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October 04, 2007

Some notes after the Virtual Worlds Session@PICNIC Amsterdam

Posted in: Virtual worlds, Marketing & media, Events, Second Life

Last week I was part of a panel discussion about virtual worlds at PICNIC in Amsterdam. PICNIC is one of the biggest cross media events/seminars in Europe with a very impressing lineup (ranging from Mr Sir Richard Branson to yoga guru and activist Woody Harrelson).

We recorded the audio for an nice podcast but it seems the output from the audio mixer was far too low. I will try to fix the audio, but let me just share my notes:

Jack Myers, author of the book “Virtual Worlds: Rewiring Your Emotional Future” talking about how Virtual Worlds are becoming an embedded part of our culture. Jack discussed how marketeers unfortunately try to bring their traditional marketing models into a changing media landscape. He stated that those marketeers need to rethink what they are doing and come up with new models for marketing, with a much more customer approach. Marketeers, CEO’s and other decision makers are in that sense confused and overwhelmed by the new media opportunities but are not changing their scope. This has leaded to marketing and branding initiatives in virtual worlds that focussed on experimenting and learning but not actually implementing and making true emotional connections with a community. Jack pointed out the importance of understanding virtual worlds and stressed that particularly virtual worlds for tweens offer huge opportunities. This age group is growing up with virtual worlds, online and serious games and online communities, which demands a radical reorientation for marketeers.

You can download Jack’s presentation here

David Burden of Daden discussed what happens when video games meet Web 2.0 and virtual worlds meet geospatial maps of the planet? David discussed the Metaverse Roadmap and stressed that the internet is mainly about Information where virtual worlds are much more about Experience. The ROI should therefore be more defined along the lines of creating experience and engaging your audience. David also showed some interesting forcast stating we will be moving from a media/social space to a transaction space, a entertainment space and ultimately into and agent space and a dream space.

Download Davids presentation here

After these two presentations there was a panel discussion with André Rotte (Vice-president, Philips Design), Nicole Yershon (Director, Innovative Solutions, Ogilvy Advertising) , Ilja Linnemeijer (Senior Manager, PriceWaterhouseCooper) and undersigned. The main outcome of this panel discussion was that Second Life was clearly overhyped but that we need to start understanding that virtual worlds are here to stay. That virtual worlds are about conversation, about interaction and about social experiences and that we need to forget traditional values like traffic.

It is much more about 1-to-1 communication, feedback and engagement. Virtual worlds will be a great and very important new channel for communication and branding that need to be considered there where it fits the product and the goals of a campaign or a company. An interesting remark came from the audience, where someone stated that she was happily surprised to discover that her 8 year old son learns a great deal about social behavior and group processes, skills she notices he then also uses in ‘real life’.

Once again, I will try to fix the audio and publish it if I succeed….

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