Catriona cites two specific examples that I've quoted below:
Example One – RBS Virtual Careers Recruitment Event
"RBS, the world's fourth largest financial services group, was also on the ad:tech panel, and Sion Mooney, channel development manager in the resourcing division of RBS Group HR attended. He talked exclusively about RBS launching the world's first Virtual Careers Event in Second Life on 16 October. Why? Because beyond the PR value, Second Life is allowing RBS' careers team to connect with people in geographic locations that they would otherwise have had to reach by more traditional and expensive means, such going on the road with a recruitment fair.
In the Second Life environment, candidates can pose questions to the virtual careers advisers, meet current RBS employees and see a mocked-up version of where they would be working, without having to leave their homes. Recruitment is incredibly expensive, and Sion revealed that just one successful hire would more than pay for the whole Second Life project.The session demonstrated that Second Life is not the money pit that some brands have reportedly experienced, so long as a sales strategy is applied at the early conception phase. While it remains in the early adopters curve it won't work for everyone, but the platform is ripe for brands wishing to attract a youthful and experimental audience."
Example Two – STA Travel
"Craig Hepburn, Global Webmaster for STA Travel, told the audience how he had invested only tens of thousands of pounds in Second Life (a fraction of what some brands have spent), but by taking a sales-led strategic approach the investment has already paid for itself.
The student travel brand is using Second Life to build a social sales channel around a community of people who enjoy travelling and talking to each other about where they have been. The virtual environment that they've created allows users to place bookings through an avatar (they employ a real person in Second Life to take bookings and give advice) and on the Second Life STA island, which incorporates dorms for students, Lonely Planet travel guides and video footage and posters of recommended destinations.
Because STA Travel is a student brand, the Second Life virtual world works really well for them. Their customers love it, and they are already making money through a multitude of round the world bookings made in Second Life.
The audience was so impressed that a representative from a TV production company suggested that virtual worlds might translate well to an internet TV experience for a brand like STA. This is exactly the kind of question that needed to be asked, as investment in virtual worlds should be not considered as a standalone project or experiment, but rather should be consolidated with the brand's overall sales, marketing and PR objectives."