Category: storytelling

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

Pinterest’s Promoted Pins Add Value for Tourism Marketing

Pinterest’s successful strategies for the tourism marketing industry capitalize on the “a picture is worth a thousand words” consumer mentality. Its ability to drive traffic and sales stems from its ability to provide content that users want to consume and even share with others. In fact, the value of a single pin is worth more than a tweet, and has 100 times the chance of going viral! The value of Pinterest to generating interest and sales is too large to ignore, particularly since Pinterest has announced plans to launch promoted pins, opening up new opportunities to attract customers.

Pinterest is an aspirational medium

Pinterest’s visual and aspirational nature lend itself to use by the travel industry. Destinations already have the stunning visual content that performs well on Pinterest. Consumers are searching for and sharing these beautiful pins that reflect where they would like to be, rather than where they are in the present moment. Other visual sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram showcase the past and the present (and Instagram is even coming out with a competing sponsored advertising program), but Pinterest allows users to share the places and activities that they would like to do in the future.

Because of its aspirational nature, Pinterest offers marketers the unique opportunity to influence travelers before they choose a destination. Travelers use Pinterest both for inspiration and for planning trips, giving DMOs the chance to show them where they should go and why. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that are feed-oriented and reflective of the present can’t offer the same influence as Pinterest. Destinations can put themselves on consumers’ radars, move from awareness to bucket list status, and move from bucket list to actual travel plans all on one website! Even more exciting, marketers can see when consumers have added destinations to their consideration sets (when they pin or re-pin your content!). This powerful signal of intent to travel is difficult to uncover through any other social network.

Pinterest includes desirable, visual, shareable content

Pinterest’s addictive nature is largely due to the vast amount of incredible content that exists on the site that users actually want to consume and share with their networks. Consumers are actively searching for travel images and inspiration, which marketers can happily provide.

An important feature of Pinterest is the ability to re-pin content. Users can and often do save your content to their own boards to either share with others or keep as reminders for themselves. Over 80% of pins are re-pins. Because users will always be able to see the original source, traffic can still be driven to your own boards or to your website. Destinations should pin pictures from their website and blog so that each pin will carry a link to drive traffic back to the original site.

Pinterest has a broader audience than Twitter or Facebook, but the audience does skew towards 25 to 39 year-old women. The visual nature of the site transcends language barriers and has wide appeal to a broad base of consumers predisposed towards traveling.

Features of Pinterest for the Travel Industry

Map Feature

The map feature allows users to change the format of boards to include a map on the right side of the screen. Although the map dominates the board, reducing the space available for pins to 2 of the usual 6 columns, maps can successfully and immediately convey a sense of place and allow followers to zoom in and easily click through to pins in their desired locations. Pinterest partners with FourSquare to provide location information for pins, so it’s important to be sure your favorite locations are listed! If they haven’t been added to FourSquare’s database, add them using this simple form.

Using the map feature, destinations can share itineraries, categorized into boards by length, trip category, season, or tour package. Similarly, maps can be ideal showcases for restaurant guides, historic before and after pictures, and photo contests for destinations an organization has pinned.

Collaborative Boards

Pinterest users who are following each other can add each other as collaborators on their boards. This feature has a variety of applications, from restaurants and tour operators partnering up to collaborate on destination boards to showcase a location’s diverse offerings to DMOs reaching out to directly interact with consumers.

A great example of using collaborative boards for travel and hospitality marketing comes from the Four Seasons Hotels’ Pin-Pack-Go campaign. The hotel chain invited its followers to create a Pin.Pack.Go board on Pinterest and comment on which hotel location they planned to visit. The hotel would then follow the user on Pinterest, and when the user followed back and invited the hotel to collaborate on the board, local experts from the hotel would pin recommendations and insider advice.

New! Promoted Pins

With the upcoming launch of promoted pins, Pinterest hopes to create a a valuable way for marketers to connect with consumers. Promoted pins will blend seamlessly into Pinterest streams and be indicated only with a small icon in the bottom right corner of the pin.

Pinterest now allows marketers to reach users through a paid boost, much like other social networks. In such a visually-rich and aspirational industry, these new tools will be extremely valuable to travel and tourism marketing strategy. The hospitality and travel industries are already some of the most active on social networks, and adding promotional tools to a visually stimulating platform like Pinterest will only increase this trend. In fact, Tnooz reported that 20% of web referrals on e-commerce sites come from Pinterest, and 26% come from Pinterest’s mobile site!

This article has been  reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

InnovationMarketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

Brilliant experiential marketing for Art Museums

Cultural tourism is often associated with people with a special sensitivity towards arts and history, who account for a rather small share of the tourists or potential visitors. However, turning a rather passive activity such as watching paintings or sculptures into an immersive experience that makes the audience vibrate and transports them to a storyworld that relates to the art masterpiece, not only helps the visitors understand the significance and importance of the art piece, but also helps them enjoying it and motivates them to visit the site, search for more related sites and tell their story to their relatives and friends, creating the virtuous circle of storytelling marketing.

This is a great example to showcase how experiential marketing can be done in a public space such as a shopping mall, targeting the mainstream audience and motivating their will for visiting a local Art Museum in the Netherlands.

This other video is to promote El Prado Museum giving life to the characters of the masterpieces, bringing in another original approach into marketing Art Museums.

Business trendsMarketing 3.0storytellingStrategyTourism marketing

Tourism Marketing with Instagram

Instagram is nothing new – it’s long been one of our favorite social media platforms – but it still lags behind other tourism marketing tools. Don’t neglect this simple app that offers huge potential. Photos are a big part of travel marketing, and this humble app specializes in nothing else so there is no reason it shouldn’t be part of your tourism marketing plan.

But where should you get started? Luckily, Instagram is a very straightforward platform. Here are a few tourism players who are doing great things on Instagram, and some quick lessons we can learn from their success.

Highlight User-Generated Content

Why does Australia always make our lists of the best of the best? Because they are terrific tourism marketers. But don’t be fooled – you don’t have to have a huge budget like Australia to see results. In fact, Australia’s Instagram success does not come from employing hoards of photographers. Instead, Australia came up with an innovative way to crowd source their photos. Their entire social media strategy is aimed at enabling fans to build upon their platforms, like Instagram. They essentially turned their fans into marketers. Now, they receive 900 photo submissions each day and choose the best 4-5 photos to share with their 600,000+ Instagram followers.

Pay Attention to Hashtags

If you feel a little overwhelmed, step back and focus on doing one thing really well. Instagram has a variety of common hashtags that encourage sharing among users. The most popular one, by far, is #tbt or #throwbackthursday where users post older photos on Thursday. Within the tourism world, nobody does #tbt better than Delta. In fact, most of their Instagram content is throwback photos from the earlier days of the airline. Your photos don’t have to be new and shiny. It can be a great marketing tool to reflect on the nostalgia of a different time – especially since so many people have vivid travel memories. It also inadvertently emphasizes the long tradition of your brand and highlights innovation over time.

Throwback Thursday isn’t the only hashtag around either. Read here for a list of other great daily hashtags, and don’t forget to pay attention to current trends. Specific hashtags pop up all the time to celebrate events, holidays, and other happenings.

Don’t Neglect Other Aspects of Your Brand

Yes, gorgeous travel photos are an easy sell on Instagram, but don’t neglect to highlight other aspects of your brand. Everything can’t be photos of sunsets or beaches! And those won’t necessarily help your brand or destination stand out in the crowd. Virgin America has found creative ways to highlight other aspects of the traveler experience. Their Instagram feed is full of passengers and cabin crew doing everything but taking themselves too seriously. Their photos help display the mood of the airline by emphasizing people and candid moments over scenery and posed shots. They always look like they are having fun, which is a huge feat for a company that deals in an area of travel most people consider to be a pain.

Virgin also runs some great contests, like this social media one from 2013. They offered 15 minutes of free in-flight wifi for Twitter, Instagram & Vine and encouraged passengers to use these social media platforms & a specific Virgin American hashtag to enter to win airline points. The easier you make it for users to interact with your social media (free wifi!), the more results you’ll see.

Educate Your Audience

Instagram isn’t just about gathering likes and follows. Like all social media platforms, the ultimate goal is to grow your audience and generate more customers. Sharing beautiful images is a great way to showcase your destination and inspire future visitors, but it’s also important to help nudge them down your sales funnel. You want them to go from aspiring traveler to actual traveler.

One way you can help this process is by focusing on educating your audiences with key pieces of information. This will also help set your destination apart. I know this is a huge need in tourism marketing because I had to look outside the travel world for a good example.

NASA’s Goddard Space Center does an outstanding job of marrying their breathtaking images with equally intriguing information. Each photo helps inform the viewer with interesting facts, tidbits and stories. You can do the same thing with your travel-minded audience. Rather than share a photo of a lake with only its name and location, mention a unique fact about it. Maybe it’s great for fishing or swimming. Maybe it hosts an annual festival. Maybe it’s a hidden gem that most visitors would be surprised to learn is easily accessed from a nearby hub city.

You should still try to be concise, but by adding one extra sentence, you can help move your traveler from the dreaming to planning stage of travel.

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

storytellingTourism marketing

A benchmark life-changing experience: The Santiago Way

When it comes to think about life-changing experiences to showcase one of the intended missions of destinations 3.0, there’s no other like the Santiago Way. This is an old pilgrimage in the North of Spain that takes place since the middle age times. Starting in St. Jean Pied de Port, the last village in France before entering Spain through the Pyrenees mountain range, it has almost 800km, which usually take a month to be walked.

The Way ends in Santiago de Compostela, where the relics of St. James have moved people from all over Europe to do this pilgrimage for centuries. Nowadays people continue to do it, although not always for religious motivations. It is overall a spiritual journey, in which the real goal is not really to make it to Santiago but to connect with your soul and often challenge it to make a leap forward. It is also a journey to create new relationships, open people’s mindset and people’s heart, and rediscover everyone’s human authenticity. People from all countries, all ages and social conditions live together for a few days or weeks in the same conditions, facing very similar problems and concerns, and thus building mutual understanding and cross-cultural brotherhood.

The Way is a great but simple scenario where thousands of stories are created and inspired every year. This video shows a great story of friendship and challenge overcoming that took place there. Enjoy!

Business trendsInnovationstorytellingTourism marketingTourism trends

Inspiration for Mixed Reality projects

This article has been written by Robert Pratten, CEO of Conducttr and expert on Transmedia storytelling.

Over the years, we’ve been experimenting with the possibilities of combining storytelling and mixed reality elements. Here are some projects, tutorials or videos that show how Conducttr blends the digital with the physical.

voice assistants

Voice assistants

Create an Alexa skill that will trigger Conducttr and request information

How to create your Alexa Skill

virtual reality

Virtual reality

“Meet Lucy” is a VR experience that adapts the story depending on the prior interaction with characters in social media

Learn more about “Meet Lucy”

buttons

Buttons

Create physical triggers for any project using AWS buttons, that identify single, double and long clicks

Set up your AWS button

lighting

Lighting

Home automation can be used creatively for storytelling. Philips Hue is just an example on how lights can enhance your project.

See how Conducttr controls Philips Hue

sockets

Sockets

Connect your story to the physical space having Conducttr control SMS or Wifi sockets.

See SMS sockets in action

bluetooth beacons

Bluetooth beacons

Beacons detect the position of certain devices and trigger contents for your story

See how beacons are used in military training

Arduino

Arduino

Raspberry Pi and Arduino can communicate with the Conducttr engine using our Open API.

See how an Scalextric is moved by online conversation

NFCtags

NFC tags

Stickers with NFC tag can convert any object in the digital space into triggers for your story.

Get inspired with NFC cards used for wargaming
Make your book or comic interactive through NFC scanning

location based

Location-based

Your story can move forward when your audience is located in a specific place. Trigger using matchwords, QR codes or NFC tags.

Learn how to build a scavenger hunt

phone numbers

Phone numbers

Integrate SMS and real phone calls into your story, to personalize the story to the individual

Try a branching video story using SMS and calls
Experience a survival game on SMS

for everything else API

For everything else… API

Wearables, DIY projects and integration with other platforms can be achieved by Conducttr API methods and actions.

This article has been reposted with permission from http://www.tstoryteller.com/inspiration-for-mixed-reality-projects

storytellingTourism marketingTourism trends

Envisioning Mixed Reality in tourism destinations

Having seen how Augmented reality and Alternate reality technologies can help developing new cutting edge experiences and marketing strategies, it is now time to see what Mixed Reality Technology can bring to the tourism industry. This is the most complex of all, and so there are just a few examples to help us envision how this Technology may be leveraged to develop tourism experiences.

As it is defined in Wikipedia, “Mixed Reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. Mixed reality not only takes place in the physical or the virtual world, but it is a hybrid of reality and virtual reality, encompassing both augmented reality and augmented virtuality via immersive Technology. Whereas Augmented Reality overlays virtual objects on the real world environment, Mixed Reality not just overlays but anchors virtual objects to the real world objects and allows the user to interact with combined virtual-real objects”.

Due to its sophistication and high cost, this Technology is not recommendable for all the experience prototypes proposed for Augmented reality, but specially for edutainment (educational entertainment) experiences related to old heritage site, which usually require too much imagination to understand how life used to be in these places during its Golden times. By overlaying the current site real images with the virtual ones, we get an accurate idea of the original scenario to help us having an immersive experience to the history of the site, almost like a Time Machine would.

This video shows us an excellent example on how Mixed reality can create edutainment experiences, namely in old heritage sites that have lost many of its assets, so to help us imagine how these sites used to be in the old times in the most realistic possible way.

 

Business trendsCo-creationCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovation

Envisioning Alternate Reality Games for marketing destinations

Unlike Augmented Reality Games, Alternate Reality Games (ARG) are not mobile based but transmedia based and much cheaper to create. ARG cannot be explicitly a marketing product, but rather a marketing strategy, which turns into an experience itself and could be indirectly considered as a marketing product, so long as they are usually free although sometimes they end up involving some business too. They stand out by offering best practices in collaborative learning and problem solving, having been object of attention by scholars, private and public organizations for that reason. ARG design requires many different skills, and there are actually several profiles matching that role, such as storytellers, web designers, and puzzle creators, to shortlist the main ones.

ARG deny the difference between the real and the game world. Actually, the game takes place for those who discover that something is going on in the real world beyond the obvious, by identifying some codified information and decodifying it to figure the clues to start playing. Another unique feature of ARG is that there is no other marketing than word of mouth from players, who look for other players to help them in tackling the game’s challenges. These games rely on knowledge sharing among players to solve the challenges and use the internet as a platform for sharing knowledge, although the game uses all types of media to provide the information to the players. The game works like an interactive networked narrative using the real world as the game board and many different media channels to deliver clues and the story that is eventually co-created by the organizers and the players.

The games are driven by a story that takes place in real time and is developed through the contribution and reaction of the players. The story characters are controlled by the game designers –unlike computer games, where characters are controlled by artificial intelligence- and interact with players, solving plot-based challenges and puzzles through collaboration by analyzing the story and coordinating real-life and online activities. Players discover the story researching just as archeologists would, as the story is split into pieces throughout the media channels to challenge players in connecting those story pieces to make a coherent narrative. The game uses players’ real live as the platform, players not being required to build a character other than themselves. The game designers control most of the story but leave some room for contribution to the players, who end up being co-creators of the story to some extent. Furthermore, so long as the game evolves demanding more complex challenges, players need to recruit new co-players with specific skills or expertise. ARG have become a genre of gaming themselves, not just a one-time occurrence, as it appeared to be at first.

ARG are usually free to play, using various kinds of revenue sources such as supporting products or marketing deals with existing products. In the case of tourism, the price to pay would be that associated to visiting the destination, without discarding other sources such as marketing deals with brands that want to be associated with the destination brand to target players as potential customers. Actually, after the first successful ARG had appeared, many corporations started regarding such games as a potential marketing strategy to promote their business as an innovative and fan-friendly strategy. So far, the major trends regarding the funding strategy for large-scale ARGs are the development of game-branded products and also fees for participation in the game.

Curiously, beyond the games created for fun only purposes, the so called “Serious ARG” have also emerged, consisting of the same structure and functioning way but with a real-world problem as a driving challenge instead of a fictional one. The first one –World Without Oil– was centered about the vision of a world with shortage of oil, and others such as Tomorrow Calling tackle many environmental issues. This type of ARG approaches the idea –ingrained in the Vision of Tourism 3.0- of open innovation for tackling the social and environmental challenges, so long as ARGs are focused on collaborative problem solving, leveraging the collective intelligence, knowledge and imagination to design innovative solutions. The “Serious ARG” approach works as a marketing strategy to attract and engage contributors through the shape of a game.

So far, the ARG phenomenon has already reached millions of players in more than 177 countries, who participate both online and in live events in the streets. There is even an award at IndieCade for games that have a social message, shift the social perception of games as a medium, represent a new play paradigm, expand the audience or influence culture.

Moreover, there have been organized some ARG directly related to the tourism industry. In 2008, the American Art Museum organised an ARG called Ghosts of a Chance encouraging players to find new ways to engage with their art collection, attracting more than 6000 participants over six weeks. At the same year, McDonald’s and the International Olympic Committee launched an ARG to promote the Summer Olympics of Beijing, facilitating the participation of players from different countries running the game in 6 languages, and encouraging players to share information and interact with fellow co-players overseas. They used a sport celebrity as Game Master to promote the game and promised to donate US$ 100,000 to charity at the end of the game on behalf of players.

Prototypes such as those presented for Augmented Reality Games could be useful for Alternate Reality Games, namely the “Worldwide ARG tournament calendar”, the “Film story or local legend based game”, and mostly the “Collaborative challenge based game”, without discarding other options. Rather, inspiration should come from the “Serious ARGs” focused on tackling real-world challenges.

The ARG can therefore become a good strategy to find and engage new targets, neutralize tourism demand seasonality and also create long lasting positive impacts both for the visitors –through the life-changing experience provided by the game itself- and for the destination, so long as the game challenge is related to some of the social or environmental concerns of the destination stakeholders.

Business trendsCo-creationEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0storytelling

Envisioning Augmented Reality Games in destinations

Following up with the previous article on Augmented reality (AR), where many key ideas were introduced, this one is to envision further storyliving and gaming experiences based on Augmented Reality.

Creating an Augmented Reality gaming experience is quite a daunting task, so long as the digital content overlays the real world, a suitable scenario is needed to match with the game and its digital content. So, ideally, the game has to be based to some extent on the tangible or intangible (stories, traditions, etc.) heritage of the destination to make it meaningful and effective as a marketing strategy. The game can work as a tool to educate players in the destination history as well as to move them to take action in contributing to some of the local challenges.

For tourism destinations 3.0, the challenge of destination based Augmented Reality games is not only to draw the attention of many visitors, but also to offer them a life-changing edutainment experience that allows them to develop new skills on collaborative problem-solving, conflict resolution, critical thinking, negotiation, mindfulness, etc. Ideally, the game should be designed for many participants to play at the same time in order to make them interact and develop some of these skills.

Further, other relevant features to be considered in such games would be many constraints related to the social and environmental concerns and challenges, to raise awareness and address them to some extent, also awaking the players’ human spirit and turning it into a life-changing experience.

Let’s envision some prototypes:

  1. Worldwide AR game tournament calendar: Imagine a game that is going on globally and so takes place in several destinations sequentially, as it happens with many professional sports tournament calendar, so to attract gamers to each of the destinations participating in the game.
  2. Film story or local legend based AR game: Imagine gamers playing the characters of a film or series broadcasted in a destination, or from a local legend where they can create their own story collaboratively based on the same characters or adding some new ones, in the same scenario.
  3. Videogame based AR game: Imagine using a popular videogame to create an AR game attracting many of its fan players to the destination to play their own character or some of the existing characters in the physical scenario of the destination. This is compatible with Type 1.
  4. Collaborative challenge based AR game: Imagine an AR game to turn a collaborative challenge -such as an environmental or social challenge- into a game to further engage many players and make them become contributors. Making things fun helps both attracting and engaging unusual contributors.

Although it does not incorporate Augmented reality, Geocaching  is a good example to showcase what a multiplayer mobile phone based game can be. Foursquare is an example to showcase collaborative contribution through the mobile phone related to tourism destinations, although it is not a game nor it has AR.

At present, Augmented reality is mainly based on the mobile screen showing the view of its camera and displaying the related digital content, but in the near future it will merge with alternate reality as long as the wearable technology becomes more widespread. This will allow enhanced versions of the games, more complex and also more immersive for the player.

Business trendsMarketing 3.0storytellingStrategyTourism marketing

How Pokemon Go can inspire tourism experiences: envisioning augmented reality in destinations (I)

As many of you already know Pokemon Go is one of the most popular Augmented reality games, where a fiction world with many kinds of monsters overlays the real world through the smartphone screen. No matter how unreal do the monsters appear to be, game players end up behaving as if they were real, as fiction and reality merge in their minds.

Somehow, the augmented reality game creates a new reality overlaying the real that gets players to act in the way the game wants them to. It is therefore interesting to imagine how this game could be reframed or just how this technology could be used to move players to take action on a more meaningful purpose such as contribution to a social or environmental challenge. So long as we make sense of the world through stories, creating or using an existing story and developing an Augmented reality game to let the individuals become an active part of the story may turn out to be a truly powerful tourism experience.

Moreover, so long as the story and the game are focused on a mission related to social or environmental concerns, they end up being a very creative and effective way to move people to take action in favor of such concerns. As we have read in previous articles, stories that have a message and inspire contribution are like intangible gold, and Augmented reality games can make them even more powerful to create the desired impact.

Stories can be leveraged from legends, novels, films, history and may serve as a framework to create a gaming experience, especially for the younger generations who are keener on digital game playing, as a conveyor to learn history or sciences of the environment, for instance. In the case of theme parks, amusement parks, zoos, and other themed leisure and entertainment attractions, Augmented reality games should rather be inspired by videogames with characters related to the theme.

Needless to say, such games should be limited to car free areas, so long as the players usually lose sight of the “physical reality” and so become unaware of the real dangers, namely vehicles. In the first case, related to historical or environmental heritage, the game ground could be a monumental area, an old town, a preserved area (natural park) or even a museum.

The upcoming articles are to bring more insights about Augmented reality, Alternate reality and Mixed reality as drivers for destination experiences.

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

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:

rethinkeverything

(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/