Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Metabrands: Serious Games Demanding Meaningful Brands

Virtual Worlds challenging companies to make their services better

Via: K Zero - The Rise of the Metabrands

A Metabrand is a brand that is created to exist solely in a virtual space.

Metabrands are the next commercial opportunity for companies made possible by the growing popularity of virtual worlds.

Companies that enter virtual worlds have to understand 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.

Perception of Brands in SL

I had previously addressed this challenge in my post Virtual Worlds and Corporate Governance , as you may find below:

“An increasing number of tech leaders who think Second Life could be a gold mine, are foreseeing a sizable business and advising clients on how to take advantage of them to market or sell products.”

"However, as I more and more often make the transition between virtual and real worlds, back and forth, I’m becoming aware of the fact that not necessarily my values as a customer keep pace with these fast, frequent moves."

"Once I've designed myself, I could walk around the virtual world and even fly. I see the world on my screen from the vantage point of my avatar. If the Web offered people the liberation of communicating with almost anyone, Second Life gives us the chance to meet people in wildly varying contexts, and do it in a body we created. In marketing terms I could eventually call this experience extreme customization".

"An anecdotal example would be my acquisition” of a Nissan Sentra, in SL. It only took me a few minutes to get the code, define specs and start driving my car. This experience, at a cognitive level, has probably raised my expectations concerning future purchasing decisions in real-life."

I could relentlessly provide other examples of most rewarding virtual world experiences, which would not be easily “teleported” to our First Life.”

Existence Strategies

According to K Zero, there are some good reasons for having a purely virtual Metabrand.

Firstly, because you can. And, you have none of the constraints put on real world brands. There’s no geography, no supply chains to manage, no cashflow issues, no production problems.

Secondly, virtual worlds are creating completely new demand chains to satisfy. These new services, required by residents are not required in the real world - there’s no need to have a real world presence to manage and market them - it’s done virtually.

Thirdly, control. Virtual spaces are blank canvasses. The creation of Metabrand identities and values is limited solely by what is possible in a virtual world - and that’s a lot.

Fourthly, a Metabrand has none of the baggage or companions that comes with a real world brand. There’s no history - the future of the Metabrand is completely in the hands of the owners.

About K Zero

Founded by Nic Mitham in 2006, K Zero is a metaverse consulting and implementation company providing marketing solutions in virtual worlds.
K Zero site showcases sand explains some of the Metabrands already in existence as well as provides strategic insights into the benefits of creating Metabrands and how they can be created.