Canada Post schools Second Life entrepreneurs

To educate business owners in the real and virtual worlds, Canada Post recently inaugurated a virtual agency - Bright Idea Lab.

Canada Post recently launched Bright Idea Lab, a virtual agency headquartered in the online community of Second Life, where over 380,000 Canadians are registered. The new shop, built by U.S. ad agency French West Vaughan, centres on virtual small business needs, with a DM practice, as the global virtual world has 60,000 registered users who generate income on the site.

‘The Bright Idea Lab is a business incubator designed to educate Second Life business owners about direct marketing and offer them free tools to make their businesses more successful,’ says Stephanie Bullock, director of segment management, direct marketing at Canada Post.

‘Located within Second Life’s virtual city of Maple Grove, this is an opportunity for Canada Post to understand better the virtual world of networking and the issues and concerns of the entrepreneurs who inhabit Second Life,’ says Bullock, who adds that the target segment is between 18-32 years and early adopters of technology. The idea, explains Bullock, is to ‘play a role in social networks and understand how to generate conversations around direct marketing within Second Life.’

To that end, Canada Post will hold round tables for entrepreneurs in the real world, as well as those on Second Life, at the conference centre in the virtual agency.

As well, entrepreneurs who have been successful in Second Life will be invited to share their stories. ‘The ability to bring people together to talk about direct marketing is really what we want to gain from being involved in social networks,’ says Bullock.

Bullock says topics gleaned from Second Life consumers may find their way to the Canada Post website. And while Canada Post’s virtual foray is trying to help Second Life entrepreneurs build businesses in that world, she adds, it will also educate business owners in the real world on direct marketing. All the content that is on Second Life is available on Canada Post’s website, and the Bright Idea Lab is also a venue for real-life business owners to learn about Canada Post tools such as Direct Marketing Online, which helps create, deliver and track a marketing campaign direct from your desktop.