Category: storytelling

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Is Transmedia Storytelling the New Marketing?

I think it’s safe to say that marketing has changed. Gone are the days of telling your message. It’s all about engagement now. It’s about digital presence. It’s about storytelling. And how you tell that story may make or break your business. But the old way of storytelling may not cut it.

How (and why) is Marketing Changing?

The first thing to understand about marketing today is that it’s all about shared experience. Consumer behavior is radically changing with respect to content consumption. No longer are people consuming most of their content on the TV, a newspaper, or even their computer. Rather, they are using a combination of channels:

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(image courtesy of Google’s study “Multi-Channel Delivery”)

The need for a consistent experience seems like a no-brainer. If users are interacting with your content/brand/product/message/etc. on one channel and get a different experience on another channel, there’s a chance they will get confused. And a confused customer is one who goes to a competitor. So your approach to delivering that message can’t be “spray and pray.” It has to be targeted and focused, specific to the channel on which it’s being consumed. But that’s only part of the fundamental change to marketing. The other part is how users can engage with the content. Through social media, website comments, live chats, and other methods, users can have a conversation with you around the content. It’s no longer about broadcasting your message. It’s no longer about telling your story and hoping people get it. To sum up these changes:

  1. How: adoption and usage of multiple/simultaneous devices by users has prompted the need for a consistent experience. Marketers must now deliver their message and information across these device families.
  2. Why: digital technologies like web, social media, text messaging, etc. have enabled bi-directional conversation. As more and more users adopt these technologies into their lives, they expect the same thing of companies. No interaction? No customer.

Quick Note: Consistent does not Equal the Same

Developing and delivering a consistent content experience doesn’t mean you publish the same content to each channel. In fact, it might be exactly the opposite. Consistency relates to the messaging, the branding, the positioning, the information, etc. The delivery needs to be unique and specific to the intended device. Here is a great quote from Forrester that epitomizes the need for “differentiated consistency:”

Unified experiences don’t have to be uniform. Customers need experiences that are right-sized for the touchpoint and their context. Instead of focusing on rote uniformity, firms should strive to deliver the necessary parts of an overall experience that uses design patterns, right-sized content and functionality, and appropriate expressions of brand for the user’s context. (Forrester. The Unified Customer Experience Imperative.)

What does that mean in the practical sense? Instead of cramming your desktop website into a mobile phone screen, you might create a specific mobile website with content (and navigation) that is most appealing to the mobile user. Or, it may be a mobile application.

Why is this important? Because it changes the way that marketers tell stories in this new world of multi-device digital engagement.

The Marketer as Storyteller

The idea of the marketer “telling the company story” is not new. In fact, one could argue that it’s Marketing-101. But in the traditional marketing world, that story was unchanging. It was about the company and the brand and, maybe, about how the product was better than the competition. And that story was historically published across all channels in the same manner: on the corporate website, at the bottom of press releases, in the “about” section of a Facebook page. Text stayed the same. Images carried over. And although that is a consistent experience (which is good) it doesn’t follow Forrester’s logic about the need to customize the delivery to the device (which is bad). In order for the story to have the maximum amount of impact, which is what marketers want, the story must appeal to the consumer at the point of consumption (i.e., taking advantage of the specific device through which the consumer is engaging with the story). Marketing stories, then, must break from the traditional model of storytelling in order to take advantage of digital behaviors. I think that might be Transmedia Storytelling.

What is Transmedia Storytelling?

As defined in the Wikipedia article of the same name, Transmedia storytelling…is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies…From a production standpoint, it involves creating content that engages an audience using various techniques to permeate their daily lives. In order to achieve this engagement, a transmedia production will develop stories across multiple forms of media in order to deliver unique pieces of content in each channel.

There are three key elements here that make Transmedia Storytelling very applicable to the changing landscape of digital marketing of deliver consistent content across multiple devices with opportunities for engagement:

  1. “Story experience” across multiple platforms
  2. “Engages with an audience”
  3. “Deliver unique pieces of content in each channel”

These three points map directly to what I have described previously:

  • User is employing multiple devices, sometimes simultaneously (#1)
  • Digital technologies have created bi-directional interaction (#2)
  • Users need a consistent experience across channels (#1)
  • The consistent experience across devices should be tailed to the device (#3)

So what does a Transmedia Story look like from a marketing perspective? Let’s take a hypothetical example: a new shoe. First, the story that the marketer is going to tell is around the product, not around the company. Digital marketing enables us to tell (and change) new stories quickly. The first part of the story is about someone using the shoe. Imagine a vertically-flowing microsite focusing on a “day-in-the-life-of” (DILO) the shoe (check out  http://pestproject.orkin.com as an example of what an engaging, vertically-flowing microsite might look like, just the shoe instead of bugs). This is published to the web but with a responsive design for delivery to tablets and smartphones. The second part of the story are the sounds of the shoe running through mud, dirt, concrete, water, etc. These are delivered as sound bites that are linked to QR codes found on print images of the shoe. The third part is an interactive application for mobile phones that enables people to build and customize their own shoe, drawing in some of the same content from the microsite. The fourth part is a video featuring the shoe worn in different conditions by a bunch of different people. It’s published on YouTube and is shot like a documentary. The final part is a print campaign that includes the smell of the new shoe with different elements that can be captured from a camera phone and lead to different parts of the microsite story.

In this example, each part of the story has its own narrative. But together, they link to create a consistent, multi-sensory story on all aspects of the shoe that crosses channels with a elements designed to engage on multiple fronts and specific to devices. And there are ways to extend that Transmedia story about the shoe to user-generated content. For example, maybe there is technology in the shoe that links it to the phone (or an app on the phone) so that a person’s use of the shoe can influence the story of the shoe as a whole (with data).

What’s the Business Impact?

I think the jury is out on that right now. Although there are behavioral trends to show that Transmedia Storytelling might be the best framework for the future of digital marketing, it’s difficult to asses how it impacts ZMOT or other KPIs. But regardless of business impact, using transmedia narrative techniques will probably lead to more viral activity around the story as well as opportunities to engage with customers and prospects. The down side is they probably take longer to coordinate.

The use of Transmedia Storytelling was probably never intended for marketing. It was meant as a framework for telling narrative stories (i.e., fiction and non-fiction) across devices in a digital age. But as marketers continue to adopt the role of “storyteller” in a world where users are engaging with their content across multiple devices, it seems that a framework like Transmedia Storytelling might be the best solution to organizing that content into a cohesive story that appeals to this new generation of consumers.

This blog post is from  www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/08/31/is-transmedia-storytelling-the-new-digital-marketing/

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A Glimpse Into the Future of Storytelling

For storytellers, digital is the biggest candy shop ever created. It enables stories to be told in fantastic new ways that combine a variety of media including written word, images, video, and even games…all at the same time. Of course, it took a while for the technology to get to a point where that was possible (i.e., HTML 5, javascript, parallax and responsive design, etc.) but we are finally beginning to see what the future of storytelling might become.

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek is an immersive story experience using a variety of different media simultaneously to provide a multi-sensory digital experience.

This is a different approach than Transmedia Storytelling. Rather than spreading story elements (in different media/experiences) across platforms, this approach combines them all into a single experience which is, by nature, cross platform.

You can experience the story for yourself at: http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=tunnel-creek

This blogpost is from   www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/10/08/a-glimpse-into-the-future-of-storytelling/

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The 9 “C”s of Awesome Storytelling

You want to tell stories to your digital audiences. No, really, I’m telling you that you want to. In fact, you have to. There’s just too much noise out there to continue broadcasting your message. You’ve got to get intimate with your audience. Digital enables you to form powerful one-on-one relationships with your audience, and the best way to do that is through stories.

I recently gave a presentation at the Content2Conversion conference in New York in April that explored not only why this is important, but how to also make your own stories more impactful, meaningful, and ultimately, more engaging by adhering to 9 best practices. Click on the video to watch a recorded broadcast of the presentation. I’ve also included some bullet points that capture the high level points communicated as part of the presentation and will be posting the slides from Slideshare soon.

And here are the high-level points in that presentation (in case you’ve already watched and just want those 9 Cs again; I’ve even bolded them):

  1. Stories are important
  2. Stories are containers for ideas that are easier to communicate when they are framed as a story. Example: traveling by yourself in the forest as a young child (which is a metaphor for the world) without parents or help can be dangerous because there are a lot of “wolves” out there. AKA, Little Red Riding Hood.
  3. Stories evoke emotion. They make us laugh. They make us cry. They move us to action.
  4. Movies are great examples of stories.
  5. Digital changes everything by enabling stories with videos and images. By extending stories into cross-channel/multi-channel experiences (i.e., transmedia).
  6. Digital supercharges stories to engage and improve intimacy
  7. What makes a good story digitally for business?
  8. #1: Connected. Stories have to connect us to other people. They have to involve us in a “shared” experience (no matter how much Facebook wants us to think we are the center of the digital universe, we really aren’t)
  9. #2: Committed. Embracing storytelling isn’t a “one-and-done” mentality. Coca Cola has committed tens of millions of dollars to reshaping the way they engage and interact with audiences through content. It has to be a life-long change.
  10. #3: Customer. The story has to be about the customer. Period. It can’t be about your product or your company.
  11. #4: Character. The story has to have a character. That’s with whom the audience forms an emotional bond. They have to be in conflict. They have to have something to lose.
  12. #5: Crescendo. The story has to have an ending. It has to wrap up somehow. You can’t leave audiences hanging.
  13. #6: aCountable. The story has to be driven by numbers. If there’s no way to see where users disengage, no way to measure how effective the story is, then it doesn’t really serve any business purpose.
  14. #7: Consistent. Users are on multiple devices every day. The story has to not only be available on all of them but has to be consistent across it. You can’t tell one story to one device and a different one to another. Branding, look and feel, style, tone. The experience has to be consistent.
  15. #8: Conversion. The story ultimately has to convert audience members to customers. Otherwise, you are just wasting your breath.
  16. #9. cEmotional. Stories have to be emotional. They have to elicit a reaction from the audience. Laughter. Crying. Shaking a fist. If the story fails to connect with an audience emotionally, they will forget it, and all your storytelling hard work will be for naught.
  17. Stories are strung together with a narrative arc. That’s what drives emotion. When a character has something to lose, there’s a conflict to not lose it, and then there’s a resolution (either losing it or not losing it).
  18. Stories evoke emotions. Biologically when our brains encounter a narrative arc (and we follow it) endorphins are released. There is a biological and chemical reaction that humans have to storytelling. That’s powerful.
  19. Stories help us engage with audiences. Ultimately, they help us become more intimate with our audiences.
  20. There’s a way to speed that up, though. It’s video.
  21. There’s a “level of relationship” pyramid.
    1. At the bottom is awareness. Your audience knows who you are, but they don’t even think about you. I know who Starbucks is, but I don’t go into their stores.
    2. Next is acquaintance. Maybe I would go into Starbucks if I was wandering down the street, suddenly wanted coffee, and that happened to be the only coffee shop in 10 miles.
    3. After that is friend. When I think coffee, I think Starbucks usually. I’ll branch out, just based on convenience (there’s a Dunkin Donuts right down the road, but Starbucks is a mile past that; yeah, I’m not traveling the extra mile). I do appreciate Starbucks product and their company. In fact, I like their Facebook page and sometimes check out their website for new stuff.
    4. After friend is confidante. If I am a confidante, I’m sharing info with Starbucks who is trying to personalize my experience. Maybe it’s through their reward card. I actively seek them out for my coffee fix. I might even walk a little further down the road to get to one. When I’m on Google maps, I don’t search for “coffee shops” I search for “Starbucks.”
    5. Finally, there is BFF. Every marketer wants every one of their audience to be BFFs. If I was Starbucks’ BFF I would get into fist fights with people who dared to say that Dunkin Donuts’ coffee was better. I wear Starbucks apparel. I am active in their Facebook conversations. I share my Starbucks experiences with them. I am a loyal reward member and have provided lots of information to Starbucks that they use to make my experience with their digital presence and retail locations more personalized.
  22. Video gets you to BFF faster because it helps accelerate engagement. When it’s combined with storytelling that means faster emotional connection.

– Jason Thibeault, Sr. Director, Marketing Strategy. You can connect with Jason on Twitter @_jasonthibeault.

This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/10/16/the-9-cs-of-awesome-storytelling/

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Storytelling for Marketers: Connecting the Dots

There’s been a lot of conversation about storytelling lately for business marketers. But as I keep writing about storytelling I realize that I am touching on different pieces. This post is an attempt to connect all the dots so that marketers understand what storytelling is and why it’s important for their business.

Dot #1: Telling a Story Grabs Attention

Digital has created a lot of noise. More people posting more content into more channels. Which is why people have reverted to “information snacking.” There’s just not enough time in the day to pay attention to everything. So you need a way to stand out. You need to give people a reason to stop snacking and start reading or watching. Why does a story get attention? Because we are hard wired for stories. Stories help us remember. Stories connect us with each other. I won’t go into all the biology and psychology behind stories but, trust me, they have an impact.

When marketers transition from just broadcasting a message about their product (i.e., “our product is the best because it helps you solve this problem”) to telling a story, they stick out. And you can tell a story at different parts of the buyer’s journey.

Aside: How Do I Tell a Story For My Business?

First, it’s not about writing a novel. This isn’t a romance or a murder mystery. But it is about creating a narrative arc and characters and a conflict and a resolution. For example, I bet that most of your customers have a story about how they found your product. Or, I bet that your industry has stories about critical challenges facing us today. These stories that you tell aren’t about your company or your product. They are about connecting to your customer. So keep your brand out of it. Keep you out of it. Let your customers or your industry or other people be the point of your story and through that, your audience will connect it to you (and your brand/product).

Dot #2: Getting Attention Gives You the Opportunity to Engage

You want to engage with your audience. Heck, it’s what digital enables us to do. One-to-one conversations via social media and email and blog comments. That’s powerful. But you can’t even think of doing that if people aren’t paying attention. So if you are telling stories (and people are starting to pay attention) you have awareness (at the bottom of the relationship pyramid) and the opportunity to move people up the pyramid through further engagement.

Dot #3: Engagement Leads to Long-term Relationships

Unless you are selling a commodity or utility product/service, developing relationships is critical to your long-term success. In the digital world, relationships with influencer customers provide you access to a vast network of other relationships. But you can’t develop relationships if you don’t have attention…and you aren’t engaging.

Aside: Why is Content Marketing So Important?

Marketers are becoming publishers. Why? Because by giving your audience content that they find useful (Coca-Cola does an awesome job at this) you build credibility and trust which, again, helps you drive them up the relationship pyramid. Remember that you don’t have to give them content about you. Give them content they will find useful, content that will help them solve a problem or generate a discussion. We have done this at Limelight by talking about changes in the marketing industry (changes like the importance of storytelling).

Dot #4: Engagement Leads to Sales Opportunities

Every time that you engage with someone you expose a sales opportunity. But you can’t push it. When you push it, people will turn away and the relationship you have with them will tumble down the relationship pyramid. That’s bad. People will buy when they are ready. If you have the credibility, trust, and relationship with them when they are ready to purchase, you will be first in their mind.

Dot #5: ROI Will Come (But Later Than Credibility)

Okay, it goes without saying that you need to show return for your efforts. No organization is just going to spend money continually on marketing if the activities marketing is carrying out aren’t impacting the business. But the problem is that most storytelling is “awareness marketing.” It’s all about establishing trust, credibility, relationships, etc. for the chance of a sales opportunity down the road. Many CxOs have an unrealistic expectation that everything marketing does should immediately bear return. That may have been the case in old-school marketing (i.e., broadcast marketing) but it’s not the case with engagement marketing. Of course sales will happen short-term. As a central strategy for any content marketing effort, storytelling is more about the long-term.

Other Things to Consider

Digital gives us a way to tell stories like never before. Things can be connected across platforms. We can create “experiences” which combine stories in different mediums. Below are a few things to consider about storytelling in the digital world:

  • Video improves everything about storytelling. Let’s face it: we are hard-wired for motion. It’s in the way our brains are constructed. So when presented with a story that is still (words + images) vs in motion (video) we will tend to gravitate to the later. Stories that include (or are encapsulated by) video will succeed over stories that aren’t.
  • People are mobile all the time. Your audience isn’t sitting on your couch (or at their desk) engaging with their story. Chances are they are out and about. Running errands. Heading to meetings. Walking the hall. You have to keep this in mind as you craft your story not only for the form-factor but also for what will be most impactful on a smartphone or tablet screen. Delivering the 1200-word article of your story as part of a mobile experience is probably not going to keep much attention.
  • Digital is immersive. Although we are still learning about how this applies to business, transmedia storytelling has been around a while. What is it? Simply put, it’s about telling different parts of the story in different channels and connecting them all together as one big experience. When you do that, people can get lost in your story moving from one channel to another. They enjoy the novelty of discovering and finding new things.

This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/11/04/storytelling-for-marketers-connecting-the-dots/

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What is Pervasive Entertainment?

Pervasive entertainment is entertainment untethered and unencumbered by time, location and reality. For those who like equations, here’s one:

Pervasive entertainment = ubiquitous media + participatory experience + real world + good storytelling

Pervasive entertainment may start with single-media – fictional story in a book or a true story in a TV documentary – yet will then spiral outwards to encompass more media platforms, more audience participation and more touchpoints (touchpoint = online and real world places where audiences come in contact with the entertainment).

Pervasive entertainment becomes a living, breathing entertainment experience that continues without you – evolving, morphing, refining, improving, growing – even when you’re not watching. But the story has you hooked. The evolution of the experience has you hooked.

You know that if you turn on your mobile device they’ll be another piece of content to grip you further; to drive you deeper. Soon you’ll become addicted; crazy for another fix: a tweet, an email, a video, a puzzle, a PDF, a link, a blog comment…

…and when the content doesn’t arrive you’ll create it yourself. You’ll feed someone else’s addiction.

Pervasive entertainment blurs the line between real-world and fictional world; between work time and play time; between author-directed plot and audience-improvised role-play.

Pervasive entertainment is transmedia storytelling evolved

This blog post is from http://www.tstoryteller.com/what-is-pervasive-entertainment

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What Makes a Good Story (From 6 Masters of the Craft)

I write and speak a lot about storytelling. Of course, my focus is the business world and helping organizations engage better with people. But when it really comes down to it, there isn’t really any difference  between stories told for a business purpose and those told otherwise. Why? Because we are all people. Businesses have a terrible habit of de-humanizing the world, of turning people into numbers and relationships into prospects. Only that doesn’t really engender trust, credibility, and loyalty, does it? Characteristics that every business wants from their customers.

No, business must treat their audience as people. They must learn to engage with them. They must learn to connect with them. Stories do that really well which is why I pound the pulpit everyday (including in this very post). Only most business marketers don’t consider themselves storytellers. They equate storytelling with Stephen King and Shakespeare, not with their craft of creating demand, building pipeline, and converting prospects.

But I think all marketers can be storytellers because, as people, we are all storytellers at heart. We may not be comfortable with it. We may not understand how to do it (i.e., the conventions). But those are surmountable obstacles.

Below is a link to a TED playlist on “how to tell a great story.” This playlist features 6 videos from 6 well known storytellers who talk about everything from cultural stories to comic books.

I’ve sampled two of them and tried to capture their key points.

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

Andrew (the guy behind Wall-E and Toy Story) explores what makes stories great. In his words, great stories “make us care.” And when we care? We have a relationship with the storyteller. Some of his key points about a great story:

  1. They should provide a promise that the story will lead somewhere. In my 9C’s of Storytelling, I refer to this as Conclusion. Any story with a good narrative arc will have a reason for existing because there is a resolution that is promised.
  2. The unifying theory of 2+2. Don’t give your audience 4. Give them 2+2. As humans, we are wired to deduce. Let them figure it out and draw their own conclusions.
  3. Characters have an itch they can’t scratch, some fundamental motivation that drives them. This is part of the 2+2, the thing that the audience has to deduce.
  4. Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty (William Archer). You story needs to construct anticipation and it needs to make the audience want to know what happens next.
  5. Storytelling has guidelines, not hard, fast rules.
  6. Wonder is the “secret sauce” of great stories. Wonder is honest. It’s innocent. It can’t be artificially created.

The mystery box, by J.J. Abrams

  1. Abrams (yeah, that Lost guy amongst other epic blockbuster movies) talks about mystery and why it’s so important in stories. And he rambles a a bit but he has some very salient ideas.
  2. Good stories (like StarWars) are a series of questions that continue to lead the audience towards the conclusion.
  3. Intentionally withholding information is much more engaging. This is similar to Andrew Stanton’s second point (the unifying theory of 2+2) and his fourth point about anticipation.
  4. Technology enables storytelling. It provides us possibilities to tell a story in any way, shape, or form. Technology has become part of the storytelling.

Image courtesy of www.endinghunger.org

This post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/11/07/what-makes-a-good-story-from-6-masters-of-the-craft/

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Small Town Tourism and Transmedia Storytelling

Small towns around America have histories that offer a foundation for transmedia storytelling to bring in visitors and customers for local retailers. The Roswell Experience is a location-based story told across 32 locations in Roswell, New Mexico which uses a fictional alien, Vrillon, to introduce visitors to the area’s rich history.

The video and presentation below showcase the work of Airhart Media of Roswell, New Mexico and how Conducttr was used to support this new form of local, interactive storytelling. We finish the presentation with some advice for other small towns and transmedia storytellers thinking about creating location-based stories and games.

See the video about Roswell Transmedia Storytelling Experience

You may check also a presentation about the Roswell Case Study

This blogpost is from www.tstoryteller.com/small-town-tourism-and-transmedia-storytelling

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3 Transmedia Tactics for Creating Compelling Audience Experiences

This is a guest post form Krishna Stott. Krishna is a technology and story pioneer. He runs Bellyfeel, a leading provider of information and consultancy for traditional media producers who want to expand their audience and increase profits using new devices and platforms.

As a creator, producer and consultant of Transmedia I draw heavily on the media that got me excited when I was a kid. Movies, TV, Music and Books.

Some of those things don’t exist anymore; VHS, vinyl, cassette – but the feelings are still there.

Analogue vs Digital

Those analogue and physical formats were big influences on me and I can’t help thinking that digital is not as rewarding – so you have to try harder as a creator.

As a kid, I would salivate like a starving dog in anticipation of the next 7” single from the Buzzcocks or the Clash. After a Saturday trip to town to buy the shiny black disc in a full color sleeve, I would be vibrating with pleasure on the bus home. Then the joy of popping on the turntable, dropping the needle and experiencing the music.

I would pore over the sleeve for clues as to what my heroes were saying with this latest slice of pop culture. And getting a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ was really exciting – if you could hear the band talking in the intro or outro, or even a distant ‘1 2 3 4 !’ – this was a massive bonus.

Instant Pop Culture

Digital is all about QUICK – NOW – NO WAITING. That’s not good or bad – it’s just how it is – but instant doesn’t mean better.

And digital gives many more options for creativity and business. But more options doesn’t mean better quality experiences.

In a way, you now have a bigger palette for storytelling but the paint is thinner and the picture comes out not as bright or vivid. (Which is ironic because digital is perceived as being brighter and clearer than analogue media.)

So how do you evoke the kinds of feelings that get today’s audience hooked and wanting more, more, more.

Ignite Your Audience With These Transmedia Tactics

I have been creating Digital, Interactive and Transmedia stories for 15 years now. In that time I have picked up a few useful tricks. Here are 3 Transmedia Tactics you can use to ensure your audience gets very excited about your story experience.

1 – Fan Allegiance.

In the old days this meant joining a fan club by mail or reading the weeklies to keep track of their progress – today you can make it easy for fans to connect and take them along with you (and your story) at very low cost, on a global scale.

Do you know the famous Transmedia campaign “Why So Serious?”. This campaign for the “Dark Knight” film had over 10 million fans all following and joining in the actions around the world. Make your content meaningful to your audience and aim for 10 million global fans!

2 – Anticipation.

Once the audience is hooked in, make them wait a while! Then reward them – this will get them chomping at the bit. Don’t make it so easy for the audience – if your story is good enough it will be worth waiting for.

There was a very early interactive web campaign for the 1997 film “The Game” which actually refused entry to lots of people. This was a completely counter intuitive tactic at the time but a genius one IMHO. Make the audience wait… make them wait and then give them…

3 – WOW! Moments.

Although digital storytelling relies on systems for delivery – when telling stories you have to break out of the systems every now and then to create big WOW! Moments.

Remember a film called “The Crying Game”? Watch this film if you don’t know what a WOW! Moment is. Get the audience to expect the unexpected from your story!

These 3 Transmedia Tactics are highly effective in turning your audience into rabid fans – and your audience had better be hot under the collar as the competition for attention is ferocious these days.

This blog post is from  www.tstoryteller.com/three-transmedia-tactics-for-creating-compelling-audience-experiences

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Why Storytelling is So Important to Marketing

In relation with my article Transmedia Storytelling as the future of digital marketing, a lot of the thinking behind it was related to my work at Limelight Networks and our recent pivot towards becoming the leader in digital presence management. The gist was this: our emerging multi-device behavior coupled with a growing “always on” existence requires that marketing messages are consistent across the devices. Transmedia storytelling is simply a vehicle by which to enable that.

But that brings up the question, “why storytelling?”

A (Brief) Understanding of Stories

Why do we love stories? Why do we like to tell them? Why do we like to listen to them, watch them, and read them? Aristotle believed that they embodied fundamental, visceral responses to our own lives so we watched them as a reflection of us. But he felt that plot, and the ability to create a powerful structure, are more important than character or dialogue: “…every drama alike has spectacle, character, plot, diction, song and reasoning. But the most important of them is the structure of the events” (Poetics). What Aristotle didn’t consider was the personification of the events and the environment. When there is only an event, the event itself becomes the character. In essence, Aristotle had it correct, but he didn’t quite understand why. It is only through decades and centuries of philosophical, neurological, and psychological inquiry that we understand the human need to personify, to make things relate to ourselves (egotistically, of course). And, that is ultimately why we enjoy them. They provide us a mechanism to create connection and, ultimately, shape our own identities (a topic that I explored deeply during my graduate studies and hope to return to for my doctorate). What will throw you for a loop is to consider that everything we do in life, every bit of news, every bit of memory and photograph, is a story that we shape to our own needs (either to support who we are, through both negative and positive connotation, or what we want to do). It goes back to that connection. Whether we watch or act, our brains actively work to create a connection between what’s happening in the story and our own identities.

The Impact of Stories on Marketing

According to Maslow, there is a hierarchy of needs that drive all human motivation. In a commercial economy, those needs are often actualized by purchases. So you purchase base necessities first (the physiological needs according to Maslow) and then eventually luxuries, etc. Although I think Maslow’s work needs a revisit, it’s a fair framework. It’s possible that the digital world upsets those hierarchies and that long-term modification is in order. But, whatever aspect of the hierarchy comes first, influence is critical especially in a highly competitive commercial market (i.e., a global digital economy). There are simply too many products (and too many merchants selling the same products) that without influence, failure is pre-determined.

How then can a marketer create the most influence? How do they stand out from competitive products (and competitive merchants)? Easy. They create an emotional connection between the potential customer and the product/company.

Why the World of Marketing Today is So Different Than Before

The economy is globalizing. Plain and simple. Here’s why:

  • E-commerce. Anyone, anywhere in the world can setup a shop online and sell products.
  • Global logistics. UPS, DHL, Fedex. These and other companies have established a worldwide distribution network.
  • Product digitization. Mobile applications, desktop software, music, movies, books.

Because of this global economy, traditional “spray and pray” marketing no longer works. In the past, regional and physical boundaries minimized product competition. There may have been only several product competitors in any given area. That no longer applies. In the global, digital economy, competitors can appear overnight. Boundaries are removed. Companies that once benefited from “spray and pray” in local or regionalized markets find themselves now competing with hundreds of competitors simultaneously. Hoping that marketing messages get heard ensures that they don’t.

Today, marketers are intrinsically worried about the “noise:” all those other messages about similar products, and so they seek any way to set themselves apart. The way to do that most effectively is by creating an emotional connection with the customer. By telling a story.

A Message That’s not a Message

Marketers as storytellers are doing something fundamentally different than marketers of before: they are focusing on establishing a connection between customer and message first and selling the product second. They are telling a story in which the product or service is an element. Perhaps it is the catalyst for change (i.e., a character in the story uses the product and is changed for the better or worse) or perhaps it helps move the story along. Whatever, the product or service only serves a role. The story is primary.

And, because of that, the message sounds more genuine. Although consumers ultimately understand that the message is intended to convince them to buy the product or service, they are emotionally connected to the characters (or the “action” of the story in the event that such action is personified) because it is a story. They see the character as a representation of their own needs (back to Maslow). Because that character uses the product, the need is transferred. Of course, this works in both directions. When there is a negative association with the characters within the message, the character’s needs for the product (i.e., how they are using it) become a reason not to purchase.

Why Transmedia Storytelling Will Be the Most Impactful

Which leads us back to Transmedia Storytelling. In 1964, Marshal McLuhan coined a phrase: “The medium is the message.” Although I won’t go into details here (there are plenty of resource that explain McLuhan’s philosophy), the basic tenant is that how the message is delivered has just as much impact as the content of the message itself. So a message delivered via a movie versus via a written page versus  still images affects the message which is hugely important when trying to create an emotional connection between the customer and the characters in the story. And, mediums are multi-dimensional. So video on a mobile is still different from video on TV just as video on a flip-phone is different from video on a smartphone. It is critically important that marketers understand how McLuhan’s original philosophy is impacted by the digital world. He never foresaw the number of channels and methods by which a message can get delivered.

Why is this important? It goes back to creating connection. Some customers will find appeal in certain messages delivered via certain channels. That’s what McLuhan was truly after. To appeal to the broadest set of customers, then, marketers must craft stories that take advantage of their mediums. Ultimately, you can call it whatever you want. Right now we have Transmedia Storytelling. Tomorrow it may be another term. Regardless of the name, it’s a framework for marketers to tell stories that leverage the medium by which the message is delivered (i.e., TV vs phone) and in which the message is delivered (i.e., videos vs. text vs. pictures, etc.).

 This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/08/31/why-storytelling-is-so-important-to-marketing/

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How to measure transmedia experiences

We’re delighted to be working with Eefje Op den Buysch, Head of the Fontys Transmedia Storytelling Lab and Hille van der Kaa, professor of the professorship of Media, Interaction and Narration at Fontys School of Applied Sciences in the exciting and much needed area of audience engagement as it applies to transmedia storytelling.

Below is Eefje & Hille’s “flyer” for their talk at the Conducttr Conference where they’ll be presenting their findings. Our plan is to incorporate this work into Conducttr so that we present a meaningful dashboard with actionable insights rather than a simple series of charts.

How do you measure transmedia? What metrics will help transmedia producers better understand, compare and contrast the impact of a transmedia story?

In this research we analyzed existing engagement models and added the insights of twelve leading transmedia experts in attempt to come closer to a final solution.

Measuring engagement means placing audience size into a broader context of how the transmedia production is actually performing. Stakeholders in the production get to see where, how and when fan engage so that refinements can be made.

In this research we choose to focus on the goals of the storyteller.

We propose a model that can be used to create and give direction to a transmedia production team of writers and performers. Twelve leading transmedia experts evaluated this so-called ‘Toggle Switch’ model.

Toggle Switch Model

We see three important aspects of a transmedia production:

  • the storyworld
  • the individual audience member’s behavior in comparison to others
  • the experience of the storyworld at various stages of the audience journey.

Audience members who interact with the world are considered to be engaged users. By tracking the behavior of individual users we can map how they discover the world and how they interact with it over time: each time a user touches something in the storyworld, we record it. By listing all these ‘points of interaction’ and structuring them into chapters, scenes and beats, we can track the journey and hotspots of engagement for individual users as they progress through the story.

The key benefit of our conceptual model is that the behavior of an individual user can be compared to others. In doing so, we can interpret the relative engagement of an individual user compared to others (as a ratio) at certain points of interaction (touchpoints, chapters, scenes, beats). By tracking the user journey the storyteller gets actionable insights on the behavior of that individual, but also on the behavior of groups of users.

Evaluating Toggle Switch Model

We asked twelve leading experts to evaluate the clarity, completeness, affectivity, applicability and benefit of our model.  Amongst them are Sam Ford (Peppercomm, New York, NY), Dr. Pamela Rutledge (Media Psychology Research Center, Boston, MA), Bart Robben (Elastique, Hilversum, NL), Egbert van Wyngaarden (Transmedia Desk, Munich, DE) and Soraia Ferreira (UT Austin, Porto, PT)

Participants found our model interesting, allowing the ability to track both individual and overall journeys and providing the opportunity to adjust the strategy during the campaign. But they were doubtful that this model could measure real emotions. Based on the insights of our expert panel, we have improved our model and we are excited to share these results at the Conductrr Conference.

We aim to present an engagement model that can be easily integrated in the daily activities of a transmedia storyteller.

About this research

This research is conducted by Eefje Op den Buysch, Head of the Fontys Transmedia Storytelling Lab and Hille van der Kaa, professor of the professorship of Media, Interaction and Narration at Fontys School of Applied Sciences. 15 students at the Fontys Transmedia Storytelling lab run the interviews.

Fontys’ Transmedia Storytelling Lab was designed for the research and development of transmedia productions and their value in the digital age. The professorship of Media, Interaction and Narration aims to develop innovative media concepts. It puts focus on the influence of technology on storytelling.

Check out the PDF here

“This model is designed to be able to track individuals and in what way each person travels through the narrative world… It gives storytellers the possibility to understand which particular parts of the story serve the right purpose.” – Sam Ford

“It is a very clear way of starting to break down the transmedia experience. By looking at ways of measuring these multiple threads of behavior to try and make sense out of them in a hole.”– Dr. Pamela Rutledge 

 This blogpost is from http://www.tstoryteller.com/how-to-measure-transmedia-experiences