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Project Two: Marketing Analysis

Page history last edited by Joe Essid 11 years, 11 months ago


When I first began to explore SL in 2007, there was a bit of a "gold rush" by real-life companies there, and it turned out to be fool's gold, mostly. Companies like American Apparel, Pontiac, and Scion found there was little return on investment for showing their wares or making copies for avatars.  Still, other companies stuck around, with projects like those at Dell's site (where you can explore the interior of a computer).  Other firms use SL for what it does best: provide a meeting space that seems more intuitive than video conferencing.  IBM continues to invest heavily in SL for this reason.


Your Goals:

  • Conduct multi-media rhetorical analysis by looking at how firms use image, word, and 3D presence to sell a product or service
  • Reason your way to a formal thesis, supported with secondary claims and sources
  • Begin to integrate sources into academic writing in a graceful way.



Each group will be assigned two companies: in two cases, one of the firms does business in SL and outside it, while the other provides virtual goods or services only in the virtual world.  You can visit the sites with a click below (if you have SL open).  I'm only giving Web pages for companies' work in SL. Obviously, Dell and IBM have giant Web presences for their real-world services and products.  While that information may provide some company background, it does not necessarily help you to see what they are doing in SL.  You will do  research on the real-life company's current ideas and marketing using UR's library databases. 


Group 1 (Technology): Dominus Motor CompanyDell Computer (check Dell's site on their SL project as well)


Group 2 (Technology Services): IBM (also visit their Web site for SL projects) and Rezzable's Greenies (also visit their Web page)


Group 3 (Lifestyle--both have no "real world presence"): Bliss Garden Center (landscaping and design) and Mischief (clothing).  Note that Janie Marlowe runs a men's shop too--you'll find a way to visit it just outside the ladies' shop).


Each group will divide up the three tasks below. Share information you find with your entire group; each of these tasks can overlap another:


  • 1) What is the first impression that the two firms want to make to a potential customer?  Is that sustained or not as you explore their property in SL and any Web materials they provide?  Why or why not?
  • 2) How does an SL-only company's approach differ from what a firm might offer in our world?  Which company's approach seems more reasonable and appealing, considering the target audience?
  • 3) What type of appeal do the firms employ for promoting themselves: emotion, logic, or customers' prior knowledge and respect for the brand? Which appeal worked best for you at each firm, and why?
  • Everyone should consider this as well: What will keep a customer "coming back for more"? Hip brands, after all, "sell themselves," so their identity counts...new brands have to establish this "ethos" in some manner. Maybe this is why Pontiac's now-defunct "Motorati" seemed staid and relied on fond memories of old GTOs and Firebirds, while Scion must capture the imagination of those who do not know the brand yet.


Each writer's project must:

  • Focus on his or her task primarily.
  • Include at least three snapshots, one with the avatar at the site, two others of aspects of the location that illustrate or support a claim you make. All photos must be discussed in the text of the writer's project
  • Be at least 1000 words long
  • Include source citations in MLA format with a Works-Cited List at the end.  Each writer should employ at least three outside sources (one may be from the real-life company's Web site) and integrate them gracefully, when quoting or paraphrasing. One source must come from the Boatwright Library's Business Resources Page. All sources must be cited as close as you can to the format given here.


Final Advice to Avoid Panic:

Never fear if you find nothing about an SL-only company in the library's databases. For instance, a paper from group 1 might use materials about Scion to consider how its marketing differents from the empirical & anecdotal evidence (see WA pages 117-118) you find at Dominus' location in-world. 

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