LONDON—Herd, the social networking unit of U.K. public relations consultancy Cow, has launched a new virtual worlds consultancy service. Coinciding with the opening of an office, Cow Island, in the virtual world of Second Life, Herd will guide companies and brands through the process of establishing a virtual presence.
According to the Gartner Group, 80 percent of regular Internet users and large corporations will have a virtual world presence by 2011. Herd aims to help clients to avoid the mistakes of the 90s, when many brands went online but did nothing more than create virtual brochures. “One of the mystifying things about a lot of corporate developments in Second Life is that they are little more than imitations of their real world equivalents,” says Cow co-founder Dirk Singer.
“Retail outlets look the same, while company headquarters are by and large glass offices with boardroom tables and PowerPoint presentations running on-screen. As a result, it’s no surprise that the most creative and popular developments are ones created by individuals sitting in their front rooms, who understand that you don¹t take on a virtual existence to get a carbon copy of the real.”
Cow Island will be split into a nature area open to all Second Life residents, and a private office, hidden inside a hill and available for meetings with clients, job interviews, and to pre-screen Cow’s annual graduate trainee intake.