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Doing Business in an Expanding Reality - Page 7

  • Brand and Virtual World Experiences: The results of a Repères Second Life study

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    Beyond implementing the Co-design process, the purpose of Repères in Second Life is of course to explore these new digital words to gain more knowledge of them and to advise our clients in their marketing strategies in these virtual worlds.

    We also want to play an active role in the Second Life community and to participate in its development, namely by disseminating the results of studies we conduct on our own initiative, or by making research organisations benefit at cost price from field studies conducted by our panel of avatars.

    It is within such a framework that we are publishing the results of a qualitative study we conducted last year on the perception by the residents of Second Life of the first launches of brands in SL.

    The investigation, under the form of an "in world” focus group (via avatars in SL) and in Real Life, concerned the automobile sector which already presented a certain diversity in marketing terms. The aim of the study is to determine the key factors of success for a successful launch in a virtual world.

    You may download all of the findings here, which you may also view in a slide presentation below (given the density of the text, I recommend the option “view on slideshare / Full”)

    For further details, please contact Emilie Labidoire, project manager at Repères Communities.

  • The Metaverse : Towards the Integration of the Digital world in Our reality

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    The development of virtual worlds about which we regularly communicate is a part of the more global process of the massive integration of digital technology in our reality.

    This new reality we are moving towards, where the border between the virtual and reality will become less and less discernable, is sometimes referred to as the metaverse.

    In the spring of 2007, a group of experts, researchers and players in the field of virtual worlds published a remarkable study on this subject : the metaverse roadmap overview. The authors identify four leading trends which, through their convergence, lead us to the metaverse:
    . Virtual Worlds
    . the mirror worlds, the digital reproduction of reality (Cf. Google Earth)
    . enhanced reality : the integration of the digital in the real world, for example via enhanced reality glasses (you walk in an Antique site and thanks to these glasses you have a completed view of the buildings instead of the ruins)
    . lifelogging, which consists of recording all the events of one’s life on a digital medium.

    You will find here the support materials from a talk I gave on this subject at the summer university of a consulting company. In addition to the 4 trends of the Metaverse Roadmap, you will find some elements concerning another change I believe is fundamental: the notion of the enhanced body (exoskeletons, cyborgs and brain-computer links) where, here again, the visions of science-fiction writers are confirmed.

    To finish with this theme of the metaverse and immersion, here is a video in which a system for measuring brain waves makes it possible for a person to move his avatar in Second Life mentally:



    There are many surprises in store for us.

  • Best whishes from Reperes

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    Happy new year, and please see the film below to discover our wishes for 2008.

  • Understanding and mobilizing the consumer 2.0 via communities

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    For approximately two years at Repères we have been engaged in the process of updating the tools used in market research. Our objective is to look for better ways of accompanying our clients, in a context in which society is undergoing major changes: traditional tools are less and less able to provide an accurate picture of reality today, whereas new approaches, previously inconceivable for technical and budgetary reasons, now provide access to a wealth of new and highly relevant information.

    Among these new approaches, we are investing especially in all the “collaborative” techniques which represent a change of position within our profession. The citizen consumer is moving from the status of respondent to that of participant.

    Hence, on the occasion of the last SEMO trade show, Emilie Labidoire, in charge of Repères Communautés, and I presented a series of collaborative approaches aimed at the following:

    . mobilising consumers and involving them in designing the offer:
    - co-designing, namely by using the Second Life platform,
    - a concept test under the form of a collaborative blog, with 60 to 80 respondents alternating during a fortnight between collective exchanges and individual questionnaires
    - a prototype test via the Home Use Blog, previously mentioned in this blog

    . but also at gaining a better understanding of consumers via the creation of Virtual Communities of Interests, making it possible for a company to get a better understanding of its target and to continuously exchange with this target in a real spirit of partnership.

    In addition to this new position as a “participant”, clearly in line with that of the consumer-citizen today (Cf. the book, “Génération participation” by Thierry Maillet), the strong point of these approaches is that they are based on new time frames: We are no longer working with 15-minute quantitative questionnaires or 3-hour focus groups, but with a collaborative experience over one or two weeks (collaborative concept test, Home Use Blog) or even several months (Communities), thus providing a definite opportunity for ideas to ripen and for the experience to be integrated. Another important aspect is the advantage of asynchronous communication limiting leading effects (each participant integrates the opinions of the others, but with a "distance" which enables him or her to evaluate these opinions and to preserve his or her individuality) and also makes it possible for the respondent to express himself/herself in a very personal way.

    At Repères, we are continuing to develop and experiment with these collaborative methods which hold great promise, naturally for general consumer issues but also in the field of BtoB (for example: the development of a co-design protocol with certain key customers, or the creation and moderation of communities of retailers…)

    In short, we are fortunate to be working in a fascinating profession offering a host of new prospects!

  • The Home Use Blog at Pangborn

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    fc170562b8d3d7bc2a28b5dd667c749d.gifWith the Danone Research team we had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the prestigious Sensory Science Symposium Pangborn, which was held in Minneapolis in August.
    On this occasion, Michel Rogeaux and I had the opportunity of presenting the Home Use Blog to the scientific community involved in the field of sensory studies and consumer tests.
    As a reminder, the Home Use Blog is a protocol by which consumers test an innovation and exchange impressions in a community blog during the entire experience. This dual immersion of the product experienced by each respondent and within a community proves to be an extremely rich source of information and insight. At the same time, the possibility for the project team of monitoring the test day by day allows for a great deal of adaptability and is very motivating.

    This approach is also highly flexible: Since November 2006, when we presented the methodology for the first time at SEMO with Danone Research, we have had the opportunity of using Home Use Blog (for Danone and for other manufacturers) in a great variety of configurations:
    . in different countries, over varying periods of time (with a project in the very short term for a HUB during 3 months).
    . by combining the Home Use Blog with other approaches, for example by organising at the end of the blog a Focus Group with the participants face-to-face to work in a more creative manner on the elements of the product mix.

    In a nutshell, we are convinced that this method will become firmly established as part of marketing research practises in product development processes. The enthusiastic response on the part of the participants at the Pangborn conference backed us up in our conviction.

    You will find here the slides of the Home Use Blog presentation at Pangborn.