The Olympics wrapped up a few weeks ago, and suffice it to say we’ve all been treated to an array of superhuman feats. From Usain Bolt’s 9-medal streak, to the show of solidarity by runners Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino, there was no shortage of incredible moments to take in.
But, as a B2B marketer, what really grabbed my attention was the mainstream prevalence of 360 live video. As Ad Age noted, advertisers and broadcasters were jumping on board, creating their own 360 promotions and content. One of the best was Samsung’s 360 video exploration of Team GB’s Olympic house – giving viewers an immersive flavor of behind-the-scenes areas that are normally off limits.
As for live streams at the event, Olympic Broadcast Services held the keys and pushed them out to 12 license holders, including Canada’s CBC Sports and NBC sports in the US (exclusively to owners of Samsung’s Gear VR via the network’s app).
But in my estimation, the real winners were my colleagues in the UK. BBC had the most open platform, treating a broad array of viewers to 360 live video coverage. Its self-proclaimed ‘experimental’ platform BBC Taster is dedicated to trialling new technologies. As such, it featured multiple live streams with added mobile optimisation. One flagship piece included an edited version of the opening ceremony that stitched multiple cameras angles into one 360 video, giving the audience simultaneous viewing options. All-in all, BBC Taster represents a concerted push towards popularising 360 live video, with more than 100 hours of live content streamed during the month of August.
What worked well for the Olympics? Why is it exciting?
So what made 360 live video so exciting, so compelling for the Olympics?
Why 360 live won’t work for B2B
Quite frankly, it all comes down to this: we’re just not that big of a deal.
The Olympics is an experience on a global scale — one that offers a true atmosphere. It is extremely difficult (if not impossible) for most people to attend. In the business world, there is no event of this stature.
Most B2B brands are not marketing a sense of atmosphere – and that is where live 360 video is the perfect fit. Rather they are trying to communicate about their offering and the customer’s world, showing where they intersect.
Wait. So you’re saying B2B brands should steer clear of 360 video?
Not quite. We just can’t see the payoff for live 360 video. Read on.
What’s the right 360 video mix for B2B?
360 video is a nascent media, and not that many brands have engaged in it. It can be incredibly powerful for businesses purposes. But equally, it can be dismissed as the next curiosity or fad in entertainment. As such, it needs to be handled well. And that depends on what your primary messaging purpose is:
In summary, the important question you must ask yourself is: are you offering an atmosphere?
If so, 360 live could be right. But if not, make it a controlled experience so your brand can get the most mileage of your 360 video marketing initiatives. If you are creating a regular 360 video, refer to three routes above. The best way to employ 360 video varies widely depending on whether you are telling a story, delivering information or showcasing a space.
These are all exciting and cutting-edge avenues for B2B brands. We may not all be world-class athletes, but with the right 360 strategy, we can get closer to attracting a stadium-sized audience.