February 29, 2012

Second Life Business Contract Obligations

Some of you might have seen what Brandy posted on her blog the yesterday. She spoke of generalities of doing business in Second Life and cited a very good example, that about contractual obligations between artists and venues who hire them.


I wanted to elaborate a bit more on what she wrote. When I am contracted to perform in Second Life, I take on the responsibility of more than just playing for an hour and leaving. Oh no... there is MUCH more to it than that and it is with respect to other performers and managers that I offer this.

Before anything, there is the marketing side that is addressed for all events and shows.

A big reason that I still have solid ground under my shoes after over 5 years of performing in SL is that when I am hired to play a show, all venues know that they are getting quite a bit  more than the show itself. What I mean is that between Brandy and myself, we take on and accept the role of "Marketing" the event, promoting it and publicizing it as best as we can. We make use of Second Life group notices, Facebook Groups, Twitter and also on Second Friends where there is now a thriving community from many SL industries with over 2000 SL residents as members. We also create "Events" on Facebook and Second Friends and invite our friends.

After all is said and done and utilizing all avenues, we promote to well over 350,000 pairs of eyes for every event. When a venue approaches us inquiring about me performing for them, we might hear from some that it's out of their budget, and at first glance, the venue is probably assuming that all they are getting is my performance. (Truth be told, I can't say I blame them as they have probably been conditioned to expect nothing more than the performance. They may have dealt primarily with SL performers which may not provide the marketing and promotions that we offer.) At that point, we will remind them that besides the show, they are also getting their brand out in front of all those 350,000 eyes, and that Brandy and I are working hours before the events to promote THEM, their venue, their sim, their content... their event… whatever it may be. Attendance may vary from day to day, hour to hour, and is never a certainty. It's just not in anyone's control as to how SL will be behaving, if the venue is having tech issues and so on. What IS in our control is spreading the word about the venue and event and THAT is the contractual obligation we accept for each and every event I play.

Getting back to Brandy's post, a venue hires me to perform but it is clear that they are also relying on our promotions. Of course the venues themselves need to be doing everything they can to promote the event and the artists they hire. Without that it looks completely one sided as if the venue has zero interest in promoting themselves and THAT comes down to the point. It's a matter of professionalism and understanding that YOUR venue is your BUSINESS! PERIOD! If you don't understand the basics of running a business, well guess what will likely happen to your venue very quickly.

Both Brandy and I are ALL for helping venues as much as we can, and those who have worked with us on our various projects can attest to that fact. The venues and businesses in Second Life that we have contracted, or been contracted by, all understand from the get go exactly what it is they will be receiving. We in turn also make sure we understand the terms of the contracts and expect the Contractor to live up to their end.

The fact that so many people have viewed and commented in support of Brandy's Blog post reassures me that Second Life residents agree that there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to contractual obligations.

I would like to respectfully suggest to ALL who do any form of business in Second Life to simply remember "Business Ethics". Without proper ethics in business, we will ultimately revert back to trading stones for rabbits.

We consider ourselves business professionals and that being said, would like to offer any guidance and help that we can. Brandy and I own The Tracer | Birman Agency, a full service marketing and PR firm offering professional business services including Website Design, Graphic Design, Other Digital Design, Social Media, Marketing, Social Marketing, Brand Creation, Event Planning, Brand Introduction, Logo Design, Corporate Identity. More specific services geared towards Second Life include, Social Integration, Custom Second Life Builds, Event Planning, Marketing, Product Design and Sim Layout/Design.

As always, Brandy and I are happy to help if you have any questions, just shoot us a note card or email info@tracerbirman.com.

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