"Experiential kind of experimentation": P&G steps into metaverse with BeautySPHERE platform
Tell me about what BeautySPHERE is.
BeautySPHERE is an experiential kind of experimentation, a digital world where people can engage with our brands, our products, our values, and they can learn about things like responsible beauty and what that means to us.
Our first iteration is about telling the story of responsible beauty. What's great about that is that we can show how our brands are really innovating in this space. You can go to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, do an experiential learning experience around cue and how we authenticate our botanicals and play a little game. At the end, a tree is planted in Mexico, in an area where biodiverse planting is needed, so you can actually help out in the physical world as well as the digital world. It's kind of a fun byproduct of the experience.
Where did the idea for BeautySPHERE come from?
I had been watching things in the beauty sphere had been looking at different executions, different trends that are out there, and came up with this idea, mostly because our brands have been really big at doing digital executions. I thought it would be interesting to tie the P&G beauty world together, and so started developing the idea.
I took it to Alex Keith, our CEO, and she immediately saw the value of that, and the digital component of it. She went ahead and gave us some funding, which I appreciated, and a very small team with some outside partners pulled this off in less than six months.
How does the metaverse play into this experience?
The world is still defining Metaverse and I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. It's about developing a rich, immersive world where you can have unique experiences. We developed something that is at least a first generation of that. That doesn't mean this is where we're going to end but it's a great place for us to have started.
What’s the value to P&G of being one of the first in the cosmetics world to engage and build in this VR Metaverse space?
What we're the most excited about is that throughout BeautySPHERE, this technology will allow us to develop deeper and richer stories and understanding for our brands, for our platforms, for the values that we express in responsible beauty. Learning today needs to be immersive and it needs to be experiential. So I think that's a really great place for BeautySPHERE to be in our industry, learning and understanding what is critical in the mindset of the consumer.
What does VR offer in engaging with consumers that older media options don't? Or what benefits does it have over older media options?
Virtual reality has the benefit of personalization, of having a direct one-on-one, deeper experience together. That's the unique benefit that is very different than what you'd get on other digital platforms, all of which are building towards this, but we know that the consumer really wants a personalized experience. Brands that can offer that are going to have a leg up with consumers. It is a better way of learning what's behind the brand and the product than just a package on a shelf.
What about the responsible beauty topic made it ideal to be your first step into this space?
Responsible beauty is our system’s approach to thinking about everything we do. It's foundational and I kind of think of it as like the spine of the work we do. All of our projects, our brands, the work we're doing, has a component of responsible beauty to them.
It seemed like a really smart idea that our first venture out into the metaverse would build on that and would telling that story would help bring that to life in a richer way. It's a great foundational place for us to start from, as we continue to build out what this BeautySPHERE is going to be.
What is P&G going to do to keep this space from being a niche technology item?
That's where the experimentation really comes into play. We're going to be experimenting and coming up with other ways of using it and talking to consumers via these rich experiences. It's not one-and-done. We are definitely thinking through what's next, how to bring the next item out, but we're going to be guided by our consumers. I'm pretty sure they're going to tell us not to be niche, but to be expansive and to be thinking about the edges of the digital experience. Consumers tell us that this is the future of brand building, this is where they want their brands to be.
How are we going to measure success with BeautySPHERE?
Success is not going to be an ROI, like sales success, because we're not selling products today, what we're doing is really providing an educational experience. So for us, it'll be engagement, loyalty, and the feedback we get from the consumer. I think that's some of the richest parts of what we'll gain from this, what we hear from consumers and learn so that we can iterate and make phase two even better.