In the good old days – actually, not that long ago – market development for a new product or service launch was considered to be predictable. A skilled marketing communications or PR person would contact "the media" and pitch them the same story – over, and over again.
That repetition resulted in a crescendo of editorial coverage — as that limited list of qualified journalists recited the "messaging" to their assumed to be receptive audience. Any reported market buzz was typically followed by a prolonged period of relative obscurity.
Why Cross-Media Methods Thrived
Those schooled in legacy marketing or public relations practices offered a non-solution. They would essentially perform the exact same exercise again, only this time expecting a different outcome. That wasted effort would likely generate little incremental value.
The more enlightened digital marketing practitioner would use cross-media techniques to take the same basic narrative — about the product or service attributes — and repeat it across different media. Sometimes that effort rekindled or sparked new interest in the marketplace.
How Digital Storytelling has Evolved
Today, the savvy marketer is experimenting with a more advanced approach to digital storytelling and multimedia asset development. It's inherently strategic in nature, partly because it's not an afterthought. The story-world is conceived at the very beginning of the project. It's the foundation for purposeful ongoing story development.
Transmedia storytelling is the technique of telling stories across multiple platforms and formats using current digital publishing methods – where we develop narrative across multiple forms of media, in order to deliver unique pieces of related content via our chosen channels.
These storyline threads are woven together and are in sync with each other – closely linked by the structure that was envisioned within the conceptual story-world ecosystem. Commercial non-fiction storytelling is now being transformed by this forward-thinking methodology.
When to Tell the Whole Story in Stages
Armed with a holistic view of the market potential, transmedia storytellers will design the hooks and connections for interactive engagement in the pre-production phase of content development — with the intent of creating the environment for story immersion.
By having gained the foresight of a story-world outline, you're now able to position individual characters or storyline elements within the context of an episodic story arc. You can then decide when to introduce the main narrative and the back-story ingredients to the marketplace.
Moreover, emerging social commerce practices enable your target buyers to tap the recognized market influencers — who have been exposed to your transmedia story assets — and follow their collective shared insights and trusted guidance. That's why real thought leadership is so valuable.
Where to Learn More about Transmedia
Who are the market leaders in the emerging Transmedia Content Ecosystem? How are these digital multimedia practitioners and storyworld designers applying their artistic talent in creative new cross-media or multiplatform storytelling projects? These are some of the questions that I have pondered as I share daily insights on the Transmedia Newswire.