Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reasons to be cheerful 2023: Chris Camacho, CEO, Cheil UK pins hopes on Web3

NDA has always been dedicated to celebrating the digital industry and as the pandemic took hold we launched our Reasons to be Cheerful series. As we face an uncertain economic future, we’ll be hearing from leaders across our industry to discover what’s keeping them smiling as we enter 2023. Next up is Chris Camacho, CEO, Cheil UK.

What are you most excited about in the digital industry in 2023?

Despite the political, economic, and social volatility, in the face of adversity, individuals are finding inventive ways to seek out better lives, through digital, particularly Web3.

Web3 offers a place to escape from reality, with large communities growing in these spaces, from gaming giant Roblox to the VR hangout location, Altspace. To meet consumers’ hunger for novelty and difference, brands must tap into Web3 – and many are. Only last month, Nike launched CryptoKicks, its first native Web3 trainer collection. I am looking forward to seeing how more brands harness creativity empowered by digital technology, to create products that satisfy consumers more than ever before.

 Why are you most positive for your business in 2023?

The pandemic and the digital acceleration it triggered led to a drastic change in the way consumers experience brands – individuals order from their phones and collect in store, talk to a chatbot on an app and use VR to test an item virtually before making a purchase.

At Cheil we will continue to push boundaries powered by ‘phygital’ experiences to increase efficiency for our clients. Simultaneously, individuals are craving escapism with an appetite for playfulness. Brands who offer alternative and experimental in-store activations are seeing success; from ecommerce giant GymShark, with its foray into the ‘the real world’ with the launch of a Regent Street store, to one-of-a-kind pop-ups like the Piccadilly Flip Fold experience that my team delivered for Samsung last year.

Both experiences integrated digital technologies to make in-store shopping an immersive experience. Our expertise in this area will allow our clients to engage customers through a seamlessly merged omnichannel experience.

 How will the digital industry help make life better for consumers or partners in 2023?

In 2023 sustainability can no longer be ignored. Thankfully digital, powered by technological innovation, is strengthening the movement. The circular economy no longer feels like it’s focused on the second hand – instead, it now feels like the future, with the most cutting-edge tech. A clear sign of the ‘new sustainability’ has been its incorporation into the world of fashion.

Notably Danish fashion brand Samsoe & Samsoe added QR tags into its clothing which auto-generated social ads for reselling the item, supporting the circular economy by creating a simplified customer experience. Brands must adapt and utilise new technologies to not only stay relevant, but also make a genuine difference.

 What technologies have you been most impressed with this year and which will have the most impact in 2023?

Starbucks’ entry into NFTs with its Odyssey programme is enabling it to engage with its community by offering members the ability to earn and buy NFTs that unlock access to new, immersive experiences. It is an exciting time in this space, with rewards to be reaped for brands that get it right. 

In the future there is an opportunity for brands to go even further in this space, with blockchain-based loyalty schemes having the potential to fundamentally change how data is owned. NFT-based schemes shift the power away from brand and platform-owned, to decentralized, individually managed data. Imagine a Starbucks ‘loyalty card’, on which you have amassed thousands of points. Rather than these points just being redeemable against the originating brand, they can be traded, providing access and value across the entire Web3 ecosystem.

What, if any, positive impacts on the digital industry could an economic downturn have?

As brands typically focus more on returns during times of economic uncertainty, they will prioritise sales-driven activations. With a focus on a seamless consumer journey, ‘phygital’ experiences allow marketers to remain creative, whilst simultaneously facilitating clearer sales conversion and ROI measurement.

Digital also offers the chance for practically any individual to be the next big thing. In the digital world everyone has a voice and is a creator, which will continue to see individuals build businesses from their bedrooms via digital streams.

As consumers look for new ways to solve issues, entrepreneurs and existing brands alike that can think outside of the box, in strategic ways, are sure to see success.