Themes underpinning digital branding

MACE Congress 2008
Patrick Collings Sagacite Brand Agency
Stellenbosch 15 - 17 October 2008



The flow, not the contours The art of gliding 15MB is the new 15 minutes Our virtual reality Reassembling the fragmentation

The flow, not the contours

from mainframe to desktop to internet

internet explorer rapidly losing ground to firefox

myspace sharing social networking with facebook and others

mainstream media battling bloggers

traditional blogging sharing space with micro blogging

altavista was king before google, will cuil manage to dent the colossus

understand where your market is going and why it is going, but appreciate that the vehicle for getting there will probably change

The art of gliding

you are not inyou think you are control even when

GM’s Chevy Tahoe SUV

video clip of user generated tahoe “commercials”

today, everyone can be a director

video clip of user generated polo “commercial”

collection of guinness ads

video clip of non-sanctioned guinness ad

“... they have to keep on consistently building their brands equity so that when a potentially damaging piece of communication does filter out into the world, their brand is strong enough and their consumers are savvy enough to understand its source is the public domain.”

your brand does not need you to be online
others will put it there





watch it

increasingly need to be there


engage, or not


don’t fake it

don’t box the demographic


= soaring + gliding + influencing

accept the loss of complete control and become part of the experience and conversation

15MB is the new 15 minutes

video clip of ad men employment ad

ipod photo by Вася Артёмов (

as a society we are becoming more visual
“video beats pictures beats text” - 2008 report

what sort of numbers are we talking about

five billion
videos serves each month by youtube

44 percent
of all online video consumption

in the U.S.A.

embedded video clip of instructional video

what about the news media

news media is promoting video offline
south african media organizations developing plans with vide as an integral offering



you have to be seen

integrated part of brand communication

parts are greater than the whole

must entertain

we will increasingly tell our brand stories in video and need to weave our brand inextricably into the frames of the video

Our virtual reality

video clip of avatar in second life

video clip of sony home virtual world

aren’t these just

video games

1 players build their own worlds 2 players own what they built 3 players sell what they own 4

players create their own stories

By 2011, 80% of active internet users will have an avatar
Gartner Consulting

your kids probably already do

webkinz clubpenguin zwinky neopets imvu barbiegirls gaia habbo redlightcenter kaneva second life

unique US visitors in Sept 07, in millions

the virtuality of second life introduced the reality of avatars to adults

from september 2006 to june 2008, the number of second life members grew from 800,000 to 14,000,000

they came

they played

during the same period the number of simultaneous second life users grew from 10,000 to 65,000

1,000,000 to 2,000,000

they paid

in the space of 18 months the average value of transactions per day on second life went from $500,000 to between $1m and $2m*
* Figure estimated

32 45 32
average age % females avg hours pm

US Europe Japan Brazil Canada 29,000 27,000 17,000 160,000


Most Active Avatars in SL by Region - December 2007

philips c|net adidas mercedes bmw dell mazda microsoft reuters sony bmg vodafone l’oreal ibm mtv

great virtual land rush

what went wrong

brands rushed in
they didn’t look right or left attempted to conquer rather than integrate failed to realize virtual is not the same as physical

brands stumbled

life goes on

what should brands do

in branded entertainment
natural integration into the story line

understand how brands operate

in social media & networks
multiple conversations and loss of control

understand how brands operate

in user-generated content
unsanctioned content, mashups and fragmentation

understand how brands operate

some guidelines

1 see virtual worlds as evolving stories 2 don’t try conquer, immerse 3
be aware

1 see virtual worlds as evolving stories 2 don’t try conquer, immerse 3 treat virtual worlds as petri dishes 4
be aware

innovate and produce multiple options

avatars are escaping their virtual worlds
photo by Esprit de sel's (

of 23 million and counting

m i l l i o n accounts



how close will people and their avatars track one another in brand consumption

which one will be the greater influencer on choice of brand

will avatars become brand ambassadors

what will determine legal right to ownership of an avatar

“One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real, the virtual from the real. In the future, that will become literally impossible. The distinction between cyberspace and that which isn’t cyberspace is going to be unimaginable”
William Gibson

Reassembling the fragmentation

photo by INTVGene (

video clip of the modernista Web 2.0 website



brands must exist in the parts as much as they do in the whole

For ongoing coverage of and commentary on brands in the digital arena please visit the Brand Architect blog at http:// Thanks to Tyler Reed for introducing me to the quote “15MB is the new 15 minutes”

Patrick Collings +27 (0)83 616 0967

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