Market Truths and Diversified Media Design released a new SL-related study titled "The Virtual Brand Footprint: The Marketing Opportunity in Second Life." I am not sure where it is available online (but it will probably end up along with other reports by Market Truths) and will post a link as soon as I find out (update: here's a link to the pdf file of the report). The report provides a few pieces of advice to marketers who are still intending to give this new frontier a try despite the recent wave of negative coverage, and also analyzes the impact of some of the larger campaigns done over the past year.
This graph apparently represents a qualitative probe of the public opinion regarding the selected brand presence in Second Life. A quote from the study:
"Market Truths calculated an overall Second Life brand impact metric. According to their research, "all of the most frequently mentioned brands are receiving a positive impact from their [Second Life] presence, but the impact is greatest for Reuters -- largely due to the fact that most of those who have encountered the brand in Second Life say doing so has improved their impression of the company. IBM had the next greatest impact, but its position is more a result of the fact that it received more mentions in the unaided awareness question than any other brand. Toyota, Nissan, and Dell had the next greatest brand impacts. The black bars at the bottom show the metrics for Toyota and Sony when their two separate brand names are combined."
This graph apparently illustrate the real-world PR effect of an effective brand presence in Second Life. To quote the study:
"[The graph] illustrates the number of impressions, in millions, each brand received after their Second Life entrance. This clearly illustrates that a successful launch in Second Life often turns into positive publicity for the brands. Whether it is a product mention or an in-depth story, the brands in this study were exposed to millions of eyes around the world. The press coverage also associates these brands with innovation since Second Life has not yet become a traditional marketing platform."
This graph brings about many interesting thoughts, but here's what particularly stands out. As far as I know, The Louvre doesn't have an official SL presence. The only one I'm aware of (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is The Second Louvre (YouTube video, pictures) which is a beautiful but unofficial replica [updated: The Louvre does refer to The Second Louvre]. Yet, according to the graph, The Louvre beat Sears, Dell and Coke in terms of PR impressions? Would love to know more about the methodology and the time frame for this particular item [updated, see below].
Update [August 21 '07] : A note on the methodology from Diversified Media Design: "In order to get the numbers for the chart, we counted all of the press hits each company received. We defined the hit as anything that mentioned or discussed the company in relation to SL. We then took the circulation for each outlet (ex: NY Times, USA Today etc.) and added everything together to get the total number of people that the company was exposed to as a result of SL. This is only an estimate since circulation numbers were not available for every outlet. The time frame was January - May."
Update [August 22 '07]: combinedstory co-authored the report.