Why Brands Want a Presence in SecondLife

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At a recent ClickZ forum on “Advertising in Social Media”, ElectricArtists CEO Marc Schiller offered his insights on why brands are entering SecondLife.  From ClickZ executive editor Rebecca Leib’s notes:

Second Life is an extension of the concept that social networking is becoming more common.  1 in 8 couples married last year met online.  It is a virtual world where thousands of communities work together in creativity; “it’s about sharing ideas and creating a better world”.  It is NOT in-game advertising, it is primarily a social platform.  1.6 million residents live in the virtual world and the median age is 33, 50/50 male/female and women use it more often then men.  Every piece of content is created by the makers users, Linden Labs only provide the platform and servers.  Users maintain ownership of Intellectual Property, not the software provider, Linden Labs make money by selling space and land.

Why would brands want to join the world?
You get to build a virtual connection with your real audience that makes sense and you’re able to experiment with prototypes and new ideas.  There’s no direct ROI (at least traceable), although it opens up a new channel of communication and deeper connections to the brand audience.  “Aloft” is a virtual Starwood Hotel and is a way to test design, user reactions and offer a virtual client base that can convert into a real world client base.  Scion is to create the first car manufacturer in Second Life, selling theirs cars to other users.  Don’t just do it because your competitors are; don’t do a hit-and-run; re-invent your brand – don’t just copy it.

(image courtesy of Springwise.com)

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