What Lady Gaga should have done….

Lot’s of newsflow in the last couple of days about Lady Gaga gaining an injunction against Mind Candy, owners of Moshi Monsters.

Moshi developed a character called Lady Goo Goo and placed songs onto YouTube, with plans to release a song on iTunes via their new music division Moshi Music. Here’s the news report.

Unofficial re-creations of brands inside virtual worlds are nothing new. Back in 2008 we identified this trend – primarily inside Second Life with residents (as opposed to Linden Lab) creating and in a lot of cases actually selling these virtual goods. Furthermore, the concept of users re-creating music videos as machinima is another interesting topic.

This case is slightly different because it’s the virtual world company itself creating the unofficial brand as opposed to the users – but it seems the Moshi users really love the character.

In response to the trend of unofficial brands and virtual goods, we developed the ’5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management’ back in 2008. It’s a set of principles that brand owners should consider before taking action. Perhaps Lady Gaga should have read this first. The full report can be ordered here and shown below is a quick summary presentation.

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New report, Virtual Worlds 2011+ now available

We’ve just made our latest report, Virtual Worlds 2011+ available. You can order it here.

This report identifies and explains the emerging trends in the virtual worlds sector and includes insight into:

  • Kids, Tweens and Teens
  • Platform convergence
  • Music
  • Gambling
  • Online dating
  • UGC
  • Socnet extension
  • Education
  • Virtual goods (consumer and B2B)
  • Mirror worlds
  • Mobile devices
  • Metabrands
  • Branded virtual worlds

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KT&T sector: Mixing the real and virtual worlds for new revenue streams

For a long time we’ve advocated the strategy of linking on and offline play and activities in the virtual worlds sector – a theme examined in our 2010 report.  And, with the high number of KT&T worlds in the sector coupled with the pressure to improve conversion rates and increase ARPPU’s, virtual world owners are increasingly seeking ways to drive new revenues.

One of these strategies is taking the VW brand ‘out of world’, typically with re-creations of virtual goods originally available virtually. Inversely, there’s also a growing trend to push users in-world, originating with a real world purchase. Of course, this is not a new strategy as both Webkinz and Neopets have offline brand retail experiences, but it’s definitely a growing trend in the sector.

Here’s a look at some examples:

Gaia Online: One of the pioneers of linking virtual and real world ‘products’ was Gaia, with their online store. Whereas both Neopets and Webkinz created offline retail catered for younger users, Gaia saw a merchandising opportunity to tap into their slightly older target market of mid to late teens. Users are able to purchase clothing (mainly t-shirts), accessories(hats, charms and hair accessories), and other items related to their world including plush toys. Some of the Gaia products are based on virtual goods available in-world – the first example of ‘real virtual goods?

Shidonni: “….One-of-a-Kind line of custom plush dolls. In doing so, the company has taken its virtual world’s original play experience — which animates a user’s 2D drawing, morphing it via the Shidonni software into an animated on-screen creature — one giant step further. The new line offers users the option to have their online creatures manufactured into a look-alike plush doll.” Continue reading “KT&T sector: Mixing the real and virtual worlds for new revenue streams” »

The FT says: Virtual goods networks could rival ads

Nice little article from the FT about how virtual goods revenues could offset online advertising. My view is that it isn’t about offsettingrevenuesin turbulent times – virtual goods will in time be a dominant income stream for brands and companies regardless of the economic situation. A view shared I’m sure by Viximo, referenced in the article.

Related: The rise of the Metabrands

Extract:

If online advertising is under pressure, perhaps branding virtual goods can help make up a greater proportion of revenues….


Virtual goods are seen as having more impact than ads on Millennials – the 13-26 age group who largely populate social networking sites and will respond more to receiving Godiva chocolates or Nike Air shoes, even if they are not the real thing.

Metabrand for auction on eBay

I’ve talked before about Phat Cats, the highly popular Jazz club in Second Life. It’s popularity highlights the role of music and socialising in virtual worlds as well as the importance and relevance of genre-based locations.

Well, Phat Cats is being put up for sale on Oct 1 on eBay by ownersJody Huet, Amethyst Jetaime, and Barbarella Noel. This will be very interesting to watch, in terms of putting a real world value on a metabrand. The last major eBay sale of a SL business/venue was Virtual Amsterdam and went for $50,000.

We have reached many of the professional and personal goals we held going into ownership, and we are moving to focus our attention on other projects. Phat Cats has always been a magical place, where Second Life residents can find a luxurious escape from the mundane pressures of daily life. The clubs hosts, hostesses, and managers work around the clock to create a warm and inviting environment where anyone can feel welcome. We cant wait to see that environment continue, even as ownership of the club changes hands.

Like most metabrands in SL, Phat Cats has a dedicated website, here.

Phat Cat’s Jazz Club Overview

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: auction life)

Sims 2 Ikea video

Some background info on this campaign here.

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H&M brings a metabrand to life

Fashion retail company H&M has brought virtual clothing in the real-world via a campaign deployed into The Sims 2. This metabrand move was prompted by The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Runway competition conducted over the summer of 2007.

The winner of the competition had their virtual clothing manufactured into a real-life version – congratulations toBeau Fornillos, a 21-year-old American interior design student (read more here).

Consider this UGC on steriods and a sure-fire early sign of a massive growth area in virtual worlds and online activity in general.

Where do we go from here? Maybe eventually to a place where designers like this actual see royalties or commissions made from real-life sales.

All you need now is some nice Ikea furniture.

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Virtual Goods in Virtual Worlds with Virtual Greats

The virtual goods sector is primed for major growth due to the increased attention given by real world brands and of course the uplift in virtual world populations. – recent estimates value the virtual goods sector at $1.5bn. The Luxury Brands case study explains the virtual goods opportunity in this sector.

Millions Of Us released news today about Virtual Greats – their commercial vehicle to gain market share in the virtual goods space.

From the press release:

Continue reading “Virtual Goods in Virtual Worlds with Virtual Greats” »

Campaign results for L’Oreal Paris phase one

Several weeks ago we finished phase one of the L’Oreal Paris campaign in SL. Today as part of my presentation at the vBusiness Expo I gave a background to this campaign as well as released the campaign data. The relevant metrics and data are in this post. A background to the strategy of this campaign is here.

In terms of overall takeaways (we gave the make-up looks/skins away for free, so the term ‘sale’ doesn’t apply) during the three months of the campaign over 34,000 were taken by residents.

Again, to explain the terminology, we’re using takeaways as opposed to giveaways because all transactions were initiated by residents – the L’Oreal Paris products were stocked in the stores of existing SL retailers and we relied on the visitors to these stores and locations to activate their own call to action – clicking on a display board and receiving the product package.

This is different to say items being distributed by teams of people in SL. The graph to the left shows cumulative transactions on a weekly basis for the campaign.

As data was able to be collected in real-time, during the first month we tracked transactions daily. After month one we switched to a weekly assessment. The graph shown right has these weekly figures.

On average, 2428 products were taken each week. It’s of use to point out here that we started with just two of the four skins and in week four were up and running in all venues with all products.

This coincided with the launch into the Greenies Kitchen and therefore the best performing week (four) from the campaign with over 7,000 transactions across our venues. Naturally transactions slowed around the Christmas break but ramped up again in week 10, when our Second Style advertising was activated. Continue reading “Campaign results for L’Oreal Paris phase one” »

Stardoll get into ‘real’ worlds

In a move similar to one already seen from Gaia, Stardoll (via a partnership with Spreadshirt) now lets users take designs created virtually and get them printed onto real t-shirts.

An interesting and clever move because virtual worlds make content creation easy – in some cases easier than in the real world. VW News reports:

What the deal represents is that when you look at Stardoll and think about the environment that we have kids playing in, we’re playing with garments and clothes,” Matt Palmer, Stardoll Executive Vice President and General Manager, told Virtual Worlds News. “We know through our research that kids would love to get their hands on them. The opportunity allows us to experiment with what we can take from our world that’s a simple idea that kids can customize, get made, and have sent to them. That sort of translation of virtual world to physical world?¢‚Ǩ‚ÄùI view this as that first step in looking at what that could look like for us.”

Continue reading “Stardoll get into ‘real’ worlds” »

Gaia goes the other way. Virtual clothing becomes real.

It didn’t take too long did it.

Gaia Online has made available to purchase in the real world (via their website) a selection of garments originally created in-world – this is where the metabrand hits the real world.

Gaia has been a busy place of late. First there was the Sony/Warner Bros deal bringing movies in-world, then, not to be outdone, Time Warner invested in the company.

This latest development is another example of brand new revenue streams being realised from virtual world activity. More information about Gaia accessories over on the Wonderland blog. Continue reading “Gaia goes the other way. Virtual clothing becomes real.” »

Miss SL Universe 2008. The competition hots up

Looking good in Second Life is an art form and indeed an economy in itself with a multitude of stores and shops allowing avatars to customise their appearance.

Taking this theme to the extreme is the Miss SL Universe 2008 competition. An event organised by Frolic Mills, the CEO of the Best of SL Magazine and currently preparing for the grand final on January 19, 1pm SLT.

The final is going to be broadcasted live by the Second Life Cable Network (SLCN) showing the contestants strut their stuff and answer the obligatory questions.

Will there be prizes? Of course. There’s over L$250,000 in cash and prizes available and the winner gets to feature of the cover of the February issue of the Best in SL magazine. Who knows, they may even become a virtual celebrity.

Here’s the 12 finalists.

Miss Brazil – Willamina Fitzgerald

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Miss Canada – Cherie Parker

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Miss Costa Rica – Pup Witherspoon

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Continue reading “Miss SL Universe 2008. The competition hots up” »

Love, Aly, a LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist

Located in the Velda region, Love Aly is owned by Alyssum Therian and taking part in the LOr?ɬ©al Paris campaign. Here’s is the SLurl. More photos here.

Aly has a blog showcasing her latest work as well as charitable projects here.
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lovealy_002.jpg Continue reading “Love, Aly, a LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist” »

Nicky Ree, a LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist

Located in the Tropical Orchid region, Nicky Ree is a participating store in the LOr?ɬ©al Paris campaign. Here’s the SLurl. Owned by the one and only Nicky Ree, the store is a fine purveyor of high-end clothing for women. More photos here.

Nicky displays her latest creations (and numerous reviews) on her blog, here.

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nicky_002.jpg Continue reading “Nicky Ree, a LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist” »

Nuclear Boutique, LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist

Located in the Archipelago Wild region and owned by Arikinui Adria, Nuclear Boutique is participating in the LOr?ɬ©al Paris campaign. here’s the SLurl. More photos here.

Ari has a great blog about her creative ventures in SL here.

nuclear-boutique-3.jpg Continue reading “Nuclear Boutique, LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist” »

Lassitude & Ennui, a L’Or?ɬ©al Paris stockist

Located in the Nouveau region, Lassitude & Ennui is a store participating in the LOr?ɬ©al Paris campaign. The store is owned and managed by Jackal Ennui – here’s the SLurl. More photos here.

Jackal blogs here on the latest developments at Lassitude & Ennui.

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lassitude4.jpg Continue reading “Lassitude & Ennui, a L’Or?ɬ©al Paris stockist” »

Calla, a LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist

Located in the Callatropia region, Calla is one of the stores participating in the LOr?ɬ©al Paris make-up looks campaign. Haedon Quinn is the brains behind Calla – here’s the SLurl. Calla specialises in hair and jewelry. More photos here.

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calla-2.jpg Continue reading “Calla, a LOr?ɬ©al Paris stockist” »

Metabrand advertising. Is that metatising?

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Part of the LOr?ɬ©al Paris campaign.

Second Slice issue 2 now available

The second issue of Second Slice has hit the virtual shelves – you can download it here.

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In this edition I’ve continued my series on virtual retailing. Other contributers include: Continue reading “Second Slice issue 2 now available” »

Supersizing in the Kitchen with L’Or?ɬ©al Paris

Here’s some supersized images from the Greenies Kitchen, part of the L’Or?ɬ©al Paris campaign. Read more about product placement and supersizing here.

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Continue reading “Supersizing in the Kitchen with L’Or?ɬ©al Paris” »

The L’Oreal Paris make-up looks in Second Life

Here’s the full set of make-up looks available in Second Life from L’Oreal Paris. Our Flickr site shows these skins and shapes being worn by residents.

Plum Perfect (featuring Milla Jovovich)

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Vintage Glamour (featuring Penelope Cruz)

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Perfectly Pastel (featuring Eva Longoria)

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L’Oreal Paris: A Branded Virtual Goods campaign from KZero

L’Oreal Paris (UK) has launched their branded virtual goods campaign in Second Life with strategy, planning and implementation provided by KZero.

The campaign has been created to promote a range of real life and virtual world make-up looks across Second Life and is comprised of the following elements:

1. Metabranding

vintage-glamour.jpgFour real world make-up looks have been created and made available to residents as branded virtual goods. These looks have been created as skins and shapes. Second Life was selected as the most appropriate metaverse for this campaign due to the presence of early adopters falling into their target market as well as the incumbent demand for avatar customisation.

The first two make-up looks are Vintage Glamour (featuring Penelope Cruz)and Some like it Scarlett (featuring Scarlett Johansson).

You can see all the make-up looks here.

2. Virtual retailing and distribution strategy

Rather than create an island-based venue and attempt to drive traffic out from the mainland, instead a selection of existing Second Life fashion metabrands have partnered with L’Oreal Paris to promote and stock the make-up looks.

Continue reading “L’Oreal Paris: A Branded Virtual Goods campaign from KZero” »

A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 3 – Dynamic Merchandising

Creating 3D representations of real world products and using them as the prime focus for a retail transaction or environment is called dynamic merchandising. Both metabrands and real world products can use this technique to sell.

Interestingly, the concept of dynamic merchandising is also the basis for a newly emerging marketing facet in virtual worlds – Product placement. Related article: Supersize Me, design values in virtual worlds.

Learn about Static Merchandising here.

Here’s some examples of dynamic merchandising….


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A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 2 – Static Merchandising

Part 2 of this series explaining virtual retailing focuses on Static Merchandising. This is defined as the presentation of real world products in a virtual world using 2D displays.

This is the area some real world brands are mistakingly looking hardest at. Static merchandising relates to displaying real world product images in a virtual store. Although many companies think this is virtual retailing, it is the weakest application of it. And of all five of the categories explained, this is the one that offers the lowest level of engagement.

Why? Because a really crucial point with virtual retailing is this – if the experience and process is better delivered via another channel (such as an e-commerce website) then whats the incentive to use virtual retailing? If theres no added value in place, then its highly unlikely to be a revenue stream worth pursuing for the foreseeable future.

Disappointingly in this context, the attributes of virtual worlds (collaboration, interaction and on-the-fly customisation for example) are not being maximised (or even considered in some instances) and the perception that the ?¢‚ǨÀúcoolness of having a ?¢‚ǨÀúvirtual store is sufficient to drive response and sales. I would argue that this is a short-term strategy with limited upside for real world brands looking to penetrate the virtual retailing marketplace.

Interestingly, static merchandising in its execution is actually ironic. Why? Because virtual worlds are 3D environments. Displaying a real world picture in a 2D picture format is an under-utilisation of available resources.

Here’s some examples of Static Merchandising.


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Continue reading “A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 2 – Static Merchandising” »

Too Fast, Too Curious. Cars in Second Life part 2

There are more unofficial cars in Second Life than official ones – this is the case not only with the automobile sector but with most other product categories.

So what do the real world brand owners do when they see their products recreated in virtual worlds? The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management explains the options available.

Shown below is a selection of the virtual cars created in Second Life by metabrands such as MH Motors, ACC, EM Cars and Fox Motors. Can you spot the odd one out?

Part 1 is here.

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second-life-cars6.jpg Continue reading “Too Fast, Too Curious. Cars in Second Life part 2” »

A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 1

‘Virtual retailing’ is a buzz-word being used a lot at the moment.

But what exactly is it? In its base form, virtual retailing is defined as ‘using a digital virtual environment to facilitate and create a purchase’. However, as about to be explained, virtual retailing has several facets.

Here are the K Zero definitions of the different types of virtual retailing….

1. Metabrand pureplay

This refers to the process of selling virtual products in a virtual world. In this instance, there is no link or reference to a real-world product. In fact, there is no real world product at all – the offering is purely virtual addressing a consumption need purely in the virtual space. The terms Metabrand and Metabranding were invented by K Zero and now commonly used to describe virtual products.

Importantly, with metabrand pureplays, the purchase transaction occurs in-world, not via a website. And, the purchase mechanic is instant. No logging into an account (because you’re already logged in). Gratification is instant too – in this scenario, the product is delivered instantly. You pay, you get.

And at present, it’s the owners of virtual worlds that are enabling and providing this instant payment mechanic. However, it will not be long before real world financial services companies want a piece of this action.

Some might think that metabrand pureplays are niche in terms of the types of products available in a virtual world. Not so. In Second Life alone, there’s almost 250,000 individual products or sets of products available for purchase. And these products cross several different categories. The graph below (data sourced from SLExchange – explained later) shows at a top level the categories containing virtual goods in SL.

virtual-products001.jpg Continue reading “A buyers guide to Virtual Retailing. Part 1” »

20 trends defining virtual worlds – Techdigest part 1

Techdigest did a good job in live-blogging the recent Virtual Worlds Forum event in London and (like most tech-based media outlets) appear to be devoting more column inches to the metaverse space.

Of course, there’s a lot of land-grab going on at the moment, everyone keen to position themselves as thought-leaders in this sector. Techdigest has just published their ’20 trends defining virtual worlds’, basically a summary of some of the key drivers and hot discussion points. Full article here.

Here’s their first 10….

1. Shedloads of virtual worlds will be launched in 2008. I guess that depends on the definition of shedloads. There’s certainly going to be a few – and I’d hazard a guess that some of these will fail. The K Zero presentation from Virtual Worlds Fall covers the important elements critical to new world growth, falling into the market development, product development and diversification categories.

2. Teen-focused virtual worlds are huge. Indeed they are. And the residents of worlds such as Club Penguin, Habbo and Whyville are the leaders of tomorrow in terms of virtual worlds. K Zero forecasts for 2008 growth of these worlds (and others) can be seen here. As I write this post, two of my three boys are logged into Club Penguin and number three is wrestling to kick them off.

3. Brands still get it wrong. True dat. However, some brands are getting it right and for (almost) every brand making mistakes, there’s another one creating success. Let’s not forget here that Second Life gets the lionshare of media attention. Brands are present in other words as well and doing well. Projects involving There, Kaneva and Whyville (to mention just three) are worth reading. Two key things to remember when considering virtual world marketing: The importance of having a plan and using media planning to determine the right world for the brand, product or service.

4. There’s a problem with communication. This refers to the terminology used to describe and explain metaverses as opposed to in-world comms. I’d agree that there’s a lot of terminology but a necessary ‘evil’ (probably too strong a word) bearing in mind that technology is the backbone of these worlds and the sector although still small, is growing in several different directions.

5. There will be big growth in corporate use of virtual worlds. Totally agree. And, already there’s some major companies promoting the use of virtual worlds for corporate use. However, it’s still surprising how many large companies prevent access to virtual worlds from the desktop. For my money, 3D intranets (intraverses) will be a key growth area, particularly for companies with operations in more than one country.

6. Virtual items will be a big moneyspinner. Techdigest is refering to Metabrands. For companies looking to generate revenue streams from marketing activity in virtual worlds, metabrands are the way forward

7. Mobile is a bit of a wildcard. I see mobile devices being used to supplement, not complement virtual worlds. The key problem here is size – screen size – the lack of it. As we’re seeing with projects like Vodafone Inside Out, it’s possible to use mobile devices to create and offer augmental services for virtual activity.

8. Governments are waking up to virtual worlds. This is true in several areas. Government organisations are starting to use worlds like SL for marketing purposes (the Second House of Sweden for example), as well as for candidate promotion and as ‘outposts‘ for debate. Some of these debates have turned a little feisty.

9. Is it an online game or a virtual world, or both? A good point. By definition, the vast majority of virtual worlds are not games, they are environments. Games need rules, have points and winners and losers. However, some worlds are being created that combine both elements – these are called Metammogs, Football Superstars being a prime example.

10. China is getting into virtual worlds. Of course, we know about HiPiHi, the Chinese equivalent of Second Life. The Chinese government is currently planning the Bejiing Cyber Recreation District.

PlayStation Home delayed, but Dress is revealed

PlayStation Home delayed, but Dress is revealed. The official launch of PlayStation Home has been pushed back to Spring 2008. However, Takamasa Shichisawa (Tourist Trophy Director) announced an upcoming expansion pack called ‘Dress’ at the recent Tokyo Game Show.

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Dress provides the facility for avatars to customise their appearance with branded clothing. Within Home itself there will be four Dress zones:

  • Dress Town: a retail themed environment allowing avatars to shop for items
  • Dress Studio: the area where avatars can try on the clothing, adjust it and even create their own brands
  • Dress Museum: an area dedicated to the history of clothing as well as media showing fashion in movies
  • Dress Park: the location for planned fashion shows and the place where avatars can swap items

So why introduce this service? Continue reading “PlayStation Home delayed, but Dress is revealed” »

Millions Of Us discuss virtual brand management

Millions Of Us discuss virtual brand management. Today at 6pm GMT/10am PST I’ll be joining a panel to discuss how real world companies can protect and management their brands in a virtual environment.

The event is being hosted by Millions Of Us and the other panelists include:

No brand is an island

No brand is an island. In metaphoric terms in the real world, of course, no brand or organisation can afford to be an island.

In other words, almost by definition, brands in any market place have to have outward personality in tune with their customers and prospects as opposed to having an isolationist character. Why? Because companies want relationships with their customers and to have a relationship, the attitude and tone of a brand combined with the levels of service and touchpoint experiences combine together to form an opinion and perception in the minds of their stakeholders.

So how does this translate into a metaverse environment?

On a literal basis, 73.3% of the real world brands in Second Life decided to start their virtual world existence on a dedicated island as opposed to locating on the mainland or third-party venue. The (updated) brand map clearly shows this preference.

Continue reading “No brand is an island” »

Exploring Metabrands: Amaretto

Exploring Metabrands: Amaretto. Lux Yao is a metabrand owner. She owns the women’s fashion line Amaretto (SLurl). In this series of exploring Metabrands, K Zero asked Lux some questions to get an understanding of her brand.

1. When was Amaretto created and what prompted you to start?

Amaretto was opened on Easter of this year. I had been flirting with the idea of starting my own store, when I found storefronts for rent in the Barcelona del Oeste sim. Before that, I had looked in other places, but never felt they were right. I rented a shop right away, without a single design in my inventory, and promised to open in 30 days.

Continue reading “Exploring Metabrands: Amaretto” »

Real advertising for Metabrands

Real advertising for Metabrands. As someone that used to run an ad agency, I’m particularly interested in the concept of virtual goods advertising. After all, (just like in the real world), companies rarely sell their products without promoting them first.

In Second Life, and undoubtedly other forthcoming worlds with economies, people (will) create Metabrands and merchandising platforms (such as shops) to sell them in. And again, just like in the real world, products span a very wide range of categories.

One sector which is probably the largest in fiscal and transaction terms is fashion. And, a trend observed has been created by the emergence of specialist media publications to cater to specialist interests. A great example of this is Second Style magazine.

For any media planners/buyers out there, the CPM’s for this type of publication are excellent, but more about Second Style in the near future as this post is about advertising.

So, what outlets like this and others like The Avastar have created is a platform for advertising into tightly defined audiences. Below are some examples of recent adverts in these publications. What’s important to point out here is the art direction – it’s an extremely high standard and comfortable at a higher standard than you would see in a lot of other real world publications.

But hang on a second, these adverts are real world. They are magazines/newspapers available in-world but also downloadable as PDFs from their website. The line is starting to blur…..

Read more about Metabrands here. Continue reading “Real advertising for Metabrands” »

Phat Cats, phat traffic

Phat Cats, phat traffic. Although not the single most important metric when measuring the performance of activities in virtual worlds, traffic/footfall, i.e. visitors, is still an important statistic because it indicates the popularity of a venue.

Recent posts have shown how music is an integral part of the virtual world experience and creating a shift away from listening the music privately to enjoying genre-based music with others. The Phat Cats Romantic Ballroom is a great example of creating a genre-based venue in a virtual world with music (jazz) acting as the catalyst for popularity – Phat Cats is consistently one of the top twenty most frequented venues in Second Life.

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So, this place is popular because it facilitates two things – dancing and music and is an example of how virtual worlds are used in a social connection sense, in this content with the ability to slow-dance with your partner. And for those of you that think this is a pretty strange thing to be doing in Second Life, I suggest you click here and see how popular it really is.

Continue reading “Phat Cats, phat traffic” »

Exploring Metabrands: Second Analytics

Exploring Metabrands: Second Analytics. When it comes to measuring online activity, I love metrics, and so it seems to do a lot of other people. So much in fact that a new Metabrand is on the scene – Second Analytics. This product has been designed specifically for (primarily) island-owners to track, measure and analysis what visitors are doing on their islands.

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Here’s a Q&A with Henrike Bosbach, Marketing Director of Second Analytics.
1. In one sentence, what is Second Analytics?

Second Analytics is the state-of-the-art Second Life analysis tool to analyze all your activities in Second Life. See how people find, navigate and convert on your sim. Second Analytics keeps you updated about any important information regarding your Second Life operations at all times.

2. What are the metrics that it assesses?

Visits (Inner/Outer), Unique Visitors (Inner/Outer), Conversion rates, Average Duration of Stay, New vs. Returning, Second Life Map Overlays, Real Life Geo Location (Country, City), Sim Performance Tracking, Campaign Module, Data Export and many more. Continue reading “Exploring Metabrands: Second Analytics” »

Armani to create virtual store (to join all the others)

Armani to create virtual store (to join all the others). Several reports are circulating that Giorgio Armani will shortly be launching a virtual store in Second Life. The SL launch is being tied into a wider strategy to implement e-commerce solutions across the Armani brand range.

So, an interesting initiative here. One has to assume that Armani will be recreating popular real world clothing and accessories inside a virtual shop. Nothing new here really.

But, what’s interesting is the fact that you can already buy many Armani branded clothes in Second Life already – unofficially. Several SL stores (45 in total) promote Armani products. Here’s a few screenshots.

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Here lies the decision (or dilema) for Armani – what to do about the unofficial representation. This post explains the five options facing Armani, Ignore, Remove, Observe, Endorse and Engage.

Coca-Cola, trademarks and brand advocacy

Coca-Cola, trademarks and brand advocacy. A story that has gained much coverage in recent weeks is the case involving Coca-Cola and a well-known Second Life content creator, Vint Falken.

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The story relates to a Coke-themed outfit made by Vint. There’s been much discussion about the use of registered trademarks on an unauthorised basis – this being the most prominent to date. The outfit, available to buy in SL, was also promoted on SLexhange (a website for retailer in SL). The outfit was originally removed from this website in light of trademark infringement (apparently a decision made by SLexchange, not Coca-Cola). Then, SLexchange released the following:

‘We have spoken to Coca-Cola and they have released their trademark to SL Merchants. Therefore, any of your items that were disabled on June 7, 2007 have been retrieved.’

Quite a turn-around.

So, is this a sign that real-world brands are simply giving up trying to police their brands in virtual worlds? Not at all. There’s a far more strategic reason for adopting this strategy. The reason behind Coke’s decision was originally explained in the K Zero Luxury Brands case study back in March 2007. Here is an extract from this case study. Continue reading “Coca-Cola, trademarks and brand advocacy” »

Starfruit – crossing the divide

Starfruit – crossing the divide. We’re getting floral today. Starfruit is a Swiss-based company that has recently launched a cross-world service from Second Life into the real world. The company allows residents to send real flowers and chocolates ordered inside SL.

Here’s how it works…

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So, an early, good example of v-commerce. The K Zero report, the Seven Point plan for marketing in Second Life highlights the importance of integrating real and virtual world activities – a primary way of creating synergy between activities.

Starfruit is adopting this approach well and is also using dedicated Sl media channels such as The Avastar, to promote the service. Here’s a print ad from Starfruit:

Continue reading “Starfruit – crossing the divide” »

First examples of integrated marketing for Second Life

First examples of integrated marketing for Second Life. In the 7 Point plan for marketing in Second Life, the importance of cross-promotion is identified and discussed. As real-world companies and brands begin to promote their virtual presences ‘out of world’, we will see more examples of integrated marketing techniques used to drive traffic in.

For Metabrands, this is not a new phenomenon and why should it be? Using combinations of media channels to support a singular campaign objective is a tried and testing marketing tool. An example of Metabrand integrating marketing in shown below – a (virtual) print ad for Casu Capra, a mens clothing store in Second Life, published in the Avastar.
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One of the first examples of integrated marketing promoting Second Life is Microsoft Visual Studio. This article provides an assessment and explanation of Visual Studio Island. Microsoft have used online advertising (banner ads) to communicate and promote their presence in Second Life, to good effect, across a range of category specific websites. Here’s the banners.

Continue reading “First examples of integrated marketing for Second Life” »

A key moment for Metabrands?

A key moment for Metabrands?: Products created purely for virtual world consumption, Metabrands, are a key growth area in Second Life.

This is driven by a soon to emerge trend by real world brands to realise that virtual world revenues will not be created by simply re-creating real world products. Instead, virtual world brand values (and subsequently real world) will be enhanced by creating products specifically designed for metaverse usage.

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Media attention and other coverage is currently being directed at Elexor Matador Jewelry, an in-world creator and store owner (here’s the Slurl). She is selling ten limited edition unofficial Cartier Himalia jewelry sets at L$10,000 each (?Ǭ£20 / $38) – signicantly higher than normal pricing levels in Second Life. Similiar products in the store retail at the L$250.

Continue reading “A key moment for Metabrands?” »

Exploring Metabrands: Mystitool

Exploring Metabrands: Mystitool. Starting this series of examining Metabrands in Second Life, the first purely virtual brand under the spotlight is called Mystitool.

Interestingly, unlike a lot of the products available to purchase in SL, Mystitool is itself virtual – you don’t really see it. It’s operated via a HUD (a heads up display) placed in the main application window. So, Mystitool is a virtual virtual brand.

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Think of Mystitool as your Swiss Army knife for Second Life, or maybe Batman’s Utility Belt. It’s an application that sits quietly in the background during in-world visits that quickly and easily enables a variety of useful tasks (in a useful if you’re in a virtual world type way) to be performed.

Importantly, these tasks are only of use to people when they are in Second Life – a key attribute for Metabrands. So, what does Mystitool do? Here’s some of the features:

  • Teleport history: access to your last 36 teleports
  • Avatar scanner: proximity alerts for residents close-by
  • Favourite locations: quick access to 45 places you like to visit
  • Quick rez: allows instant creation of chairs/tables or any other object
  • URL catcher: stores all URLs mentioned during chat

and many others.

The Mystitool story

Behind every brand is a person, and the person behind Mystitool is a resident called Mystical Cookie. Interestingly she never expected or planned to get involved in SL until she realised she could build and create things, objects, and eventually products in SL. The ability to be creative was the driving motivator. Mystitool came about after buying her first plot of land and learning a few scripting techniques. As she continued to teach herself techniques in SL and having to use commands over and over again, she realised it would be useful to have instant access to scripts and other little programmes to have her life easier. In April 2006, Mysti started to create the application, so to get it to the level of functionality it has today has taken 10 months of continual development. Continue reading “Exploring Metabrands: Mystitool” »

The rise of the Metabrands

The rise of the Metabrands. Firstly, an explanation of what a Metabrand is.

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‘A Metabrand is a brand that is created to exist solely in a virtual space. It lives only on servers, is powered by electricity, experienced only on a computer screen and serves to provide a service, solution or product to avatars living in a metaverse. A Metabrand satisfies a demand that exists purely on a virtual basis.’

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Metabrands are the next commercial opportunity for companies made possible by the growing popularity of virtual worlds such as Second Life. This is because economy-based virtual worlds need to supply services to their residents because there is a demand for them. And where there’s a demand you will sooner or later get supply.

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But what’s wrong with real world brands becoming virtual brands?

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Nothing. As long as the real world brand gets their strategy right. Companies that enter virtual worlds have to plan their initiatives carefully. This means understanding why they exist in the real world. The services they provide, their points of difference, the problems they fix and the experience they deliver. Basically their brand attitude. Successful virtual marketing means being able to leverage their real world attributes further using the opportunities and capabilities of a metaverse. If companies can make their services better/easier in a virtual world or enhance their real world activities by augmenting virtual worlds into the real, then they can have meaningful and (eventually) profitable Metabrands. Continue reading “The rise of the Metabrands” »