"When we want mood experiences, we go to concerts or museums. When we want meaningful experiences, we go to the storyteller." - Robert McKee
In a media convergent world, communication has become possible across multiple platforms globally. Either it is tracking a fitness progress, or interacting socially, the public is actively engaged with media technology every day. The daily interactions via ICT have completely changed the psychological perspectives of today’s consumers. They anticipate active engagement experience through interaction and participation.
Transmedia speaks to this desire of engagement with the power of storytelling. The concept, once developed by Henry Jenkins, involves creating a united and carefully crafted entertainment experience across multiple media platforms. However, transmedia storytelling has been successful not only as a means for entertainment production. Recently, it has become a rather popular approach to branding. Transmedia branding incorporates information about a brand in an integrated narrative, which is creatively spread across multiple media channels.
While narrative creates the world of story across multiple media, participatory focus can facilitate strengthening of the brand story engagement for audience and promote brand loyalty. Transmedia branding shifts from a selling point to inviting and engaging through shared experience that creates an organic human bond. Successful campaigns always appear to apply a common set of design elements, such as narratives, participation, and brands.
At the transmedia’s base, consumers are essentially interested in stories that may be real or fictional, entertaining or educational, serious or funny. Yet, they’re always engaging. Such stories are spread when audience find these narratives meaningful and emotionally engaging. In fact, spreadability is a key point of transmedia branding.
Audience participation is a key concept that differentiates traditional approaches of marketing communications from transmedia branding. People want to interact with spreadable narratives. Audience may actively help localize and reframe messages they think have potential interest within their communities. Participation can cover a variety of activities: from sharing conversations to leaving comments on blogs and creating new content. However, brand loyalty would play not a lesser role.
Most of the products or services are initially brought to the market without a ready-made story to share. Therefore, companies that offer these products or services need to create or join a story, as a narrative is central to transmedia branding. Sometimes, multiple brands join the same story. For example, Coke Zero and Heineken built their branding efforts based on the James Bond movie Skyfall. Although, brands of media and entertainment are the actual story. Thus, their transmedia nature allows them to engage with already existing fans and adapt to the culture of these fans.
Transmedia branding has broad social and commercial implications, as it builds relationships and addresses the psychological needs of a socially connected, participatory, and media-savvy audience. Just shifting to a transmedia storytelling perspective is a powerful lens that gives rise to innovation and creativity in brand and franchise development and audience and customer engagement.
Learn more about the present and future of transmedia branding at: http://www.annenberglab.com/projects/t-transmedia