I attended a presentation last week called “Can Branding work in Second Life®?” The presentation was sponsored by a work group focusing on brand marketing in virtual environments.
When I first joined the group, I thought of “brand marketing” in terms of ads from the 1950’s like “The Crest Kid.” Brand marketing seemed kind of corny and old fashioned – more to do with toothpaste, corn flakes and laundry detergent. But I knew modern companies had brands – FedEx, iTunes, Toyota – and that even cities had brands – “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” So I figured it was time for me to catch up.
Back to the presentation… Brand marketing in Second Life got a lot of attention 2-3 years ago but has since seemed to die out. Of 17 original brands with a virtual environment presence back then, a third are alive and well inworld today.
The presentation addressed “lessons learned from the survivors” and recommended new tools needed for further successful applications. The speaker suggested that brand marketing in virtual environments is like the internet was when it first started – much experimentation, few successes, many failures.
Brand marketing CAN work in virtual environments because there are successes to point to and we are working out the guidelines. There are four more presentations scheduled on this topic and I am looking forward to all of them. I am also enjoying the energetic discussion that concludes each presentation. The work group is keeping a record of feedback, suggestions, questions that seem to have been answered, and questions that are still to be worked out.