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The character’s flesh is soft and the object pressed against it is rigid, so the skin should deform a bit and the mesh should wrap around the mesh of the object.

I tried using soft body simulation and cloth simulation; neither gave me the expected result. (The character mesh deformed and looked to be vacuumed towards the object)

How exactly can I achieve the said result? Is there an important setting I’ve overlooked?

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Quite basic setup ... works in some way ... but since you didn't provide any better description or details about your file (or result issue) ... there is not a way to help you ... sorry.

enter image description here

Note: Just because eye balls were hanging after the punch, I added a triangle face inside the head to connect eyes with back part oh the head.

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Hard to really answer without a scene or more context, but the most common approach to this is to just add a shape key or post bake sculpt during the interaction and animate that, don't overcomplicate it. https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/animation/shape_keys/index.html .

The technique in question is called "Shot Sculpting" in vfx.

I've worked with studios that do full body skin simulations for this and not only does it require a lot of manual tweaking it's computationally expensive. Fun to experiment with but be prepared for a lot of pain if you go this approach.

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