The Confluence of Marketing and Entertainment

Thought I’d share this great article from Simon Pont, published in business2community.com.

In the article Simon makes a case for using brands as “entry-points into story worlds.”  In effect, he is addressing a very interesting confluence between the entertainment/art community and the marketing community.

As we all know, the business models in the entertainment/art community are rapidly evolving from a tightly controlled hierarchy with regulated channels to a free-for-all where artists are going straight to the audience, and the audience is increasingly fractured and dispersed.

Likewise, marketers are trying to evolve from a disruptive voice to an integrated voice.

Removing the artificial barriers of “product placement” and “branded content” creates a landscape where creators and brands create something greater than the sum of the parts.

Nice!

Click here to read his article “Where Entertainment Meets Marketing: Lessons from Kingsman, Rolex & James Bond” www.business2community.com

Create, Collaborate and Critique: Stages of Development

For the last ten years I’ve been saying: everyone can critique, but few can create.

This was a useful mantra for helping my product development teams get through the mire and pain of “executive feedback” which usually includes tons of opinions but teaspoonfuls of useful input.  Now I’m  in a position of developing content vs products, but my mantra remained the same.

However, I recently realized that I was skipping a step: collaboration.    I think my “skip” was actually a Freudian slip – I knew it existed, and I practiced it, but I sublimated this step into my sub-conscience because it is a grey area that exists between the seed of creation and the pruning of critique and because it is so difficult to define. Here are the stages of development that I am now using:

Creation is a singular activity.  Collaboration is a small group activity. Critique is for the masses.

  • When I say “creation is singular” I don’t mean only individuals can create (although there is a body of thought that supports this position), rather I mean “singular vision”.  Creation is both fragile and dynamic.  Singular vision during the creative stage allows the idea to coalesce, whereas too much friction can lead to an implosion.  Creation occurs best alone or with like-minded people.
  • Collaboration requires high levels of trust and selective diversity.  Some of my best experiences with collaboration have occurred with people who came to a similar conclusion from a different angle.  Our vision was the same, but HOW we reached it was very different, and it is in those differences that we found the opportunities for refinement.  Too much diversity during the early stages is usually more dilutive vs additive (and yes, I made up the word dilutive, but I really like it – so it stays.)
  • Critiquing is the pruning shear, large grit sandpaper, chisel and  hammer.  It shapes the idea into something more useful and fruitful than an idea left in the hothouse of like-mindedness, but if introduced too early in the process it can kill the idea.

My litmus test for “truth” is: does this principle apply to multiple areas?  if so, then it is a principle vs a preference.  Fortunately for me, I see the principles of creation, collaboration and critiquing in both nature (plant a seed – water and fertilize during development – prune when it hits a level of maturity) and family (2 people make the child, a family raises the child, the world shapes the child.  Exposing a child too early to the public forum of criticism may not kill the child – but often times seriously messes them up.)

In transmedia marketing, a key step is the inclusion of your audience into the creative process.  When should they be added? I think fans are added during collaboration, but the masses during critique.  The challenge here is; where are your fans (e.g. like minded people) and what is an efficient method of collaborating?  Things to be considered in a future post.

What do you think?  Am I stretching a preference into a principle or is this really a good way to view the development process?  Critiques are now welcome 🙂

Marketers Challenged to Keep Pace with Mobile, Social (eMarketer Report)

Top 3 factors that are the biggest challenge to marketers :

1) Growth of channel and device choices

2) Customer collaberation and influence

3) Financial constraints /ROI accountability

eMarketer’s core take away from this data is that marketers are challenged to keep pace with proliferation of mobile & social tech, and therefore need to work more closely with tech groups.

As a counterpoint I add the following thought:  the proliferation of channels, media, tech, etc… requires the development of transmedia marketers: storytellers, technical generalists (and sometimes specialists!) and community enablers.

Full article from eMarketer here:  http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1009167&ecid=a6506033675d47f881651943c21c5ed4

See on www.emarketer.com

What is Transmedia?


Recently, I tried to explain the concept of “transmedia storytelling” to some marketing friends.  I eventually drew this image on my whiteboard.  It gives a simplified view of the evolution from multimedia to transmedia and helps convey the ideas of “story elements” and “social participation”.

In marketer-speak “story elements” are like “message maps”.  Since marketers create message maps, sound-bites, speaking points, etc… we can easily grasp the concept of story elements.  Where transmedia breaks the mold is the idea that the story elements are designed to tell a single story across all media.  Today, many marketing orgs are very silo’d and story elements are developed that do not roll-up into a coherent story.  The idea of starting with a single story and then breaking it into elements for multiple media is a slight paradigm shift.

The real  “a-ha” moment is the concept of social participation.  Marketers may conceptualize the brand story and develop the story elements.  But the story that exists in the marketplace is a combination of what marketers say AND what the market says.  Unfortunately, many marketers try to control the brand story by keeping “social participation” in its own silo.   With transmedia, marketers don’t control the story – they enable the story.  They give story elements to the market.  They encourage the market to add, embellish, and play with the elements and then they bring some of those “market created” elements into the official brand story.  By enabling the market to contribute to the story, marketers create a sense of brand ownership which leads to brand fans.  Brand fans are a good thing 🙂

Let me know what else you would add!

Measuring the Effectiveness of Transmedia Marketing

Today,  Adweek announced that “TubeMogul Brings Nielsen GRP Ratings to Video |  Part of push to equate TV, digital buys (see the full article here: http://www.adweek.com/news/television/tubemogul-brings-nielsen-grp-ratings-video-139258)

This announcement underlines one of the nasty realities of transmedia marketing: there is no existing framework for transmedia marketing metrics.  Ultimately, if we want to stop marketing in silos we need to stop measuring in silos.  We need the ability to determine marketing costs and marketing effectiveness holistically across all media types and platforms.

1) Determining costs across all media: the primary challenge is separating the cost of service from the cost of audience, and then creating a platform agnostic metric for “audience”.

  • The cost of service can be anything from creative services to media buying to analysis.  Transmedia marketing can spread the cost of service across multiple platforms, thereby reducing the cost of service for any single platform, but increasing the complexity of determining costs on a platform basis.
  • The cost of audience requires the ability to attribute the qualities of audience across time, distraction and interest.  An audience that that is exposed to a message for a long time with no distraction (e.g. a movie trailer in a darkened theater) is more valuable than an audience that is exposed briefly with multiple distractions (e.g., a billboard near a busy freeway).  However, you must include the power of  “interest” to provide the appropriate weighting to the calculation.  To build on the previous example: showing a movie trailer for a kids movie inside a theater preparing to show a sci-fi – slasher-thriller movie may be worth less than having a billboard for a kids movie by the freeway near Disneyland.

2) Determining effectiveness across all media.  Ultimately, effectiveness is measured by audience “actions” ranging from remembering your product thru to purchasing your product.  But the interesting measurements are those actions of “engagement” – reading, replying, playing, clicking, sharing, etc… And this is where transmedia marketing has the biggest impact: engagement.

Ultimately, it all comes down to eyeballs and actions, but I’ll save my viewpoint on the solution for another time.

Potential Implications of Transmedia on Marketing Organizations

The implications of transmedia in education and entertainment are in the process of being explored, experimented with and critiqued.  I think we’ve just begun to explore the implications on business and marketing practices.

There are three major forces colliding within most marketing organizations: BIG data (it begs to be said in caps), marketing technology and media fragmentation.

Transmedia helps to solve the the problems associated with media fragmentation by providing a cohesive narration that is optimized/developed for each media space.  Big data and marketing technology provide the infrastructure to ensure targeted and timely delivery and mapping the value back to marketing ROI.  Each system works together, but the skills required for each system are generally VERY different: creative vs analytical vs systems/process thinking 

Marketing departments in big companies (may) be able to functionally support these systems. But smaller companies will need to outsource.  This leads to the question – which should you outsource vs which should you own?    Will a marketing eco-system develop where specialists in these systems work on a for-hire basis, and the business marketing departments simply work as marketing project managers?  And if so, do they start calling themselves marketing producers?

Lots of questions.  Please discuss 🙂

 

Game of Thrones Transmedia Case Study – PT 1: The Essence

Although this video does a great job describing/demonstrating/promoting the transmedia campaign.  I found the following excerpt to be the most enlightening on HOW this was done:

“The first task was to try to reduce the story to its essence—no small task for a series with 19 main characters and dozens of supporting characters from seven royal and noble families and a half-dozen other groups. He managed to get it down to “the power struggles and secret liaisons of dynastic families vying for control of a mythical kingdom”—not quite as pithy as The Sopranos in Middle Earth,” which is how one of the screenwriters described it, but still not bad.”   http://www.deepmediaonline.com/deepmedia/2012/01/and-the-final-lesson-from-game-of-thrones-is-always-support-the-bottom.html

Reducing the story to it’s essence …

This holds true in all transmedia marketing exercises – reduce the story, the value proposition, the brand promise the … whatever … to it’s essence.

Is Transmedia Marketing Just Another Marketing Discipline?

I love this blog regarding marketing disciplines: http://apowerpoint.blogspot.com/2009/06/10-marketing-disciplines-defined.html.  The blogger – Anthony – categorizes and defines 10 marketing disciplines (e.g., social media marketing, email marketing, etc…)  

I appreciate his pithy definitions and basically agree with his view of these activities as “disciplines” which leads to the obvious question: is transmedia marketing another marketing discipline?

The answer is “no, unh-un, not a chance”

Transmedia marketing is a philosophy (view or theory) that unifies and creates the underlying framework that enables the addition and rapid iteration of new marketing disciplines: marketing strategy, organizational structure, operational workflows and marketing metrics. 

To think of transmedia marketing as just another discipline misses the point of calling it “trans” – meaning it goes across all media.  Transmedia marketing is about breaking down the silos, not adding another one.

Transmedia … is it an Adjective or a Noun?

Steve Peters does an amazing job of capturing the current state of transmedia definition, and ends his blog with a request:  “stop using transmedia as a noun…”

I agree and will comply with Steve’s request!

Transmedia as a noun is too broad and unwieldy.  Rather than communicating a concept or intent it actually obfuscates and “un-defines”.  However,   when used as an adjective it brings focus and clarity.

Here is why transmedia as an adjective feels so right:

Transmedia marketing – marketing a brand/business across multiple platforms and media

Transmedia storytelling – telling a story across multiple platforms and media

Transmedia franchising – distributing a story across multiple platforms and media

Ba-da-bing: point made.

Here is a link to Steve’s full article.  It’s well worth reading: http://www.stevepeters.org/2011/05/18/what-the-hell-is-transmedia/

Students' Union Committee, 1964

Transmedia Marketing – a Definition

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about transmedia marketing, and have come up with the following definition: weaving your brand or organization’s story across multiple platforms and media.

This definition resonates for 3 reasons:

“Weaving” implies a pattern, a vision of the end-result and interconnection.  Too much of marketing is conducted in silos, and focused on specific campaign objectives.  We should be focused on creating a unified, interconnected brand experience.

“Story” – if I hear (or say) “content” one more time, I will be forced to pinch someone.  “Content” is simply the components of story.  If you have no story, don’t bother creating content.  Content is not the goal, it is the vehicle.  ‘Nuff said.

“Platforms and Media” – in marketing we use terms like “channels”, “media”, “markets” yada, yada, yada depending on which marketing discipline you practice (communications, product marketing, etc…).  The term “platform and media” takes the conversation down to the digital bones and makes room for all existing and emerging marketing tools  – traditional and digital, social and static, analog and interactive.

Having the definition is useful in developing the parameters of what’s in, what’s out and where to start.

Of course, starting is the hard part 🙂

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