Capstone Project Example: Virtual Brands

Introduction

A virtual world can be defined as a three-dimensional and computer generated environment, which seems to be similar to the real world. It is multiuse and is usually connected to the internet. The virtual world is developed to offer entertainment online, and as a platform used for social networking by users. Experts have considered online virtual brands as a technology that has substantial future importance for online marketers. Most big firms in the world today are using virtual brands to advertise their products.

After James Cameron released the epic movie “Avatar”, he put virtual marketing square in the sights of big companies like McDonalds. This has led to other brands such as Coca-ola, Major League Baseball, Well Fargo and American Cancer Society to use the virtual realm to get to potential support and customers in novel ways. This has caused traditional media to capture less attention from the younger generation (Tuten 2008).

Background on virtual worlds and their implications for brand and marketing

There is a small, but growing literature that examines the use of online avatars marketing. The term avatar means descent. The word usually implies a deliberate descent into the mortal realms for special purposes. Avatars, on the Web, can be described as graphical representation of characters. Avatars are used in various applications that include chat, blogs, instant messaging, virtual communities and games (Dasgupta 2010).

Virtual world avatars is defined as a three dimensional anthropomorphic presentation of people that include paraphernalia and in-world behavior, which is used for the purposes of interacting within virtual worlds. There is enough evidence that virtual presentations and avatars have a very important role to play in the marketing world.

Virtual worlds can be said to be a phenomena because they provide different kinds of marketing experience in a single channel. Virtual worlds are designed to entertain customers, and to ensure that they are engaged in a wonderful experience. If a number of senses are used in this experience, it makes it to be more effective (Castronova 2005).

Current situation of virtual branding

The previous model of virtual marketing put companies at risk of getting lost in a landscape that expanded rapidly. However, that is not the case today as companies are coming up with their own virtual worlds. This will make their product be the centre of attraction in the virtual world. Virtual brands have gained a lot of hype due to the huge commercial success that “Avatar” experienced. However, a few companies will try to hold on and refine the virtual technology. This is despite the companies having a hype driven enterprise after the great enthusiasm for a product-centric virtual world goes down (Dasgupta 2010).

One of the sole survivors of this will be the Multiverse. This is because the company’s management tapped to work directly with the Avatar digital plan of marketing directed by James Cameron. Multiverse usually develops online worlds for private clients. The company also takes on a client’s full branding. If the company’s laudatory write up in everything as planned is any indication, Multiverse will be considered one of the giant names when the second wave of new enthusiastic companies come to the fore. Most major brands are using virtual world marketing. These include Calvin Klein, CNET, Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Philips and Sony (Tuten 2008).

Conclusion

Virtual branding could be the next channel for advertising. This is because when blogging came on the scene, most people dismissed it as a fad. However, many companies closely monitor blogging. Virtual worlds could be the next medium for advertising.

References

Castronova, E. (2005). Synthetic worlds: The business and culture of online games. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Dasgupta, S. (2010). Social computing: Concepts, methodologies, tools and applications.
Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Top of Form
De, M. A., & Palgrave Connect (Online service). (2008). Brand avatar: Translating virtual
world branding into real world success. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bottom of Form
Tuten, T. L. (2008). Advertising 2.0: Social media marketing in a Web 2.0 world. Westport,
Conn: Praeger.

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