We asked “Transmedia Storytelling: What Is It?” and held our PSFK Salon Los Angeles at Soho House to find some answers. Carmella Stoddard of Talk TECH Communications attended and was kind enough to share her notes with us. The following is a summary of her findings:
Innovators in the field discussed the topic of Transmedia Storytelling, with the goal of exploring how entertainers and content creators are crafting richer experiences for their audiences by weaving narratives across mediums. As the speakers shared their own tales of online and offline adventures, we gained a better understanding of how new platforms for sharing, entertaining, and fundraising are changing the entertainment landscape.
Kristen Olson explored how different levels of fandom engage with different levels of media. High-concept, visual and easily understood media connect with light-fans of minimal engagement level. Low-concept, textual media like indie films that must be absorbed attract more dedicated “fanboy/girl” type that actively seek out brands to engage. But it is open-concept media requiring imaginative effort to engage that attracts the highest levels of fandom: the “online mobs,” “real world actives,” “organizers,” “social drivers,” “authorities” and “relationshippers” that plug in and step into the product, influencing others to do the same – this is the area where brands should start with transmedia. Ask what can fans identify with?
Gunther Sonnenfeld talked about how transmedia is about increasing scale and creating possibility, drawing people in using media as a cultural/visual artifact. Sonnefeld’s presentation of information fractals showing the dimensions of stories through media and geography is viewable here.
J.C. Christofilis championed creativity in transmedia marketing tactics, stating that ROI should also stand for “return on innovation.” Christofilis urged brands to take risks and put research and development to work creating ways to convey brand story across multiple community platforms. Transmedia is effective for both established and new IPs, citing Jay-Z’s “Decoded” campaign with Bing and MTV’s vampire series Valemont as examples.
Salon moderator Scott Walker led a discussion of some interesting transmedia campaigns, including “Conspiracy for Good” with Nokia, “Pandemic” for Sundance Film Festival, transmedia activism in Palestine, The “Game of Thrones” food trucks, and “The Art of the Heist” with Audi. It was noted if brands are more successful when fans are allowed to play with brand material, brands must find space in copyright to allow fan creations. Co-creation storytelling could be the next big step after transmedia.
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