3D Renderings: Understanding the Contrast of Expectations vs. Reality

January 15, 2020 by David Mantelman

As technology continues to advance, its marketing possibilities continue to increase. There’s a reason 3D rendering market is expected to quadruple to $6 billion globally within the next six years. A number of industries have discovered 3D renderings as an ideal tool to meet and exceed audience expectations, building better marketing strategies as a result.

Done right, 3D renderings allow you to show your physical spaces in the best possible life. The immersive experience your audience can experience even allows you to show a reality that does not (yet) exist. While that potential brings indisputable benefits, it also comes with some potential downfalls you have to consider.

In other words, the concept of these multi-dimensional images has the potential to transform your marketing — for better or worse, depending on how you approach the subject. Let’s dig into the concept, why it has become so powerful, and how you can leverage it in a way that optimizes your marketing through a variety of channels.

The Basics of 3D Renderings

 

Let’s begin with a definition. Put simply, a 3D rendering is a realistic depiction, in three dimensions, of a space of any kind. It takes the data and visuals from tools like Google maps and even everyday photography and turns it into 3D models that bring it closer to reality than a simple 2D image ever could be.

Architects, or anyone working with architects, will be familiar with these concepts. Any major building is usually available in a 3D format before the actual build begins. This model allows all stakeholders to envision the space how it will look, making feedback and updates before any of the actual construction starts.

These depictions tend to be hyper-realistic, with all the details needed to make them feel ‘real’. At the same time, they can be customized to take out specific variables, like weather or even surrounding buildings, that might distract from the core item or space to be featured.

That makes them, in many ways, the best possible version of a reality that either already exists (like a building you’re showing to online audiences) or a reality that does not exist yet (such as the architectural building concept mentioned above). 

What Industries Can Benefit from 3D Renderings?

The basic concept of these types of visuals make them a great fit for a number of industries that rely on their audience understanding their physical space:

  • Higher education, aiming to showcase their campus in a more realistic environment to out-of-state audiences or showing the building concepts for which they’re raising funds before the money to build them is actually available.
  • Hospitality, especially hotels and resorts showing off their facilities and spaces available to tourists. Especially in busy areas, the competition for hotel guests can be tough and those that sell themselves ahead of the visit tend to win out.
  • Real estate, where agents and larger brokers can use renderings to present both the interior and exterior of any number of buildings to potential buyers. Imagine being able to picture exactly what house you’re buying before you’ve ever stepped foot in it.
  • Medical facilities, especially hospitals, which can use 3D renderings specifically to make potential visitors and patients more familiar with their spaces before they arrive. Familiarity, in this industry, can lead to significantly improved in-person experiences and outcomes

And that’s just the beginning. It might seem simplistic, but any industry that relies on its audience understanding or visualizing its physical space can ultimately benefit from these immersive renderings. That’s especially the case considering the tool’s fit within modern marketing trends.

4 Reasons 3D Renderings are a Powerful Marketing Tool

Their use in marketing is not new, but it bears mentioning. 3D renderings have the potential to improve both digital and print messaging channels because they don’t just show reality; they can, in many cases, exceed reality to drive and improve audience expectations. Let’s dig into how that happens.

 

 

1. Build a Realistic, Visual Model

Above all, 3D renderings win when they’re realistic representations of the space they depict. That, as mentioned above, allows the audience to familiarize themselves with the space before they ever set foot on the premises. A simple image online, or an addition to the virtual tour, can accomplish as much.

That’s because, at their core, these renderings follow the show, don’t tell principle that is so core to modern marketing. Studies show that across industries, people retain around 65% of visual information compared to only 10% of the same information when it’s text-based. When that visual is engaging, chances are that number will only rise higher. The mere concept of building a realistic model adds to marketing opportunities.

2. Paint Your Space in the Best Possible Light

It’s not just about realism, of course. Renderings allow you to take reality and turn it into the best possible version of itself. Consider the example of a hotel, which wants to market itself to potential tourists. These are just some of its possibilities with a 3D rendering:

  • Remove the weather variable, instead showing the best possible sky and sunshine for any vacation.
  • Show models of people actually using the spaces like the pool or gym to make it more ‘real’.
  • Add visual captions and enhancements that explain various spaces and add to their inherent appeal.

3. Create an Immersive Experience

Much of the above applies not just to renderings, but to any visuals (pictures or videos) you use in marketing your organization and brand. It doesn’t have to stay there. What makes 3D models so unique is their ability to become more immersive.

When integrated into the right channels, your audience can dive in and actually experience themselves in the space. You can also show that same space in context, increasing its potential usability and attractiveness. The result is a more personal, immersive experience that takes your audience right into the model itself.

4. Allow Expectations to Exceed Reality

Finally, consider the benefits of creating 3D renderings of spaces that don’t even exist yet. Show a future addition to your hotel in the model. Add a new building to your campus or a new slate of rooms to your hospitals. Suddenly, even current visitors can understand (and experience) just what that current construction site is all about.

In that scenario, audience experiences and expectations actually exceed the reality. That can be immensely beneficial when you drive towards the future, but also comes with some hazards that we will break down below.

The Potential Downsides of 3D Renderings in the Expectations vs. Reality Contrast


While the marketing benefits of 3D renderings are impossible to ignore, it’s crucial to consider the other side of the coin, as well. There is a scenario in which a 3D rendering can actually be too successful.

That scenario occurs when the visual creates an expectation that’s impossible to satisfy with the inevitable reality. For instance, new students seeing a campus or individual buildings in 3D online might visit campus and inevitably be disappointed that reality doesn’t hold up to the expectations that have built up.

In this scenario, the rendering has increased the baseline to the point it becomes impossible to match. That makes expectations management an important piece of the puzzle. Rather than over-promising, the best path to success here tends to be creating a 3D rendering that shows the best possible version of reality, but never exceeds that version in a way that generates impossible expectations.

5 Ways to Integrate 3D Renderings in Your Marketing Plan


Of course, understanding the benefits (and potential drawback) of fully immersive images are only the beginning. To leverage these benefits, you have to know how to integrate them into your marketing plan, as well. Predictably, a few opportunities are worth exploring as you move from the strategy to the execution phase:

1. Integrate Your 3D Virtual Tour

Renderings tend to be single images, but you don’t have to stop there. Virtual tours have taken a number of industries by storm, and they can be enhanced through visuals that are both stunning and helpful for your audience. 3D renderings are a perfect example of that step.

Imagine being able to show the details of a building, from its roofing tiles to the pictures on the walls, in the context of a larger campus or property space. 3D renderings are also great for virtual reality integrations, showing the buildings or spaces in a more immersive environment than a 2D image ever could in the same context.

2. Add Renderings to Your Interactive Map

Your possibilities are not limited to your virtual tour. In addition, any business or organization with an interactive map can add 3D renderings to make the experience both more realistic and more immersive. 

These renderings can add a 3D ‘feel’ to an otherwise 2D experience that builds a better connection and take your map beyond the publicly available alternatives. The renderings ensure that even when zooming in or out, the individual buildings show correctly.

To make this experience happen, you’ll need data integration that connects the visuals to the backend of the map itself. Work with a vendor who can accommodate both to ensure a successful connection that drives attention and engagement.

3. Raise Your Website’s Visual Profile

Renderings don’t have to be integrated within other materials. In fact, they can work almost as well as simple visuals designed to enhance your digital marketing efforts. Consider the statistics:

  • It takes only 50 milliseconds for your audience to form an opinion about your website.
  • 94% of opinions about your website are related to its design and visual appeal.
  • 46% of web visitors base their opinions about the credibility of a business on its visual appeal and aesthetics.

Naturally, you have a number of visual opportunities to leverage these statistics to your advantage. Integrating 3D renderings allows you to keep your content visual and engaging, maximizing the opportunities you have to attract, convince, and convert your audience over time.

4. Push Out the Visuals on Social Media

Similar to your website, your social media efforts benefit significantly from the right visuals. Posts that showcase your business visually get significantly higher reach and engagement than those who don’t but finding the right visuals to attract your audience can be difficult. Why not leverage the renderings you’re already integrating into your web efforts in social media, as well?

Especially on platforms like Facebook, which now allow 360 photos and videos, these renderings can become powerful marketing tools. They help your audience immerse themselves into your buildings and property from a distance, making them more likely to consider a visit and building your credibility in the process.

5. Enhance Your Print Materials

Finally, it’s important to remember that the marketing benefits of 3D renderings are not just digital. In fact, they can be just as beneficial in print and other traditional promotional channels, as well.

A simple picture can only do so much to showcase your premises or future building plans. The more realistic rendering, on the other hand, allows your audience to envision that future and see that property almost like it is (or will be) in real life. For anything from marketing brochures to billboards, these visuals have the potential to not just enhance but completely transform your print materials.

Ready to Build 3D Renderings that Boost Your Marketing Efforts?

It’s a complex topic, but one that comes with a simple conclusion: used the right way, 3D renderings have the potential to both meet and exceed your audience expectations. They show a best-case version of reality even to your most remote customers, who no longer need to physically be present in order to ‘be there’.

To get there, of course, you have to get it right. That means working with a partner who can not just create beautiful 3D renderings for you, but also ensure that they can be integrated into your 3D virtual tours and other marketing channels. Our experience there could be vital to that goal. Contact us to start the conversation about using renderings for your business, and how we can help you both create and integrate them to enhance and transform your marketing efforts.

Topics: 3D RenderingsIndoor MappingSupport Your BusinessVirtual Reality

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