events thanks to its seasoned team and strong connections with brands. In this Master Report, FEED HK will review recent works and demonstrate how to create engaging events through the “phygital” approach, away of using technology to bridge the digital world with the physical to provide unique and interactive experiences for the user.

It is no secret that 2020 had more impact on some of us than others. Most of us were caught off guard and completely unprepared to face the challenges caused by the pandemic. However, it has become apparent that, although no one could have predicted the devastating impact of the pandemic on the global economy, some individuals and companies, thanks to their visionary approach and foresight to embrace the dynamic changes that technology brought to our lives, have managed to stay afloat or even thrive during the crisis.

An example of turning a crisis into a golden opportunity is FEED HK. While marketing agencies and brands struggled to find ways to engage frightened, sad and worried audiences, FEED HK drew on its integrated marketing and events experience which, since 2016, has grown from creating physical events to hybrid gatherings.feed hk timeline Working with leading companies and riding on the launch of food trucks in the city, the integrated-marketing curator made a splash in 2016 with Hong Kong’s first food truck event, The Food Truck Festival 2016. It not only made significant noise for the food truck scene, but also solidified FEED HK’s presence in the city as a leading player in event promotion.

The success and media attention gained from The Food Truck Festival 2016 created momentum for FEED HK to launch another event in 2017: MART IN HONG KONG. It was the first Chinese New Year market ever hosted in Central that proved once again the importance of being able to think outside the box.
These events achieved great success thanks to FEED HK’s strong connections with local media and its energetic events team. The team’s experience in hosting live events was proven to be essential for creating hybrid events requiring versatility and flexibility as organisers needed to traverse online and offline mediums.

Playing on its strengths, FEED HK continued to capitalise on its expertise in the F&B sector for 2018’s The Coffee Agenda event. The event drew regional awareness and is to date one of the most significant and impactful coffee events in the city.

Increasingly aware of its strengths in B2C events, FEED HK brought its expertise to China, spearheading partnered events in both Guangzhou and Shanghai.

As the pandemic made its way through the region, FEED HK found itself once again revolutionising the events industry in its original battleground. In 2020, FEED HK tapped into its unique position as a live B2C events curator as well as commissioning its seasoned and dynamic team to create a new breed of hybrid events. When gatherings were perceived to be dangerous and nearly impossible, FEED HK was able to quickly transition and modify the event
space into a realm that merged both digital and physical elements.

The success of online B2C events such as coffee tasting and clubbing would never have taken off without a team that was well versed in executing physical events. Drawing on this expertise, FEED HK was able to pioneer and finesse the careful orchestration of the integration of physical and digital worlds to groundbreaking effect. The company also expanded its reach with the founding of PROJECT 108 in 2020 as a way to target digital marketing, advertising, public relations and production initiatives.

PROJECT 108 brought together a group of pioneers in marketing, events, production and digital solutions to build new experiences in O2O, B2C and B2B events. The fully-integrated collective offers comprehensive branding and marketing insights to clients seeking to synergise their online and offline reach.

With a firm foundation in the fundamentals of events management, FEED HK kicked off the year by redefining the meaning the year by redefining the meaning of togetherness in 2021. Introducing hybrid elements to the RUN INTO 2021and MART IN HONG KONG 2021,FEED HK created new ways for the city to come together as one.

Marathons have a long tradition in Hong Kong with several largescale international editions taking place on an annual basis. However, these annual gatherings have come to a standstill with the restrictions on gatherings. To bring a fresh start to the year, FEED HK created the RUN INTO 2021, an event that allowed participants to clock their runs around the city. Participants were encouraged to create their own routes to break the physical and geographical boundaries of conventional marathons.  feed hk photo 3Engaging over 50 influencers to participate in the event, personalities who had little connection with athletic pursuits were invited to become part of this unique experience, including contemporary Feng Shui master Thierry Chow, logistics influencer Siu Chu and music producer Dough-Boy. The event consisted of three categories, including the 3KM Fun Run, 5KM Power Run and the 10KM Achiever Run. It brought together individuals with different physical capabilities and ultimately allowed everyone to indulge in the positive results of both physical and digital social engagement with peers and friends.

To enhance a sense of community, participants were asked to share their routes, results and overall experiences through social media. And to build an even greater sense of togetherness, FEED HK’s team incorporated physical elements into the event, including sending participants a physical runner’s pack consisting of an event t-shirt, a medal and vouchers from supporting sponsors.feed hk photo 4

FEED HK’s founder Kim Yuen says the synergy between physical and virtual momentum was the key to success. 

“We are able to identify the elements crucial to a successful event, and incorporate them into an enhanced virtual experience. We are capable of achieving great results thanks to our team that have years of experience in engaging brands and customers, and we know how to create these same sorts of connections online,” Yuen explains.

The event RUN INTO 2021, supported by livi bank, was the first of its kind in the city. The bank saw significant boost in branding following FEED HK’s online and offline approach used in the event, and was inspired by the FEED HK team’s unique insights to provide when stepping into this relatively uncharted territory. 

In addition, over 80% of livi bank’s staff participated in the event and the run proved to be a hugely successful team building exercise during the pandemic. In all, the RUN INTO 2021 was a success and a testament to the advantages of being versatile, agile and innovative. It also proved the rules of the events industry: engage and meet the needs, interests and desires of audiences. 

Chinese New Year is the most festive and celebrated season in the city. It was the second Chinese New Year during the pandemic. Some people decided to stop the traditions of family gatherings and visiting the flower market. 

The city was still looking for ways to enjoy the festive spirit of Chinese New Year. With the experience of working with the Hong Kong Tourism Board for the MART IN HONG KONG 2021 Chinese New Year market in Central, FEED HK spearheaded an initiative to combine the classic concept with an online shop launched in conjunction with a physical showroom at PMQ.

The event Fortunes at Home - MART IN HONG KONG 2021 invited both historic local brands as well as young and up-and-coming names in design and innovation to participate in the digital market. Offering everything from festive decor to holiday treats, the event allowed shoppers to purchase goods online with the option to touch and experience the items at PMQ.

Unlike traditional Chinese New Year markets, MART IN HONG KONG 2021 extended to the second week of Chinese New Year, offering more opportunities for Hongkongers to indulge in the event and share the joy.

The success of this hybrid market was made possible by FEED HK’s unique position and ability to provide in-person support to the event. The initiative was a success in driving traditions forward and bringing them to a younger generation.

This shift towards hybrid events taking place simultaneously in physical and digital realms is clearly the way forward. While we can expect a recovery from the pandemic in near future, our digital presence has become a crucial part of our identity as consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the flexibility and ease that comes with physical and digital events.

There is no doubt that the combination of physical and digital events is a trend and norm. A s the pioneer in hybrid events in the city, FEED HK is well positioned to lead the industry into the digital age where the lines between online and offline are becoming increasingly blurred.

About Feed
Founded in 2016, FEED HK is an event, marketing and branding agency that sets out to deliver creative and impactful campaigns both online and offline. Launching Hong Kong’s first food truck festival in the same year, the company was able to cleverly leverage the buzz generated around the city’s inaugural initiative. The company has since expanded its reach, creating tailored events and marketing solutions for clients in Guangzhou and Shanghai. FEED HK’s experience in creating live events acts as a springboard to migrate its efforts to host one-of-a-kind digital events, engaging a new generation of tech-savvy audiences.

In 2020, FEED HK created a subsidiary, PROJECT 108, to cater to the growing demand for fully-integrated branding and marketing in the city. Tapping into its experience in physical events, PROJECT 108 now delivers a wholly innovative phygital experience to clients through the integration of physical elements into digital events. With a team of experts in everything from creative photograph and videography to social media management, PROJECT 108 has become an invaluable extension of FEED HK in its efforts to provide broad-ranging media solutions. feed hk kim max 01

From left to right: Kim Yuen, co-founder of FEED HK; Max Cheung, co-founder of PROJECT 108