Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Transmedia for Companies


This post I’ll keep short and to the point. It’s my thoughts about how companies can benefit from utilizing transmedia storytelling; not only when it comes to marketing a product or a service, but also when it comes to the company itself.

There are many companies that think about transmedia and use transmedia storytelling to break through into the consciousness of the masses – Audi’s "Art of the Heist" comes to mind – and do so successfully. There are others who look to transmedia storytelling to help them accomplish other things, such as Cisco, with their salesperson-targeting "The Hunt" campaign. There are yet others, often with pretty impressive muscle, who think deeply about new forms of storytelling and new ways to grown nearer to customers. Coca Cola’s ”2020” vision is a prime example.





But the use of transmedia storytelling methods doesn’t have to stop there. Neither does it have to be companies the size of Audi, Coca Cola or Cisco who look to transmedia to help them evolve. Transmedia storytelling methods can be of tremendous use to anyone in any field.

An example: a colleague pointed me in the direction of Black Milk Clothing. It’s a good design brand with interesting creations, yet what makes me remember them is the story on their About page. In short, it’s a brilliant read about how Black Milk came to be, the story of the man behind it and his passion from years back, about not giving up and about succeeding through brilliance and perseverence.

This, in effect, goes beyond mere branding. It is the mythology, the story world of Black Milk Clothing. With this mythology as a foundation, if they decide to connect to their customers on a deeper level they have a wealth of entry points to work with and choose from. Do a competition about who can design the best re-design of the first creations of the creator. Create an app which is a replica of the stands where he tried to sell his first creations, where customers can trade second-hand items of the brand… these opportunities, and many more, spring from the mythology sketchily written on one web page.

It doesn’t end there though. Black Milk’s mythology gives the company something to point to to any future employee – ”this is where we come from, this is who we are!” – or collaborators. It’s their gene pool, basically.  It’s a true story (I assume), but as with all mythologies, it could be embellished, as long as the different new parts do not conflict with the earlier core parts.

This then is something that can be accomplished by just about any company. White books and Rules of the Company and such documents are all well and good, but they seldom tell much of the core of the company, the stories it’s built on, the future it might hold. It's also much too common to merely look ahead, when looking back from time to time can help with directions, ideas and future entry points.

Tell your company’s story. Not just with words, but also with deeds. No one tells a rulebook onwards. A good story, now that’s another thing.

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