Is Transmedia Just Another Online Marketing Buzzword?

November 11, 2010

By Katie
A few of us at Metis attended an event last month about transmedia. (The event was called “Your Life Will Be A Transmedia Experience (It Already Is)” as part of the FutureM events calendar.) With all of the hype around “next-gen online marketing,” I even consider “buzzword” a buzzword. But at this event, we learned that while transmedia as a buzzword might pass quickly, the key concept behind it is already an integral part of the online marketing evolution. In fact, some say it's unavoidable to live a transmedia life.
Metis won Transmedia Bingo!
We track buzzwords like it's our job.
The event speakers discussed weaving transmedia into client storytelling, and this resonated with us. Storytelling is something that we do well. Very well. Transmedia storytelling implies that you invade the audience's lifestyle and how they consume content.
Going into this session (and especially looking at the examples provided and in the above Bingo game), consumer-facing uses of transmedia seemed to make the most sense.
For instance, “Mad Men” (let's not get into just how much Metis loves watching Mad Men) and other shows have taken to Twitter to expand the viewing experience for fans. Fans can catch Don Draper's real-time tweets – entirely new character development adjacent to the episode. This is an empowering way for viewers to become a part of the story and creates different entry points to potentially attract new viewers via a medium other than television. Sure, we love to watch Don pour Roger Sterling a cocktail (it's 5 p.m. somewhere, right fellas?) and simultaneously learn through Twitter whether that cocktail is gin or vodka, but we're also interested in what this means to Metis and our clients.
As transmedia leaders tell us, forget the channel. Forget the messaging. Forget your tagline. What narrative is going to reach your customers and make them remember you, follow you and become a part of your story?
As we've discussed many times, the game of public relations is always evolving, thanks to social networks and the real-time Web. Transmedia is essentially part of the new age of PR: relating to your audience and not just throwing content on the wall to see what sticks. We must be more dynamic than that.
Storytelling takes patience and nurturing. It's not a direct-marketing tactic. We propel the story across multiple platforms. We watch trends, and we adapt in order to be successful. So, you could say we cared about transmedia long before it was ever defined.

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