This post is written in two hands, with Jean-Yves Lemoine, a pioneer of the Transmedia domain, working on the convergence between technology, content and usage, and one of the contributor to the foundation of Orange Transmedia Lab.
A transmedia story is a story with several points of entry: I can follow the Web buzz, which will send back me back to the series that I’m going to follow on TV; I’m going to find out more about my favourite characters on my mobile; I can play an alternate reality game with an ARG community, and watch it all again to my heart’s content on VOD on my computer or TV. These stories become extended if the content can be altered on the Web. So this circulation and audience development is a golden opportunity for brand development!
The stories on the various media may be in “marketing mode” for the benefit of the main medium, e.g. for the film in the case of Dark Knight or for the TV series in the case of Lost. But the most interesting approach is certainly to allow audiences to circulate from one medium to another by working specifically towards the transition from linear to delinear (VOD). Today’s users want to consume their images wherever and whenever they feel like it. So it is of the essence in transmedia creation that each content be accessible separately and at any time whatsoever on each platform, and that each cross-reference with the other contents on other platforms.
Sponsors can be assigned to the various media, as is conventionally done nowadays for TV, mobile and the Web. But one could consider ways of more closely involving them in a transmedia project through a novel form of sponsoring if the content of the programme coincides with the brand territory, its target and values. The benefits for the brand in question would be tremendous: not only widespread brand exposure on various media (as exemplified by Home, simultaneously present on TV and cinema screens, on publicity posters and on the Web), but also longer-lasting exposure – and continuous enrichment by internauts.
The advertisers’ aim would no longer be to push branded products, but to promote their brand values, thereby encouraging consumers who embrace these values to buy their products. The transmedia metaverse provides an opportunity to create a “brandverse”, to communicate with all the spectators of the transmedia programme on the basis of these values.
This could be considered an extension of the current trend in advertising: advertisers are going to end up moving into the content domain and getting involved in the production of programmes that cohere with their brand.
For the brand itself, however, it is a matter of maintaining a certain detachment from the content so as not to lose its specificity, not to be absorbed by the public image of the content in case of failure – or in case of enormous success that might overwhelm the brand: the key to the success of the brand is still to define its territorial legitimacy!