Brand Perception in Second Life

Well, folks, CBNews and Reperes have released a study on the perception of real-world brands in Second Life and the consensus is in: either they like you, or they just don’t care.

I’ve always been a big believer that professional-quality content serves a very important purpose within a largely user-generated world like Second Life, just like films are still very important even though there’s a wealth of UGC video out there. And I love to be proven right, because then I get to do a “happy happy, joy joy” dance around the lab while everyone else looks on in bewilderment and awe.

And I just got done doing one of those dances because, as it turns out, about half of those people surveyed said that they want MORE real-world brands within the virtual world and 66 percent said that they think real-world brands have a positive impact on Second Life. That’s right! They like you! They REALLY like you! Well, except for the 42 percent that really didn’t have an opinion one way or another, but still. Dance time!

It turns out that residents seem to enjoy real-world brands within Second Life because it makes SL more RL (RL makes SL more RL?). Or at least 24% of those who wanted more brands said that. About an eighth of them said that it was actually beneficial to the world. And it seems that they want more IT brands (13%), more clothing stores (11%), and more cultural brands (10%).

That being said, though, residents seem to be having a hard time remember brands without prompting. The top brand for spontaneous awareness was Adidas at 19 percent, follows by IBM at 18 percent and Nike at 16 percent.

Other interesting facts beneath the jump:


For any brand looking to get into the world, make sure you have a good real-life public relations representative. A whopping 40% of respondents in the study said they found about specific brands in Second Life through real-world media. This number was followed by 30% who found out about RL brands in Second Life through word of mouth within the virtual world (So, note to self, hire both in-world and out-of-world PR reps), 29% that found out through the search function in SL, 20% that found out by search for a RL brand’s island, and 18% that found out through blogs. Have you hugged your public relations agency today? You might consider it.

The study was conducted among a little over 1,000 residents within the virtual world, about half of them experienced players and around 42% of them beginners in the virtual world. The nationality breakdown for respondents is pretty similar to the stats Linden Labs has released about its user base, with 24% being American and 12% being French.