In recent years, virtual and augmented reality have made their way into the marketing sphere, with brands creating incredible panoramic shots and 3D renderings for customers to explore. These 360-degree images have most commonly been used in the travel and real estate industries to give immersive, realistic experiences of locations without actually being there. However, as this technology continues to evolve, brands are finding new use cases for it across a wide range of industries.
There are tons of potential ways to engage your customers with 360-degree images right now, from product interactions to virtual experiences of a physical, in-person event. According to nine Forbes Agency Council members, here are some of the most creative ways your brand can leverage them.
Members of the Forbes Agency Council weigh in.IMAGES COURTESY OF FAC MEMBERS
1. Give Customers An 'Inside Look'
Let's give this a 360-degree look: product views, virtual tours, company events or even marketplaces. This type of technology can put your users at the center of your brand experience. See inside our production process. Take a look inside the CEO’s office. Go behind the scenes in our studio. These are all ways to harness the power of 360-degree images. - Bernard May, National Positions
2. Offer 360-Degree Images To The Press For Earned Media
When you want to show everything and give customers an experience that feels like they are really at that location, 360-degree images are best. This is typically great for social media. Mix up the use of this content and offer it to a strategic news outlet. Compelling content is vital to relationships with journalists and this gives media a point of view that they could not get themselves. - Lisa Arledge Powell, MediaSource
3. Emulate A Physical Experience With Your Brand
If you’re marketing a music festival, store opening or some other type of physical location, 360-degree images can be effective in using a digital experience to emulate a physical one. - Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
4. Offer A Gamified Experience To Lead People To Your Brand Message
Use 360-degree images as a way to lead people to a cerebral destination. We see the use of these images in a game-like ecosystem, where potential customers take on the roles of players. Their tasks include finding clues within the images and putting together information to solve puzzles -- all of which conclude with the player absorbing a client’s message. - Ernesto Carrizoza, Movement Marketing
5. Create A Powerful Level Of Brand Transparency
360-degree images can help provide a level of transparency that a perfectly staged, artfully shot image cannot. A manufacturer may show off the magnitude of its warehouse or production facility, while a consumer goods brand can capture the full scope of its latest TV commercial shoot. If used correctly, a brand can score major authenticity points for sharing some of its behind-the-scenes magic. - Jess Cook, TMV Group
6. Build Immersive Mobile Experiences
Capturing and maintaining consumer attention is quickly becoming impossible. 360-degree images and video create a more engaging experience compared to flat, one-dimensional images. Your audience can rotate their mobile device and enjoy an immersive ad experience, which is a unique marketing angle for now. It gets users more involved in how they digest your brand’s content. - Benjamin Collins, Laughing Samurai
7. Drive Engagement With User-Generated 360-Degree Images
360-degree images submitted by your customers are a great way to weave experiences into your brand marketing, especially if you offer a product or service that requires an experience or trial to adopt. User-generated content can increase engagement, as people trust outside reviews. And 360-degree images can increase interactions with your brand and give people a taste of what to expect. - Brooke Weller, iProspect, San Diego
8. Provide A Digital Product Interaction Experience
As customers become more comfortable purchasing all types of products online, they have come to expect an experience that closely mirrors in-store shopping. When a product is shown in a 360-degree view, customers can interact with it and more fully understand its features and benefits. This personalized experience with the product will help move them toward a purchase decision. - Stephanie Shreve, PowerChord
9. Tell A Meaningful Interactive Story
Take your audience to a place they’ve never seen, but make sure the content serves a meaningful purpose. In our work with Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation, we shot a 360-degree video in a rural schoolhouse in Malawi. The 360 medium told an interactive story about hopes, joys, challenges and growing pains that our audience could empathize with, fostering a deeper emotional connection. - Dianne Wilkins, Critical Mass, Inc.