“Transmedia Storytelling’’ has recently become a buzzword among marketers in every industry, but how many of them truly understand this complex concept? Here’s what you need to know about transmedia, and how to make it work for your brand.
Marketers have long embraced storytelling as an essential part of any brand strategy. But in our rapidly evolving digital world, the definition of storytelling is changing. Gone are the days of the 30-second broadcast spot; brands no longer have the luxury of addressing a passive audience held at arm’s length.
Today, audiences have the ability to both selectively consume brand narrative and actively engage in conversation with brand storytellers. And while many marketers have successfully diversified the digital avenues through which they reach consumers, a traditional multi-platform strategy is no longer enough. So how can marketers make sure their brand story breaks through the clutter? A comprehensive transmedia strategy could be the answer.
Cross-Media vs. Transmedia
Traditional cross-media strategies construct a static narrative around a brand or product, which is then distributed via multiple channels. While this brand strategy might involve a killer website, engaging blog, and robust social following, would-be transmedia strategists must ask themselves: does the content distributed on each platform contribute to the unfolding of a larger, cohesive story? Great content invites consumers to interact with and enter into the brand world, rather than simply observe it.
Cross-media strategy attempts to capitalize on the multi-device era, but it does not go far enough. In order to take full advantage of diverse digital platforms, brands must create a holistic and collaborative consumer experience that not only allows audiences to participate in the storytelling process, but incentivizes their engagement.
“Content Marketing should be the granular diversification of a narrative world,” says blogger Gianluca Fiorelli, according to StateofDigital. Marketers are left to decide what exactly that world will look like, why consumers should care enough to explore it, and how their product will exist within it.
Data and the Art of Revision
So you’ve crafted a multidimensional brand narrative, and consumers are engaging with it in real time. Have you structured it in such a way that allows up-to-the minute revision based on customer feedback?
As Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment puts it, according to OZ Content: “Without understanding and tooling your brand narrative, you will always be guessing at what you need to communicate next, you will never be fully prepared for criticism, and your relationships with yourself and with your consumer will never be entirely fulfilling.”
He goes on to emphasize the vital role that data plays in a successful transmedia strategy, saying: “If content is our conversation, and technology is the means through which we are having that conversation, then data is how we anticipate and interpret our audience’s feedback.” In short, it is not enough to simply construct a brand storytelling strategy; marketers must continually collect consumer feedback and adjust their strategy accordingly for maximal return.
The Transmedia Echo
A thoughtful and well-executed transmedia content strategy will not only create meaningful connections with your core audience, but amplify the impact and value of your brand or product. As David Berkowitz says, according to Adage, the brand narrative “facilitates and taps into the stories people are creating and sharing with each other.” A well-written brand story extends the narrative into a consumer’s everyday life, in turn reaching an expanded social audience of likeminded consumers.
Ready to take your storytelling strategy to the next level? Join us for an interactive panel on July 28th in New York City. We’re bringing you an all-star panel of brand marketers, agency CEOs, technologists, and storytellers to discuss the limitations of modern advertising, and to explore the big question of what happens next. Get tickets here.
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