Transmedia storytelling in marketing

Gone are the days of consumers getting most of their content from television, newspaper and sometimes computers. With new technologies such as smartphones and tablets consumers are now accessing content from numerous different devices, often times simultaneously. This change requires a new approach from marketers.

Storytelling in marketing has been around for a very long time but now due to all the different devices marketers are required to provide this story consistently over all of these medias, this is transmedia storytelling.

Devices and consumer's usage
Devices and consumer’s usage

Differentiated consistency

A consistent experience through all medias does not mean having the same advertisement on every device, the key to transmedia story telling is have differentiated consistency. This means each media has its own segment of the story that can stand on its own, while still giving depth to the story as a whole. Because each device brings its own unique strengths it is important to incorporate these into each experience to give a different perspective on the story. Have fun making the most of what each device brings to the table and as a result your consumers will have fun too.

How does it work?

To help show you how an effective transmedia storytelling approach to marketing is executed I will use Australian insurance comparing website Comparethemarket.com.au as an example. Their campaign started as a television advertisement staring a meerkat who complained of everyone going to his website ‘compare the meerkat’ looking for health insurance instead of ‘compare the market’. Numerous ads were made based of this idea featuring the meerkats and their antics.

Compare the market advertisement campaign
Compare the market advertisement campaign

This advertisement was then developed into a transmedia story by creating the ‘compare the meerkat’ website where consumers can immerse themselves in the story with background history on the meerkats featured in the ad as well blog updates, videos, name generators, social media pages and mobile apps all contributing and adding depth to the story and allowing the consumer to engage with the story. I recommend checking it out here to experience if for yourself.

If you want to check out some more example of transmedia storytelling this site provides numerous examples.

Why use transmedia storytelling?

Click here to see the full infographic
Click here to see the full infographic

You might be asking, why go to all this trouble? A consumer’s time and attention is the most valuable thing in terms of marketing. To gain this attention a marketing campaign has to be engaging and interactive, as this is what the consumers value most. Having a transmedia story that the consumer can engage with in numerous different forms is the most effective way to get their attention, and most importantly, keep it. Also as seen in the case of compare the market, these campaigns can be extended much longer than a regular campaign by simply adding more information to the story. They also have a lot better chance of becoming viral through positive word of mouth and are often the most successful.

With new technology coming out every year it is important for marketers to employ transmedia storytelling and provide a unique experience utilising all these devices. Doing this will strengthen an advertisement campaign and provide a much more positive experience for consumers.

So what do you think? Is transmedia storytelling the most effective form of marketing? Do you have any examples of transmedia storytelling done successfully? Let us know in the comments below!

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