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TheStreet Open House

Drawing Up a Virtual Marketing Plan

The chasm between consumers and marketing is widening, and this disconnect is creating the need for new marketing ideas to help businesses navigate Second Life.

Second Life, the massive multiplayer online world, allows anyone to log on through the Internet at any time and create 3-D computer-generated avatars. These identities are then free to explore the endless virtual world that San Francisco-based Linden Lab has synthetically created.

Many companies have made the virtual leap and created homesteads in Second Life, including Starwood Hotels (HOT), Nissan (NSANY), Sun Microsystems (SUNW) and Reebok (RBK). Many others are gearing up to invest more time and money in the unorthodox world.

These are the kinds of investments that absolutely get the attention of Wall Street, says marketing maven Joseph Jaffe, and it's yet another benefit that cannot be overplayed enough.

"That's our reason for being," Jaffe says. "Our clients need to make sense of this change, and we need to help them identify these less cluttered approaches."

Joseph Jaffe is the president and "chief interrupter" of crayon , a new marketing company. Prior to launching crayon, he ran jaffe LLC, where he worked with companies such as Procter & Gamble (PG), Coca-Cola (KO), American Airlines (AMR), TiVo (TIVO) and Motorola (MOT).

In addition, Jaffe maintains his popular blog, "Jaffe Juice," which provides commentary on all things regarding new marketing.

Crayon totes itself as a shape-shifting company that specializes in new marketing for a new consumer. In addition, the marketing company's services include consulting, agency and M&A advisory, and custom publishing -- what Jaffe calls a "mash-up."

"Both the world and consumers have changed while marketing has not," says Jaffe. "Crayon is bridging that gap."

Jaffe is proud that crayon is a company of bloggers, podcasters and Second Life avatars. "We're people that actually live it, and it defines who we are. I'm as much these things as I am the CEO of crayon," he declares.

Crayonville Pavilion

Crayon is helping marketers, advertisers and public relations professionals better understand SL, as well as all the changes, challenges and opportunities offered in the so-called metaverse. The company's business is conducted at the Crayonville Island boardroom in Second Life. The informality has become a big appeal to employees.

"Everyone in this company has an avatar and is an owner," Jaffe notes. "When you act like an owner and you think like an owner, you go out and do it. This is what we're hoping to achieve, and I'm proud of the result."

The company opened for business last Thursday, simultaneously introducing itself in both the real world and in Second Life. Crayon's solutions include a suite of strategic and advisory services, creative ideation and implementation, change management, and empowerment training programs. Each combines to create a new form of marketing that Jaffe is championing.

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