Transmedia storytelling is a powerful tool that integrates marketing and entertainment across channels to deepen fans’ connections with the narrative. More simply put, transmedia storytelling helps bring entertainment to life. It uses a popular story – usually, a movie, television show, novel, or trend – and expands it from its channel of origin (e.g., television) into the mainstream world. For example, The Limited clothing brand released a line of Olivia Pope-inspired clothes based on the ABC hit drama Scandal’s main character. Blogs discussed what Kerry Washington’s character wore each week, “Gladiator” wannabes could dress like Miss Pope herself, and enthusiastic viewers could be part of the show in some small way … all while expanding the brand’s influence and revenue.
The idea of transmedia storytelling isn’t new. Large franchises from the likes of Harry Potter to the NFL have harnessed the power of integrating media platforms with games, apps, websites, merchandise, and spinoffs that bring the magic of their brand into the real world. But one recent breakthrough has left them all in the dust. And your brand can’t afford to miss out.
TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING AND AUGMENTED REALITY:
In 2010, we hit a critical turning point in transmedia storytelling. DreamWorks Entertainment debuted the family-friendly fantasy How to Train Your Dragon around the same time that augmented reality (AR) was gaining some steam as a new technology platform. Augmented reality represents the marriage of technology with the real world. Think: Google Glass. At that time, DreamWorks released an augmented reality app in which fans could interact with dragons by using the camera on the phones. Sound familiar? It should if you’ve been following the Pokemon Go craze.
In many ways, the How To Train Your Dragon app paved the way for augmented reality as a viable transmedia storytelling channel. While early AR adopters may have gone crazy for Google Glass and geo-based advertisements, the general population simply wasn’t ready for widespread applications of augmented reality. Just six years after DreamWorks’ first attempt to use AR as a transmedia storytelling vehicle, the public is finally ready.
Nintendo’s stock has soared an unprecedented 90% thanks to the newest combo of transmedia storytelling and augmented reality. Enter, Pokemon Go. Pokemon started as an anime series and evolved – as transmedia storytelling does – into a card game, clothing lines, toys, and more. Pokemon Go takes it one step further by encouraging fans to search for Pokemon in the real world using the camera on their phones. See, we told you that DreamWorks app sounded familiar.
The results for both the Pokemon brand and for local businesses alike are mind blowing (for more information about how local businesses can take advantage of the Pokemon Go craze, check out our Marketer’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Pokemon Go here). Your brand could be next.
YOUR BRAND MEETS TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING:
Whether your brand is telling a story or complementing a story, you have the opportunity to become part of a transmedia storytelling narrative; and with the rapidly increasing adoption of AR, this process has never been easier. To determine how to use transmedia storytelling to your advantage, ask yourself these simple questions:
- Is your brand part of a larger story or trend? If so, it’s time to start forging partnerships and taking note of where your customers are naturally discussing your story.
- If not, ask yourself: what types of stories does your brand align with? Tangible goods and hospitality brands may have an easier time answering this question, but even service-based brands are packed with potential. Our team of Orlando marketing agency experts is on call to help you brainstorm and build out an action plan.
No matter where your brand falls, augmented reality can help you bridge a gap between your brand and the story you want to help tell. Learn how to best tell your story here.