5 Rules of
A KZero Worldswide report
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 1
2 008 can officially be called the ‘Year of the
Metaverse’ with virtual worlds such as Second
Life, Stardoll, Habbo and WeeWorld attracting
millions of new members and many real-world
For brand owners in 2009, virtual worlds present
a new type of marketing opportunity.
But, with opportunities come challenges. For
many brands considering a virtual world
marketing strategy, the first decision they have to
make is how to manage the unofficial
representations of their products already present
in these spaces.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand management
explains the options available to marketers.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 2
What is a virtual world? However, as the chart below left shows, other regions
and in particular Europe, have embraced Second Life.
The World Wide Web as we know it today consists of In late 2006, Second Life resident numbers broke
static 2D pages. You visit a website and read/watch through the 1m mark, helped by signiﬁcant media
the information or media presented on it. Virtual coverage. During 2007, resident numbers grew by 1m
worlds (metaverses) are diﬀerent. per month and now (Jul 2009) the total number of
They are digital 3D environments accessed in real- registered accounts is over 19m.
time that allow people to explore, examine and However, even greater growth has been observed in
interact with the objects created within the world and virtual worlds catered towards younger audiences.
importantly they allow people to interact together in a Stardoll for example, has over 34m accounts, Barbie
shared collaborative space regardless of their Girls over 10m and IMVU over 39m. Appendix one
geographical location. shows the KZero universe graph, an illustration of the
Second Life was the ﬁrst glimpse into the future of the size and range of virtual worlds available.
Internet, a future of ‘Places, not Pages’. However, other
Using Second Life as an example, as explained in the
virtual worlds such as There, Kaneva, Stardoll and
following sections, the unique characteristics of a
many others are now available for marketers in this
typical resident has expedited the take-up, and the
range of diﬀerent countries represented.
Why are virtual worlds growing?
Who is a typical resident?
The most popular commercial metaverse to date,
Second Life, is a global application, meaning that Second Life is not a gaming application. There are no
anyone can become a resident. Initially, North America scores, no ‘lives’ to protect, no objectives and no end-
drove take-up due largely to the fact that the result.
company behind Second Life, Linden Lab is based in
Comparison has been drawn to World of Warcraft, an
extremely popular MMOG (massive multiplayer online
game) but the only real similarity is the fact that they
Rest of World are both virtual worlds.
US Importantly, whereas the average age of a Warcraft
37% player is 17, for Second Life, the average age is 32. It is
this fact which stimulated the interest in major brands
to consider entering Second Life. Below (next page) is
Europe the age range spread for residents.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 3
The graph below shows the regional breakdown of
fashion-themed world Stardoll.
Rest of World
Also of note and further interest to brand owners is
the fact that females account for 45% of users. A 43%
surprising, yet valuable piece of information. So, a Canada
combination of the average age and gender ratio has 4%
made brands realise that there are beneﬁts to be
reaped by developing metaverse marketing strategies. KZero has in-depth data and research available for a
wide selection of virtual worlds and is best-placed
Further analysis of the demographic proﬁle of to make media planning and virtual world selection
residents reveals that these people reside heavily decisions for marketers across the world.
within the Innovator and Early Adopter groups.
It will not be long before virtual world marketing
Pre-December 2006, Innovators were the main types initiatives are promoted in TV, print and other
inside Second Life, but, as explained by the Rogers mediums as promotion and then cross-promotion
Technology Adoption Curve, Innovators act as a initiatives are used to attract as many visitors as
catalyst for Early Adopters. Whereas Innovators are possible.
very keen to trial new technologies, they have local
social networks. There are even newspapers and magazines available
now purely for virtual news stories and worlds. One
The media landscape example is the Avastar - a metaverse red-top
newspaper available via website and in Second Life.
Second Life aside, marketers now have a wide range The newspaper (published two to three times a week)
of options available to them. And, importantly, has stories about the latest virtual developments and
traditional media planning techniques can now be just like real media, oﬀers advertising space.
used to select the most appropriate virtual world for
the marketing objectives.
Diﬀerent worlds have widely diﬀerent resident bases
from a geographical perspective as well as diﬀerent
age ranges - as demonstrated by appendix one.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 4
Deﬁning the Marketplace As explained in the following sections, a proportion of
these products are in fact virtual copies - unoﬃcial
Before we start looking at the options available to replicas of real world brands created within the
marketers in virtual worlds, it’s important to identity permission of the legal owner.
and size the marketplace to determine which types of A question you may be asking yourself now is:
products (and therefore brands) are actively sold in
metaverses and the size of this market.
‘Why do people actually want to
In terms of total ﬁnancial transactions in Second Life, spend money on virtual goods?’
on a daily basis over $1m (real US dollars) is
exchanged between parties involving over 12m The answer to this question is the primary reason for
individual transactions. explaining the major opportunities presented by
It is diﬃcult to obtain further detail on speciﬁcally metaverses. A virtual world is full of diﬀerent people,
what is being bought, however it falls mainly within diﬀerent sexes, ages, genders and ethnicities.
two categories - land and products. In terms of To demonstrate the current size and future growth of
estimating the proportion of these transactions the virtual goods sector, shown below is the latest
involving unoﬃcial brand products, estimates put this KZero revenue forecast for this sector.
in the 3% - 5% range.
Focussing on the product category, the chart below
shows data obtained from SLexchange.com, a website
that allows Second Life sellers to promote their
creations. At the end of Dec 2008, over 200,000
diﬀerent products were available on SLexchange - a
Just like in the real world, people don’t want to all
look the same - they want to create a digital identity
that reﬂects their real world person or demonstrates
how they choose to visualise their avatar.
Very shortly after an account (avatar) is created, the
owners of the avatar wants to customise their
appearance, hence the demand (and therefore supply)
As shown above, the Apparel and Avatar Accessories of virtual items. Many avatars then go on to purchase
categories are very well represented in Second Life. land (if the virtual world permits this). This then
Between them there over 100,000 diﬀerent products explains why people also require items related to
available on SLExchange. housing - their virtual house.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 5
Interestingly (and of interest to brand owners of category a little further, over 47% of this product
female products), within the Apparel category, over group reside in the Jewelry and Watches category -
70% of the products available are for women. So, often copied in Second Life. Here is the breakdown of
clearly, females are more likely to be interested in this group.
purchasing virtual clothes.
The graph below shows the breakdown of the over
51,000 Female Apparel products available in Second
Unoﬃcial brand examples
This section will clearly highlight the need for
marketers to implement a policy of virtual brand
So, the top three categories of Women’s Apparel
products available via SLexchange, are Dresses, Outﬁts In Second Life the most likely way for people (avatars)
and Footwear, accounting for almost 30,000 products. to ﬁnd shops selling products is to use the built-in
search functionality. Quite simply, you access the
Looking at the Men’s Apparel segment, the graph
search box and entry a description of what you are
below shows the approx. 11,000 products available.
looking to ﬁnd. The result is an alphabetical listing of
the areas/shops/stores in Second Life that have
‘tagged’ their venue with the same words used by the
So, for Men’s Apparel, shirts are clearly the most
popular and as explained in later in this report, there is
a high level of unoﬃcial brands in this sector.
Within the Avatar Accessories category, there are also
over 30,000 individual products. Breaking down this
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 6
The graph above (previous page) shows the number Now, for an unoﬃcial example. This next store was
of results shown when entering a selection of real found by searching for ‘Adidas’ in the search box. The
world brand names. search result returned displayed this venue as ‘Adidas
and Nike Sneaker store’.
What this graph is telling us is that there are over 450
diﬀerent places in Second Life promoting the word Shown below is the interior of the shop. Several
Nike, for example. Nike does not actually have an diﬀerent real world brand products are available for
oﬃcial presence in Second Life. purchase. Adidas has its only section.
In fact, the only brands shown in the graph that has
an oﬃcial presence are Adidas and Armani. To
highlight the scale of unoﬃcial brand activity, there
are 248 unoﬃcial Adidas venues! This statistic is a very
clear signal that real-world brands need to pay
attention to activities taking place in virtual worlds
involving real products.
Let’s compare the oﬃcial Adidas venue with an
unoﬃcial one. The two pictures below show the
Adidas virtual store, on Adidas Island in Second Life.
Rather than show the virtual product recreated as
done at the oﬃcial venue, this shop shows the
products as 2D images on wall displays. Here’s the
Shown above is the interior of the oﬃcial Adidas store,
complete with company branding, merchandising and
of course products. Shown below is the main shoe
sold in the store, the Microride.
This style of displaying products is very common in
Second Life. Other than displaying the logo of the
brand, very little other consideration is giving to
thecorporate identity of the brand in question.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 7
Also of interest here are the selling prices for these But is choosing to Ignore really an option?
products. In the oﬃcial store, the Microride retails for L
$50 (about 18 Cents or 10 pence). Simply turning a blind eye to unoﬃcial virtual world
activity has several consequences.
The unoﬃcial store shown above retails their Adidas
Too many companies are devoting signiﬁcant amounts
shoes at L$200 (70 cents or 35 pence). An interesting
of eﬀort and money in virtual worlds for them to be
variance to consider and one explored further in this
considered insigniﬁcant. Couple to this the proﬁle of a
typical resident (already explained) and the
Time to explain the 5 rules of Virtual Brand population numbers and growth, already in the
Management. millions of users globally and the decision to ignore
virtual worlds becomes a poor decision.
1: Ignore Market intelligence
Virtual worlds are a fad and the Importantly, valuable market intelligence is
people that live in them are weirdos completely lost if a brand chooses to ignore metaverse
activity. This is not only research into how their brands
Well, you can make your own mind up on that one. are being used but also a loss in intelligence on what
the competitors are doing in virtual worlds.
However, some brands may choose to simply ignore
the presence of their products in virtual worlds. This is particularly important in categories that already
have adopted virtual worlds faster than others.
This decision might be made because the brand Companies that are already engaged in metaverse
manager has insuﬃcient knowledge of virtual worlds activity are harvesting data, insight and market
and therefore is unable to make an informed decision research not only about their competitors but also on
about a strategy, so in this instance the option is to how the marketing initiatives they are using are
ignore. actually performing.
Secondly, the concept of ‘No such thing as bad
publicity’ may also be present. Of course, if people in
virtual worlds are choosing to purchase branded items
then at the very least they are selecting the brand
Thirdly, the decision might be made because very few
companies actually generate a revenue stream at
present from virtual world activities. Therefore, virtual
trademark infringement is not stealing an actual
revenue stream from the brand. If the company is not
present them there’s no revenue stream to protect.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 8
Shown above (previous page) is the timeline for regulated corporate identity guidelines. These
Second Life entry from the Automobile sector. As guidelines are created to ensure the correct usage of
observed, several brands entered in a short space of logos and typefaces associated with a brand, not only
time, each new entrant learning from the others. for internal use by also use by third parties such as
So, from a competitive positioning perspective, the advertising agencies, partners and media outlets.
strategic position of a brand is weakened if activity is Brand guidelines cover platforms such as email
ignored in virtual worlds. communications, signage, brochurewear and
websites. Well, virtual worlds are simply another
Undesirable associations and locations channel where guidelines have to be catered for.
It’s important to remember that virtual worlds mirror A main reason for this is the ease in which a brand can
the real world in many ways. One similarity is real be brought in and displayed in Second Life.
estate and the concept of shopping. Products available
for purchase in virtual worlds such as Second Life are It’s a very straightforward process involving the
typically displayed in constructed shops or shopping uploading of a jpeg containing the logo (for example)
malls. and creating an object with the logo showing on it as
a texture. This object can then be made into virtually
Shops in Second Life are either rented from real estate any shape, size or colour.
owners or purchased outright and then developed.
However, the owner or renter of the shop only has But, it’s not just limited to logos and brand names.
control over the content displayed on their own land - There are many products actually recreated in Second
they have no powers over what happens on land Life in 3D done so without brand approval. Again,
surrounding them. This means any type of product, ignoring these activities means closing the door on
service or establishment can be experienced directly how people are using valuable real world brand
by someone in close proximity to the real world brand assets.
displayed in the virtual space.
To illustrate, an avatar could be looking at a virtual
We came, we saw, we deleted
watch unoﬃcially displayed in a shop and then walk
next door into a virtual strip club. Sex in Second Life is Taking steps to get unoﬃcial brands removed from
as popular as it is on the World Wide Web. The key virtual worlds once they have been discovered is
here is for brands to manage this exposure. Ignoring probably the ﬁrst decision considered by brand
the presence of their brands in metaverses means they owners.
have no awareness of potential issues such as these.
After all, their brands are being used without their
Brand guidelines permission, which, in the real world is an illegal
Companies spend billions of pounds developing their activity.
corporate identities and building their brands. As
There’s also the lack of control to consider and
such, most brands adhere to tightly deﬁned and
potential in-correct guideline usage. So, for some
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 9
companies, it’s the right decision to remove unoﬃcial below shows the search results returned from a search
brands. Here are some other reasons that could lead for ‘Oakley’.
Reviewed and removed
The metaverse sector is a very new channel and on
this basis, not all companies beneﬁt from entering in
the initial stages of the platform.
This might be because the audience of Second Life is
the wrong target market for the brand or product in
question or any other marketing-led reason.
In any event, following a review, in some instances a
brand may opt to remove unoﬃcial brands in virtual
worlds in order to totally remove all brand-related
presence: the Control - Alt -Delete approach.
Pre-campaign brand sweep-up
Using a real-world analogy, if you’re expecting guests
at home, you usually tidy up beforehand.
In the content of virtual world activity, is makes a lot
of sense to have a thorough audit of unoﬃcial brands
prior to deploying an oﬃcial campaign.
Oakley is not currently oﬃcially in Second Life,
This clears the way for the approved project to enter however, if they were implementing metaverse
the metaverse knowing that the only way avatars will activity, they would have to address the results of this
come into contact with the brand will be via oﬃcial search.
The ﬁrst 11 results when searching for Oakley refer to
This option not only applies to removing the presence virtual stores in Second Life using ‘Oakley’ as a word
of logos and branded items but also to the use of tagged against their land (store).
tagged words and phrases often used by retailers in
Second Life to promote unoﬃcial brands. People are using this word to attract visitors to their
stores who are seeking Oakley branded glasses. As
These keywords are used to drive the search mechanic shown, some of these shops are attracting signiﬁcant
in Second Life which is usually the ﬁrst method traﬃc levels.
people use to ﬁnd things. To illustrate, the screen grab
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 10
Brand consistency during campaign sending a message to Linden Lab via right-clicking
the object in question via the in-world navigation.
Real-world counterfeiting typically takes place when Once this report has been sent, the report should then
brands launch new products and services and new be followed up.
demand chains are created as a result.
Of course, another way of attempting to remove items
The same principles apply in virtual worlds. On this is simply to contact the owner of the item via an
basis, a brand owner may take the decision to remove instant message.
unoﬃcial versions of their products whilst they are
running sanctioned metaverse activities. 3: Observe
Removal process Look and Learn
When a brand owner ultimately decides to remove
A lot can be learned by studying how brands are
unoﬃcial representations of their goods in Second Life
created and used in Second Life. This is particularly
(speciﬁcally), there is a clear removal process to be
true as virtual worlds are only starting to be adopted
followed once the items in question have been
by real world companies and thousands of individuals
already have the upper hand in terms of
Firstly, Linden Lab (the operators of Second Life) has a understanding how people interact in these new
policy for trademark infringement, as follows: environments.
‘Linden staﬀ generally removes content that uses For companies not concerned with the presence of
trademarks without apparent authorization, with or their brands being shown unoﬃcially in Second Life,
without giving notice to the object owner. This generally an excellent ﬁrst proactive approach is to closely
includes all RL corporate logos and brand names.’ watch how their brand is presented. This is a ﬁrst-
hand technique to gather market research.
It is often diﬃcult to tell what may or may not be
trademarked. However, use of designer logos and How the brands are created
brand names without permission, such as Gucci, Nike,
Louis Vuiton, etc., are usually not acceptable. Companies can learn a lot by studying how people
choose to create their brands in Second Life. One thing
So, although Linden Lab acknowledges and sets out a that will become extremely clear is the diﬀerent ways
procedure for dealing with trademark infringements, they are created.
what is clear is that they do not pro-actively seek to
locate items in Second Life. This therefore means that For some brands, their logo’s have just been very
brand owners do need to conduct audits in the ﬁrst simply pasted onto existing designs such as t-shirts
instance. and bags. Here is an example of this quick and dirty
Once the owners of the unoﬃcial branded items have Other people in Second Life have gone to greater
been identiﬁed, companies then need to submit what lengths to recreate brands. And, for these creations,
is known as an ‘Abuse Report’. This method involves
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 11
the length of time taken to produce them can range So, observing how brands are recreated in virtual
from a few days, to several weeks if not months. worlds can greatly assist real world marketers in better
understanding how the platform can be leveraged.
Here’s a selection of objects created in Second Life to a
very high degree of realism, without permission. How the brands are presented
Of course, once someone has created a brand or
product in Second Life, they need to then provide the
platform to display it. And, again, in many ways,
virtual worlds mirror the real world.
For example, many car brands are copied in Second
Life by unoﬃcial avatars. These items are oﬀered for
sale in virtual dealerships/showrooms.
Some people have even modeled virtual world
creations entirely and accurately on real world brand
venues. Probably the best example of this in Second
Life is an unoﬃcial Apple store. The venue in question
is actually a near clone of the real world Apple store
on 5th Avenue, NYC.
Visitors to the real world NYC Apple store would soon
realise that this is a pretty good replica.
So what can be learnt from this type of activity?
Firstly, retailers can learn about traﬃc patterns - do
avatars move around stores in the way way that they
do in the real world?
Do diﬀerent conﬁgurations make a diﬀerence? What
are avatars attracted to? And a key beneﬁt of using
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 12
virtual worlds for this type of research is that changes With the still relatively low-cost of items in Second
can be made instantly at virtually zero cost. Life (average price 1 USD, GBP 0.50), most avatars
have inventories full of diﬀerent products.
Secondly, marketers can learn about how their
customers interpret brand values in a virtual space. From a clothing perspective for example, one area that
After all, all creations in metaverses start from would beneﬁt marketers of these types of products
nothing. People that create unoﬃcial brand presences would be the way avatars change their clothing for
start with just an idea and from here then visualise diﬀerent events or purposes.
these thoughts. It’s a useful insight into the minds of There is a rather large community of music lovers in
their customers. Second Life across many diﬀerent genres. One of the
The way that products are presented in virtual worlds most popular genres (due to the proﬁle of a typical
will be an interesting space to monitor over the next resident) is Jazz and there are several virtual jazz clubs
few years. As shown below, the virtual MacBook’s on across Second Life.
display are sat on virtual tables - but why should What’s interesting at venues such as the Phat Cat’s
they? Jazzy Blue Lounge is that avatars here tend to dress
up, into tuxudos and ball gowns - not the typical attire
you would see in most areas in-world.
Taking another category, Automobiles, a question to
be asked here is what do people do once they have
For example, these products could simply be
suspended in mid-air - because in virtual worlds you
can do that.
Alternatively, why not enlarge the products to an
unreal size, this allowing avatars to see the design and
features on a more detailed basis.
Most people tend to teleport or ﬂy around virtual
How brands are used worlds and there is not really a road network that
Perhaps one of the most useful beneﬁts of observing So perhaps they are bought simply as trophies, placed
virtual brand activity is more to do with the consumer statically outside virtual houses on virtual driveways.
of the product rather than the creator.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 13
4: Endorse Leveraging the brand
Give them an Inch... :) One such example of a real world brand endorsing
unoﬃcial activity is the case of Vint Falken and the
Putting an oﬃcial stamp of approval on unoﬃcial Coca-Cola outﬁt. Vint is a Belgian-based resident of
virtual world activity might at ﬁrst seem like a strange Second Life who created a outﬁt featuring Coke
decision to make. However, as this section will branding without their permission.
demonstrate, this policy opens more doors than it
The act of endorsing unoﬃcial brand activity in virtual
worlds basically means acknowledging that the
activities are taking place and making a clear
statement that the company allows it.
One very obvious beneﬁt to endorsement is instant
access into virtual worlds. A typical development The item in question was promoted on
lead-time for a commercial project into Second Life is SLExchange.com for a period of time until she received
three months. By opting to approve existing products, an email from them informing her that the outﬁt was
immediately the brand can claim to have a virtual in violation of Coca-Cola’s trademark policy and had
world presence, at zero hard cost. been removed from the site. So, a company making a
decision to remove an item from Second Life.
Also related to this option is the issue of acceptance in
Second Life. Much has been written about some of Shortly after the removal Vint received another email
the commercial projects in Second Life which were from SLExchange stating:
not fully accepted or appreciated by the web-savvy,
“We have spoken to Coca-Cola and they have released
their trademark to SL Merchants, Therefore, any of your
Endorsement bypasses this issue because the brand items that were disabled on June 7, 2007 have been
existed prior to commercial attention. retrieved...”
But it’s not just instant access in terms of having an So, by Coca-Cola opening up the usage of the
oﬃcial virtual world presence. Arguably more trademark in Second Life, not only have they
important is the instant access to statistics and positioned themselves as a progressive company but
research relating to the brand. A fair trade-oﬀ for real more importantly they can now see the diﬀerent ways
world brand owners should be access to this in which people use their brand in virtual worlds such
information in return for the usage endorsement. as Second Life.
Real world activity integration
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 14
Another concept to be considered when thinking has a series of islands in Second Life under the banner
about Endorsement is the Sponsorship approach. of ‘Motorati Life’.
Inside virtual worlds such as Second Life is a thriving
number of communities. These communities are
typically interest-led and the people involved with
these groups use virtual worlds to complement their
interest in the various interests.
It’s important here to remember that these enthusiasts The islands are themed inclusively around the world of
in many cases are interested in a particular topic Pontiac cars with features such as a racetrack with
regardless of the platform. regular races, monster trucks and various other car-
Taking formula one racing is an example, their are
several venues in Second Life (oﬃcial and unoﬃcial) Taking this approach has created a venue dedicated to
built around the concept of racing. people interested in the brand with many diﬀerent
ways in which fans can interact. The concept is directly
Brands related to this category could quite easily lend advertising the speciﬁc products is not a primarily
their name in a sponsorship environment to these objective in this context. Instead, the models facilitate
establishments. interaction and provide a platform to do other things.
5: Engage A similar approach this time in a diﬀerent category is
the the initiative by the NBA. The NBA has created a
Give, then you will receive
destination for basketball fans complete with video
The most collaborative approach when considering and news feeds, interactive games, a virtual store and
how to manage a brand in a virtual world is a game arena.
Engagement. As explained in the following sections,
this approach can yield signiﬁcant upsides. Engaging for NPD
What does Engagement mean? Who better to steer the future of a brand in a virtual
world than the people who are already shaping it?
When a company discovers that their brands are being
used unoﬃcial in virtual worlds, engagement relates Probably the largest opportunity for engagement is
to an approach of actively working, collaborating and the concept of actively allowing people to create new
opening a two-way communication channel with the products related to the brand, thus harnessing the
creators of the unoﬃcial products. knowledge, creativity and know-how of the brand
Engaging to grow communities
A great example of engaging communities in Second Although this is a new ﬁeld in marketing, there are
Life is taking place in the automobile sector. Pontiac already some early examples of this approach in
Second Life and other worlds.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 15
Both Pontiac and Toyota encourage visitors to their
virtual venues to take their models and create
customised versions of them.
Shown below is Scion City, the venue promoting the
Toyota Scion range. Part of the venue is the Owners
Showcase, an area completely dedicated to car
creations made not by oﬃcial Toyota designers but
instead, simply people interested in the brand and
willing to make their own versions. The Virtual Thirst challenge is an example of
leveraging the values associated with a brand in the
real world and facilitating new product development
in a virtual space. Taken from the supporting website:
‘Imagine a world in which a simple vending machine
could dispense - not Coca-Cola - but the ESSENCE of
Coca-Cola: reﬁnement, joy, unity, experience.
Well, we know this vision can become reality in Second
Life, and we’re looking for everyone with ideas for such
As a consumer, being able to have your own creation as experience to submit their design. To our advisory
featured and promoted by a major brand is a powerful panel, the quality of the idea and the possibility for
concept, and one that greatly assists the advocacy felt exhilaration are more important than the visual
towards a brand. Here’s one such example, the execution displayed in the submission documentation.
Cowboy Car on Motorari. 3D professionals, existing Second Life residents - and
ﬁrst life submitters have the same opportunity to win’.
In return, the real-world brand owner gets terriﬁc
insight into how their customers interact with and So, what Coke has done here (assisted by Crayon and
view their products. Millions Of Us) is create a competition (with a L$
500,000 ﬁrst prize) that is eﬀectively allowing
residents to take the Coke brand and create completely
new interpretations of an existing product - the
So, as shown in this section, brands can enter virtual
worlds without necessarily having to recreate their
real world brands. Instead, a key option for
consideration is to openly Engage the audience
residing in metaverses such as Second Life.
Coca-Cola is again a good example of virtual brand
management, this time from an Engagement
perspective as opposed to Endorsement.
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 16
Virtual worlds are becoming more arguably their most important
popular than ever with todays asset, their brand.
consumers and this trend will KZero works with global brands
continue to grow at a rapid rate. to provide cutting- edge
This trend is not just being seen in marketing initiatives in virtual
‘grown-up’ worlds such as Second worlds.
Life but also in metaverses aimed
towards younger demographics
such as There, Habbo, Stardoll and
Real-world brand owners now
have a new channel to assess and
consider, metaverses. And,
without direct involvement, many
brands already have virtual world
presences without the permission
of the owner.
This means that brand owners
now have to strongly consider the
concept of virtual world brand
management in order to future
proof, position and protect
The 5 Rules of Virtual Brand Management : A KZero Worldswide Report. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 17