The production and marketing of transmedia content
In transmedia marketing strategy, it is necessary to have a core story crafted for a certain audience, as well as a narrative universe that can be flexibly franchised through multiple media platforms.
Put simply, the story that circulates throughout this structure must be powerful. Kim Hun-cheol, author of the Korean text Brand Story Marketing (2006), says, “Stories are how the human soul makes sense of the world, meaning people relate individually through stories, not the idea of a brand itself.” The 2013 ad campaign for Bungeo Ssamanco ice cream illustrates this method of storytelling (Link to the example of Bungeo Ssamanco ice cream commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckj7lT133ik).
Please share if you have any examples you can think of.
The core story is altered according to the target audience under a single narrative universe’s framework, transforming into new stories by channeling through different forms of media. These new stories (trans-storytelling) must offer multiple entry points that allow users to directly partake in the storytelling process and share in the overall narrative. Each entry point needs to allow the user to understand the story as a whole, even if that involves navigating a single platform in the transmedia network. Furthermore, user activity through each entry point must be able to draw in more users who then create even more stories (new targets).
In transmedia, a user must be able to actively partake in the storytelling process through continuously expanding entry points, and one user’s participation must be able to lead to another’s. This is the point where a user can become the creator of an individual story.
The media consumption habits of today’s generation move fluidly among multiple media platforms. Transmedia branding, then, is the process of catering to these consumer patterns through technological innovation; it is the process of creating something new by fusing together several different elements. In short, an understanding of transmedia begins with a sense of its overall structure, or the manner in which it allows for both transference between mediums and re-appropriation: to displace a certain concept, and to create a new meaning for that concept without contradicting its essential principle. This process is illustrated by Disney, a company that does not simply sell its products through film and television but constantly innovates new ways to transform its content into other forms.
The Bungeo Ssamanco ad campaign offers a good model for using transmedia to tell a story. By creating a fun, immensely sharable concept—that is, transforming simple fish-shaped ice cream cakes into characters plotting to take over the universe—the product is given new life and the brand achieves a greater level of reach. An example from abroad is Kodansha, an award-winning Japanese publisher that utilized social media to combat declining book sales. The company’s transmedia strategy was to compile a list of literary passages from its roster of works that readers indicated had moved them, which were then used to craft what the company called a social bookmark. This initiative garnered public interest, increasing the number of customers visiting the firm’s in-house bookshop.
Looking at larger scale ad campaigns, another undertaking worth noting is the strategic consulting launched by beauty retailer AmorePacific in 2008. Using the classic digital marketing tactics of the two-sided platform, the company created a brand story that customers could relate to, thus establishing itself as a brand name that could be associated with people, not just products. In 2013, cosmetics brand Neutrogena used social media to engage with its consumers directly, presenting a set of instructions on Facebook with a time and place to meet in the Gangnam area. Consumers were also assigned a mission, and when the mission was fulfilled, the company responded by releasing “snow” from the sky—a parachute containing around 7,000 different sample products, which fell to the ground like snow. Through the campaign, the brand was able to create a narrative around product sampling. In transmedia storytelling, it is important to craft a story that aligns with the context of the brand.
When presented with the concepts of transmedia and storytelling, there are some people who assume that the two are one and the same. Transmedia, however, is not simply a tool to be utilized for storytelling; transmedia branding is the process of creating a context and story for a brand amid the overall narrative of our daily lives, using mediums in a way fitting to the times—an investigation look into how to stir people’s emotions.