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Me, Myself and I. 3.0 – Exploring the avatar as person brand in Second Life

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dc.contributor.author Kwaan, David
dc.date.accessioned 2021-03-23T10:41:38Z
dc.date.available 2021-03-23T10:41:38Z
dc.date.issued 2020
dc.identifier.uri http://iiespace.iie.ac.za/handle/11622/406
dc.description.abstract Person branding and personal branding are two terms generally used interchangeably by scholars when describing the same phenomenon. While these terms might also attest to the novel nature of the concept, for the purpose of this dissertation the concept of ‘person branding’ will be utilised. Person branding in the business industry is still considered a relatively new phenomenon, with most of the content written about it heavily influenced by self-proclaimed experts and self-help book. The recent rise of the ever-evolving Web 3.0 and the collapse of complex systems has given individuals the accessibility and liberty to present themselves to a plethora of audiences. More importantly, this online empowerment has, as Tom Peters describes it, made everyone the CEO of their own, evermore obligatory company: “You”. Whilst person branding literature on digital platforms is starting to grow amongst scholars, it is still greatly dominated by investigation on social media sites. This study, therefore, aimed to explore branding in the context of the virtual social world, Second Life, and the role of the avatar as a person brand. Literature was reviewed on how person branding has evolved, including the motivations, person branding in the digital era, the process and practice of online person branding, self-presentation and impression management, and the overview of both virtual social worlds and the avatar. The research utilised an exploratory research design through the lens of the interpretivist paradigm. Qualitative semi-structured in-depth interviews were subsequently conducted with ten participants to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences and opinions regarding their avatars and the use of person branding practices. A content analysis was applied, which incorporated a mixed method of deductive and inductive coding when analysing the rich data, allowing for themes and patterns to emerge. The findings from the research revealed a similar connection on how people 3 brand themselves, to the behaviour of avatars. The creation of an established identity and the projection of an image through positioning and brand image assessment practices emerged. The findings also highlighted the significance that role-play had in the branding process and the emphasis of Second Life as a suitable environment for person branding to occur. The discoveries of this research contribute to the growing phenomenon of online person branding. However, it has also filled a gap in the literature that is centred around person branding of avatars and the virtual social world, Second Life. This research can also serve as a framework for people who are interested in successfully positioning their person brand in a virtual social world and provide insight to help marketing managers with the creation of virtual products that better help users define and manage their brands. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher The IIE en_US
dc.subject Avatar branding en_US
dc.subject Person branding en_US
dc.subject Avatar person brand en_US
dc.subject Online person branding en_US
dc.subject Dramaturgical Theory en_US
dc.subject Brand identity en_US
dc.subject Brand positioning en_US
dc.subject Brand performance en_US
dc.subject Impression management en_US
dc.subject Self presentation en_US
dc.subject Brand image assessment en_US
dc.title Me, Myself and I. 3.0 – Exploring the avatar as person brand in Second Life en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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