Transmedia: Storytelling In Tubes

Today, I met with Darien Hill of "Social Media Hitmen", a social media marketing company located here in Orlando, FL. It's great when you meet people that understand the landscape but want to learn from every conversation. The man that brought us together was none other than my dear friend Millo Aldea, a former colleague at IDEAS Orlando (formerly Disney i.d.e.a.s.). I appreciate the most when engaging people like this is the energy that comes from our conversations. The passion, I get to feed on that. One of the many things that was discussed over lunch fare was the fact that social media is still not the magic bullet. There's no one thing that leads to riches. I told him of the days when I was first designing and developing websites and how, after it finally took off in, say, 1997 or so, everyone "had to have a website" as if the digital gold rush had begun. But alas, there's no free lunch and you still need to work for what you want.

Social Media is still "social" and I have to remind myself time and time again that it can never replace the moments that you have as a professional to communicate with your customer. You still need to "press flesh" or call at the very least, but most of all, you must vary the way that you reach your audience/customer/client.

There's an active term that is growing in popularity right now called "transmedia" or transmedia storytelling . In short, it's simply using multiple platforms, both digital and traditional, to act as delivery vehicles and, in some instances, specific parts of the story might be defined by the delivery vehicle. Transmedia creates many "entry points" (what ARG'ers call "Rabbit Holes," ad guys might say "integrated components" and, blurrier still, social media strategists might refer to as "touch-points") for the users to interact, understand and take part within a story at any given time. This idea is the foundation to great and memorable work. No matter where you pick up the messaging, you digest it and expect it as something unique and, ideally, of value.

The primary fact is this: you, as an advertiser, need to remodel your thinking -- not to that of "call to action," but that of "doors to options." Think of campaigns more as "Choose Your Own Adventure" books of the 80's -- a user would read into the story and be given an opportunity to choose what to do and thereby change the course of story. And with people demanding more customization in not only the products that they buy but they will look to play a bigger part of brands that they wish to be loyal to. Therefore, those brands cannot simply stand in one spot and declare supremacy without being seen as dated and lacking thought leadership. If transmedia (which I wished was called TransAm-Media) teaches us anything, it's the simple truth that a story has great power in the moment it is told, but has an opportunity of becoming greater in the retelling. That being said, we must allow for that story to make its way across as many platforms as possible. This is called "transmediation" (say it again). Drop that at your next hipster art-school kegger' and you're getting laid -- count on it.

In my last post, I talked about the power of "Safety In Numbers" when it comes to your social network. When you take into account the power that transmedia has with multiple delivery device(s) you can understand it can make one story (while possibly fragmented) a much larger phenomenon.

What are you thoughts on this? Have you ever taken your integrated marketing approach and pushed it into the arena of a story? If you like this post, please share it with your own network by pushing it to your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Thanks, I look forward to talking with you.