10 ideas for brands to try out in Second Life

November 1, 2006

I love Second Life. I mean as a concept, I don’t spend much time in it I just have a nose around and what’s being developed, but conceptually it’s a great idea and I can see it becoming a hub of online activity for a huge part of the online community before long. I’m certain that the web will move to a more immersive experience before long and artificial worlds seem a natural progression for many services we all use online.

So here are some ideas I’d like to see come out of it. Most of these will probably happen in some form, even if only as a viral marketing piece (some are a bit unlikely, but you never know). And don’t shoot me down if some have already been done, I didn’t know…

  1. Retail – imagine a virtual music store where you could browse the shelves, listen to songs, view videos, buy MP3’s, download posters ready to print and in the same trip to the store communicate with other users and people who work there to find what you’re looking for. Not that far-out! I reckon this will happen before long. Books, clothes (dress up virtual characters before buying) and anything else could sold in virtual stores quite easily.
  2. Games arcades – walk in (virtually), pay your Linden dollars and play the latest arcade games. This could be done right now with downloadable games, but as bandwidth and computing power increases there’s no reason why you couldn’t play a virtual copy of the latest EA game in virtual comfort in your Second Life world.
  3. Speed dating – okay, a bit of a jokey one, but it could work! Virtual speed dating, if someone set this up as a business in Second Life they could make a lot of Lindens 🙂
  4. Project management/consultancy – this is most probably being done already. With so many marketeers wanting to get their brand into Second Life it would be a really good place to position yourself as a consultant able to get them started and point them in the right direction for help and development. Call me an old hippy but a co-op approach of consultants and designers offering Second Life services could be a powerful thing!
  5. Takeaway – so you’ve spent all day shopping in Second Life, and now you’re playing games in the arcade, but you’re getting a little peckish… Just nip round the corner to the local Second Life Domino’s and order a pizza for delivery to your home (real home not virtual). As people spend more time in virtual worlds this seems a natural thing to move into for the major takeaway businesses who operate online as well. Thinking about it, why not in console games too? When you’re hooked up to Xbox live and playing GTA wouldn’t it be nice to order a pizza without having to pause and use the phone…
  6. Adult services – again most likely being done and I just haven’t delved deep enough 😉 Virtual strip joint anyone?
  7. Fashion shows – as the graphics get better and the realism improves then why not show your latest collection virtually (and then sell it to people in your virtual store).
  8. Car showroom – get a virtual look inside that new motor you’re thinking of buying. Again as graphics, realism and computing power improves why not test drive the thing?
  9. Learning – virtual schools, workshops, conferences and demos. These could all be a lot more interactive using a virtual environment.
  10. Travel – someone should arrange virtual itineraries around Second Life. Great for n00bs (like me) and if done by someone with an exisiting real world travel brand it would be great PR and a chance to acquire some new customers/prospects.

That last one (travel) can apply to most industries. There’s an opportunity to be the first in your field to get into Second Life and from that you can derive a load of brand equity and a great chance to acquire new prospects.

The list could have been much longer, there are so many ideas that could transfer to Second Life in some part, either as a new channel to market or purely a great viral marketing exercise. Large brands are moving in to the virtual world every day, don’t get left behind. There’s such a huge buzz surrounding it at the moment that now is the time to stake your claim to a piece of land and increase your brand awareness online!

Edit: Should have mentioned the social networks! MySpace, Bebo etc surely must be watching Second Life with interest and before long you’d expect to see some way of relating your Second Life character with your social network profile! Surely that’s a given??

All ideas above copyright 23Musings 🙂


2 Responses to “10 ideas for brands to try out in Second Life”

  1. Jonas Says:

    Many, if not most of these are being done already. Some examples:

    American Apparel has a clothing store with links to their web-based store.

    The Life2Life store allows you to search and buy items from Amazon.com.

    Many consulting companies are cropping up, the most well known are Aimee Weber, The electric Sheep Co., Rivers Run Red, and Millions of Us. According to Business Week they make deals up to $400,000 – $1,000,000. It’s too late for the hippies, the VCs are already there!

    Adult services supposedly constitute ~30% of all SL business.

    Fashion Shows and fashion in general is a big business in SL, though only a few examples have a tie to a RL business (see American Apparel, above).

    Car Showrooms – Nissan, Toyota, Pontiac all have a presence in SL.

    Lots of educational institutions ar e using SL for presentations and in-world classes. One class at the Harvard Law school can be attended in-world, for example.

    Travel. Check out Synthravels and sign up for a tour of the virtual world of your choice.

    The challenge right now is to bring in your brand in a way that doesn’t fuel the growing backlash against companies coming into SL not fully understanding the environment, its culture and values.

  2. Steve E Says:

    Thanks for the comment Jonas! Just goes to show I need to spend some more time exploring Second Life!

    I did think a lot of those may be underway already but not the amount you suggest.

    Thanks for links too!

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