Wowza: Great post on Brands & Virtual Worlds

Do brands need virtual words? Absolutely. The high proportion of kids brands in attendance at VW08 NYC is testament to this – they’re paying close attention. The high number of brands across all sectors currently in Second Life is also proof. Further evidence can be found on Giff Constable’s blog over at ESC. He cites recent research conducted by MTV with respect to Pepsi activity in vMTV…

 

Among the findings was that Pepsi’s positive brand image traits increased dramatically among fans who not only watch the show but browse The Hills content online, where Pepsi runs 30-second spots and banners. Positive brand image increased even more among fans who played in The Hillsvirtual world as well. (The average time spent there, according to MTV, is about 28 minutes per encounter.)

 

The valuable audience segment of teenagers and young adults are bombarded with advertising messages and are savvy enough to know when they’re being sold too. They’re also media and activity ‘grazers’ – they switch between channels and media products at lightening speed (read more about marketing in teens online). Virtual worlds offer an engagement platform unlike anything else in the market and increased brand equity is the currency.

 

But do virtual worlds need brands?

 

The best starting place here is to isolate the primary objective of any virtual world – to grow their resident base. 

Looking at Second Life growth in 2007, I would argue that at least 50% of the new accounts (circa 5m) created in 2007 were a direct result of brand activity. If brands hadn’t have entered SL, registered accounts would have been significantly lower. So, from this perspective, brands are crucially important to virtual worlds – they need them. 

 

What brands bring to a virtual world is a base of fans/advocates/ambassadors – people who have a relationship with a real world brand and follow the brand in-world. On this basis, getting a brand inside a virtual world is an excellent vehicle to grow the population numbers.

 

This aspect can also be pivotal for newly established worlds or platforms in development. Brand awareness and understanding of the majority of new virtual worlds is low – no-one really understands what’s on offer and the only way (until these worlds start advertising) is to actually sign-up. Real world brands bring a safety blanket of awareness and can act as a catalyst for registration, not to mention kudos. Another reason why virtual worlds need real world brands.

 

Some virtual worlds place real world brands at the centre of their positioning, Stardoll being a good example of this. Members flock to Stardoll to dress their avatars in branded clothing and celebrity-based activities.

Brands and Worlds. Who’s the Daddy? : Kzero

Wow.  I ONLY took a wee portion of the post to share with you.  That’s JAM PACKED with theories and reasonings regarding Virtual Worlds ❤ Brands, and vice versa (that’s a heart if you can’t see it).

I’m going to reread it and see if I wrap my head around all the areas touched, and can come up with anything valid to share with you.  In the mean time – i would love to hear any responses of others who read the article.  Cheers.

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