Unofficial brands in SL no.1: Apple
Unofficial brands in SL no.1: Apple. Attempting to leverage brand advocacy is a key objective for the companies already in Second Life. What SL brings to the table is the platform to create engaging customer experiences and an interaction in a brand, product or service at a higher level of involvement than a website.
Peeling away some of the layers of SL reveals some interesting activities relating to brands and more particularly brands UNofficially represented. This means residents are going to considerable lengths to create virtual representations of the brands they like….or in some cases, must even love.
So is this good news or bad news for the brands in question? On the one hand, many brands have unofficial representations in SL. The companies in question therefore have no control over the appearance, positioning or usage of their products – in a way, they are bootleg products. The downside’s here relate to the lack of control over what appears in SL carry a brand name or a logo.
But is this bad news? Not really. Firstly, they are getting free advertising and promotion within SL. Secondly, perhaps a measure of the strength of a brand can be based (in the context of SL) on the number of people willing to re-create their products in their own time at their own expense. These people are truely brand advocates and I predict a growing trend with metaverses for companies to actually encourage the unofficial representations of their products.
The first case in hand is Apple. Apple currently does not have an official SL presence. A big apple fan in SL has built a virtual Apple Store, modelled on the Manhattan shop. It even comes complete with a working glass elevator and a Genius Bar. Genius.
Here’s the Slurl for the Apple Store