Nu RL PR HQ in SL
Public relations agency Text 100 — who came number 9 among tech consultancies in PR Week’s top 50 last year — has opened an office in the virtual world of Second Life, a project built out by the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog). “Does this mean we could become the ‘preferred virtual supplier’ to anyone holding a launch or PR event in Second Life!?” muses Text 100′s Adrianne Kern. It would seem the opportune time to open a PR agency devoted to virtual campaigns. Text 100′s office is not exactly that, but it is more evidence of how much potential (too much?) people see in in-world promotions these days.
Sheep BizDev VP Giff Constable (aka SL’s Forseti Svarog) quotes Text 100 exec VP George Kolb, who says on the firm’s blog that SL “offers interesting new possibilities for education, innovation, collaboration and marketing. E.g. we will use our Second Life office for internal trainings where we can make our best trainers better available globally. Using the three dimensions of the virtual world we can also enrich any kind of online meetings for our clients. E.g. they will be able to use our office to hold press conferences. Or they could use it to solicit feedback on a new product design from users. Or they could pull a global work group together to hold a workshop in an inspiring environment that could be entirely customised for the topic being discussed. The possibilities are virtually (!) limitless.”
Indeed they are, but I think Kolb hits it more on the head when he says, “We view virtual worlds like Second Life as the next stage in the evolution of peer-to-peer media like blogs, wikis, social networks and other online forums.” That’s a great take on virtual worlds, one that makes perfect sense to me. Like MySpace, the power of virtual worlds, and SL especially, is in how easily you can express yourself there, not in a vacuum but in connection with other people. (To that end, Text 100 is apparently preparing some kind of social-networking game for visitors to their island, which will open to the public the week of August 21, but I don’t have the details on that at the moment.)
Text 100 claims to the first public relations agency to establish a presence inside Second Life. Among PR agencies with a RL presence, this may be true, but it’s important to note that there are already a handful of virtual PR agencies in existence, i.e., small firms and independent promoters who exist nowhere else but the virtual world. Text 100 is presumably shooting for real-world fish, though, and not the “local” businesses that virtual PR firms serve. What will be interesting will be to see whether an in-world presence helps Text 100 win real-world business. Their island, in any case, should be impressive, if it’s anything like the one created by the Sheep for the New Media Consortium, which is a truly jaw-dropping build.
Giff sent me a few pics of the Text 100 sim, which looks equally cool: