Virtual Worlds are a significant new market environment for brand-building through experiential customer service interactions. Using value theory, this paper aims to assess the experiential brand value of real-life brands that have moved to the Virtual World of Second Life. A key premise is that current brand offerings in Virtual Worlds do not offer consumers adequate experiential value. The results demonstrate both the validity of an axiological approach to examining brand value, and highlight significant problems in consumer perceptions of the experiential value of brands within the Virtual World. A key finding is the difficulty in creating emotional brand value in Second Life which has serious implications for the sustainability of current real-life brands in Virtual Worlds. The paper rounds off with conclusions and implications for future research and practice in this very new area.
Mattsson, J., Barnes, S., & Hartley, N. (2015). Assessing the Value of Real-life Brands in Virtual Worlds. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 92, 12-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2014.10.017