Market Truths Study Reveals 60% of Second Life Users Positive About Corporate Brand Presences in the Virtual World

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Study shows strong positive link between Second Life presence and "Real World" brand perception for The Weather Channel, Reuters, Pepsi and IBM.

Market Truths, the leader in market research within virtual worlds, announced today the results of their second corporate brand perception study, Real Life Brands in Second Life (Q3 2007). The most rigorous study of its kind, it reveals that the majority (60%)of Second Life residents welcome corporate brands and believe that brands will bring with them significant benefits for the virtual world.

The results were presented today at the Virtual Worlds 2007 conference in San Jose.

The study measures the attitudes held by consumers who actively participate in Second Life toward brands' activities within Second Life. It also examines the effects on the overall "real world" brand perception. Of the twenty-four companies that achieved a high level of unaided awareness among study participants, The Weather Channel, Reuters and Pepsi top the list for positive brand perceptions.

From its study data, Market Truths also calculates a "brand impact metric" showing how a brand's Second Life activities influence overall brand attitudes. The data shows IBM, Nike and Dell are having the greatest positive brand impact with their virtual world activities.

"Brand perceptions are being shaped and impacted even though they may have no official presence in Second Life, as is the case with Nike and Pepsi," said Mary Ellen Gordon, president and founder of Market Truths. "This is due to brand fans in Second Life who are creating or purchasing content inspired by those, and other, brands."

Comparing data from the same study done in the first quarter of 2007, brand perceptions are improving, with positive attitudes up from 49% in Q1, to 60% in Q3.

"There has been a significant shift among residents toward the potential of brands to generate benefits rather than a fear of hurting smaller business owners or content providers," said Gordon. "But it's important to note that this shift is likely due to the growth and composition of the Second Life population and doesn't necessarily reflect a change of attitude by individual residents."

The potential benefits residents see coming from brand involvement include more resources, better infrastructure and more realism to the Second Life environment. Potential negative consequences include upward pressure on land prices and the potential for greater regulation, among others.

Based on the study findings, Market Truths identifies specific implications for corporate brand marketers. "Our research suggests there are significant corporate opportunities in Second Life. Brands should not limit their thinking to strictly promotional activities nor should they overlook the softer (quantitative) metrics when measuring an activity's influence," says Gordon.

The study is based on survey data and statistical analysis. Participants were drawn from the Market Truths Second Life Research Panel members. The study methodology is detailed at the end of the report.

The latest report conducted in August is available at the Market Truths web site, as is the previous study conducted in February:

About Market Truths

Market Truths is a "real world" market research company and the first company to conduct commercial market research in virtual worlds. The company conducts both traditional market research as well as virtual world research with avatars. They publish several standard reports on various aspects of Second Life. Market Truths is the winner of the Edelman and Electric Sheep Company Second Life business plan competition. The company is headquartered in New Zealand and serves clients worldwide.


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Mary Ellen Gordon

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