I'm blogging this from the Hilton in Chicago while sitting in the Business Track session with panel speaker Michael Donnelly, Marketing Director of The Coca-Cola Company.
My first comment on this is THANK YOU!!!!
Finally a company who gets it. And not only do they get it - they are acting on it. This will hopefully smash the rumor mills and give a big middle finger to the speculators. I'm so glad someone has finally stepped up and said "are experience in Second Lfe was a complete success, we had a clear short term plan and it did not include the purchase of a sim".
Some of the key points in the presentation
1. Community Involvement - Michael literally goes out himself and attends meetups, second life events like slcc, this going over the top and beyond just being involved with social networking etc.
2. The importance of an Integrated Marketing Plan - All I have to say is WooT - this so nicely complements my blog post ranting Chris Anderson's pulling out of SL. As I've said time and time again, and was even taken by Mark from Sentient, "If you can't drive a stick don't blame the car".
3. Long Term Plan - if you don't have one don't buy a sim. Come on folks the "build it and they will come" day is over. It's more then a great build - of course that may help the aesthetics but it can't be your sole project or even the highest on the list.
4. Listen and Communicate with the community, not at them. - This is just great. Getting in and being involved in the discussions. Coke came in and has encouraged the pre-existing merchandise and branding that the community has already brought in. That's viral in the works - don't go in and stop it. Yes I know there are some legal implications to this - but thank you for getting it and letting us continue our creativity and seeing it as a benefit.
5. Strike a balance between Art & Science - Again just great. I've seen amazing work directed from one or the other but the importance of incorporating both is so seeing the bigger picture.
Overall having the largest worldwide brand "get it" is what we need. Thank you Coke for taking the time to step up and say it loud and proud. This may just be the turn around of the Second Life negativity bus. Although in the elevator on my way to the panel I ran into a hotel guest asking me "what is second life"? Before I had a chance to answer her husband spits out "you know the virtual world with the falling economy that's getting all the bad press". Not exactly what you want to hear in the elevator, but I guess it's better then cheesy music. All in bad press is still press.