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Holition: A focus on digital anthropology

Bourjois Magic Mirror

A Focus on Digital Anthropology

When speaking to clients about creating a new piece of innovation, Holition starts by asking ‘who’ first before it gets to the ‘what, when, where, why.’ Holition believes this is the first step to creating powerful experiences. People, customers, consumers, humans are Holition’s North Star, and once knowing who the company is telling a story to, it can empathise with them.

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Holition believes this focus on ‘the human’ helps to define a relevant narrative from the outset. This connection between human and technology, coined by prominent academics as ‘Digital Anthropology’, is at the core of its meaningful technology experiences.

At a point where technology seems to have ‘forgotten the human’ Holition thinks digital anthropology is more important than ever. Stemming from the traditional sense of anthropology that deep dives into the relationship between observation and decision making, digital anthropology is based off of similar principles, looking into past behaviours with technology to reference and inform the future of Holition’s designs and narratives.

Creating Relevancy

As it stands, the world has reached an era of technological innovation that has surpassed the delights of marketing buzzwords or slotting an iPad into a retail counter so that, if it is even charged, one customer out of thirty can share germs by scrolling up and down on the homepage of the website a few times. Customers want more. Tech and the tools available are now in a place that can truly elevate customer experience, swinging between the on and offline, carefully monitoring behaviour, generating hyper-personalised recommendations, peeling back digital layers to carve out new versions of the world; Holition believes building meaningful tech has a simple formula: create a purpose between the ‘human’ and the ‘tech’ by telling a relatable story.

To unpick this relationship, Holition selected a few of its projects to share with you that truly highlight the importance of digital anthropology and purpose. The first, a collaboration between Holition and Charlotte Tilbury that began in 2016. As mentioned before, Holition started people first, rigorously researching Charlotte’s vast customer base to uncover pain points and gaps within her customer experience. It was only once Holition’s analysis had unearthed customers’ struggle to find the right makeup for them, struggle to match their foundation shade and struggle to ask for help that Holition’s idea became crystal clear: the company were to build an augmented reality magic mirror that addresses each issue, but enhances the magic of shopping at Charlotte Tilbury. Within the mirror, customers can discover all of Charlotte’s infamous makeup looks through a seamless journey, discovering what suits them, their skin tone and their facial features. The mirror even makes makeup suggestions, based on your skin tone and behaviour. Marrying education with inspiration, the display also allows users to share a selfie and shop the products online after completing the experience.

CT- VirtualTryOn4_compAfter assessing the ongoing global roll-out of this magic mirror across eleven different countries and winning the Retail In Asia Award for Best Omnichannel Experience (amongst many others), it is clear that this installation is more than just a piece of in-store tech; it is a storytelling exercise that withstands the test of time. In comparison to other magic mirrors that have unfortunately croaked into ‘black screens’ in stores, Charlotte Tilbury displays create meaningful value exchanges between the branded experience and the customer.

Another example of how Holition turns pain points into pure play, began in 2015, when a conversation about champagne turned into a high stakes exhibition launch. For the launch of their exclusive champagne, Dom Perignon came to Holition with the aim of showing and explaining the delicately scientific process of producing the champagne to an audience that perhaps had more interest in Instagram than alcoholic rigour. So  Holition had to discover a way to engage and educate.

Dom Perignon Infinity RoomAfter learning of the immersive expedition that champagne pickers, growers and producers embark on when creating a bottle of Dom Perignon, Holition knew it needed to replicate this human connection within the experience. And like a brilliant bottle of champagne, this story was meant to be experienced in good company; so while most would default to virtual reality for immersive experiences, Holition decided the magic of this experience needed to be shared through a full scale infinity room. The story in the infinity room impressed both experienced champagne producers and Instagram bloggers alike, delighting them with an immersive journey into the world of Dom Perignon.

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Writing Chapters in a Storybook

At Holition, this is the primary mission: to create meaningful and sustainable, technology and moreover, experiences. It believes that an experience, be it in-store, online or phygital, should be able to withstand device upgrades, content trends, battery life and behaviour shifts, and it believes that technology should feel invisible. This comes through in Holition’s previous examples, proving that tech should be the enabler of storytelling, not the story itself. The successes of the Charlotte’s Magic Mirror and the Dom Perignon Infinity Room are only chapters in its diverse storybook, where Holition leveraged technological advancements, such as augmented reality and 4K screens, but these emerging technologies are only the medium Holition communicates through. The stories are what make this tech stand the test of time.

Holition won the Retail in Asia Best Retail Experience Award 2018 for the category “Omnichannel”