Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, online advertising, online community, trends, virtual worlds, web business

Virtual Worlds Forum Blog » Blog Archive » Top 10 takeaways from the first day of VWFE 2007

10. Virtual worlds set up by toy manufacturers.
Another point from Lord Puttnam’s keynote, casting doubt on whether it’s such a good idea for toy firms to be launching their own virtual worlds – Mattel (with Barbie) and Lego being two examples. The idea of child entertainment funded by toymakers isn’t new (He-Man and Transformers, anyone?), but Lego’s Mark William Hansen had an elegant and considered response, pointing out that a virtual world launched purely to sell products is bad – but that kids will see that most quickly, and desert it.

Virtual Worlds Forum Blog » Blog Archive » Top 10 takeaways from the first day of VWFE 2007

I completely agree with this.  The first question that that needs to be asked when the topic of a virtual world (or any community initiative) comes up is “Why do we need/want it?”  It is the job of the web strategist to find the root of the request and to deal with the answer frankly. 

If the goal of adding community is to increase sales of offline product alone, community is probably not the correct strategy.  Starting a community is difficult work, maintaining one is even harder.  And there are risks involved that have to be dealt with in much more faster and comprehensive ways than just releasing a press release.

If the goal is, rather, to engage your audience in a very personal way with your brand and/or product, then you are starting on the right foot.  Sure, selling products is a fine goal, it’s the easiest way to sustain the community and makes complete sense, especially if the community is involved in some way.  But it shouldn’t be the primary goal – if it is, there are easier ways to achieve it.

Creating a community or virtual world is not a small decision, nor is it a finite decision either.  It’s funny to me how the enormity of a concept diminishes when the words become more common.  “Community” and “World” are BIG concepts – they are (or should be) big strategies for a company to adopt as well.

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Joi Podgorny has spent the better part of the past 2 decades working on the bleeding edge of the technology and entertainment industries, from content/brand development and production to leading international support, moderation, community and social teams. Most recently, Joi founded Good People Collective, a consulting agency focused on helping companies and organizations establish, assess and pivot their internal and external cultures to help maximize their potential. She and her team are currently working on an exciting new software project, combining corporate training and virtual reality.

6 thoughts on “Virtual Worlds Forum Blog » Blog Archive » Top 10 takeaways from the first day of VWFE 2007

  1. Hmmm… I wonder if the same applies to worlds which perpetuate the sale of virtual items through microtransactions? Seems to me that we should look at the sale of items on an equal footing, whether real or virtual. If that is the case, how should we then monitize the community? Without product sales this leaves advertising and sponsorships as the principal revenue source. Yet, there appears to be equal opposition to this model.

    The assumption in the background is that VW brand engagement is more powerful than typical marketing through classic media. But, I don’t believe this to be a given. I see this as a temporary phenomenon as we begin to become exposed to this form of advertising. I can imagine the power radio had when the public turned to their favorite Green Hornet show and heard the airtime favorite endorse a product.

    We too will become accustomed to such engagement as it becomes more prevalent. The challenge to the toy companies will be to remain true to their communities and keep the brand image aligned with their online strategy. When the community starts to get the impression that they are not receiving value for their engagement they will abandon.

    I can’t wait to see what Lego is coming up with!

  2. 1. The air is going out of the virtual wodrls bubble.2. Various nouveau standards efforts are collapsing because of their inability to agree to IP participation conditions. Greed is a disabler.3. More announcements of language-agnostic universal clients (may be the best compromise in the near-term for authors and technology owners). Smart implementations that are win-wins are enablers.4. Increased use in language standards with new research coming online justifying existing standards. (Reinventing the wheel is still an disabler).5. More applications in the local room space (eg, Facebook). When blended into the global space (Google Earth, Virtual Earth), a possible grass roots unification by address.

  3. / Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was waitnng to know your situation; we have created some nice procedures and we are looking to exchange strategies with others, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.

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