Transmedia: it’s about the story, not the tools

Transmedia: it’s about the story, not the tools

The term “transmedia” has become the handle for storytelling with some kind of video or interactive component. But transmedia storytelling is really more about the story itself, not the tools that are used to tell it.

The panelists at “Transmedia Storytelling for Brands,” a panel sponsored by the San Francisco chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (SF IABC) earlier in January, emphasized how transmedia storytelling focuses on telling an integrated brand story across channels. A few of the big takeaways of the panel:

  • Transmedia lets brand loyalists go deeper. For people who just can’t get enough, transmedia storytelling lets brands build richer, more interactive experiences for people who want to discover and connect with a brand. As an example, IBM’s Smarter Planet website features gorgeous video narratives about innovation and discovery that inspire and entertain viewers.
  • Experiences need to be relevant to audiences. To be successful, transmedia brand stories need to not just talk at audiences, but need to involve them in ways they care about. One example of a brand that does this well is SFMade, which engages San Francisco residents in finding examples of creativity and originality throughout the city and sharing them online to win prizes and connect with artists.
  • Every story needs to start with “why.” It’s not enough to come up with funny characters or silly stories — there has to be a strategy behind the story, and a purpose for telling it. And, there needs to be a reason why brands use certain channels for certain stories, because the medium is part of the message.

Read more about the panel and download the presentation in my review on the SF IABC website.

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