Remember Second Life?
Several years ago a great deal of money and time was invested in Second Life, the online 3D virtual world. While SL certainly had its proponents, it never really took off the way its greatest advocates hoped it would and it’s now become but an afterthought. There are of course ways to use Second Life outside of how many marketers once conceived.
Business to business marketing firm The Scott & Miller Group has used Second Life to help the Dow Chemical Company plan and design a customer hospitality and business center at the 2009 National Plastics Exposition tradeshow in Chicago. The agency built a virtual replica of the 36,000-square-foot ballroom, including customer center walls and furnishings, and applied a variety of graphic theme approaches. Clients were able to log-in to Second Life and, using avatars, walk freely around the virtual room to evaluate layout and design.
“Given the size and various functions of the room, we needed a tool that would help everyone visualize the possibilities,” said Tom Leinberger, owner and president of The Scott & Miller Group. “The ability for clients to ‘get inside’ and explore and our ability to make design changes on the fly kept everyone focused and streamlined the review and approval process.”
Leinberger admits virtual worlds are not the right fit for all businesses, but the popularity is growing. “Companies and organizations are using virtual worlds today to communicate with stakeholders through customer events, training programs, and collaboration sessions. When you have access to a dynamic medium like Second Life which combines social and visual components and can help achieve resource and cost efficiencies, it’s reasonable to assume many more companies will be incorporating virtual world activities into their integrated marketing communications strategies.”