A Literacy of the Imagination

a deeper look at innovation through the lenses of media, technology, venture investment and hyperculture

Transmedia Planning, Development & ROI (The New World Model)

Transmedia looks at narrative as a hypersocial activity in which a story can evolve across multiple platforms, manifesting in an array of products and various revenue streams.

Where ‘integrated marketing’ often seems to trip on itself by simply coloring content with the same brand palette rather than contextualizing and enriching it, transmedia picks up momentum and cultural relevance by creating and/or adopting advertising assets or ad-like objects as parts of a greater whole. In fact, ad campaigns can evolve as mutually exclusive parts of a transmedia story, since transmedia has the innate ability to promote itself and its constituent elements.

So, if we can look at advertising & marketing as a publishing practice, the possibilities seem unlimited because we can sell more media and sell more products and/or services, and we can do so in a compelling, engaging and even transformational way. This has already begun to happen, as evidenced by brands like Ikea, Army, Dodge, the NHL, Guinness, Red Bull and Levis, that are publishing richer, more dynamic, highly shareable and entertaining content.

Faris Yakob of McCann Erickson hatched the first transmedia planning model; to honor his work, I have created my own version of what the planning process might look like for agency folks, and is, as you might notice, a multi-disciplinary, fusion process:

Transmedia Planning, Development & ROI (The New World Model)

I happen to believe very strongly that transmedia is a primary gateway for global change through creative, economic alternatives.  Transmedia already presents an economic incentive for media creators to lower their production costs by sharing assets. But if we go a step further, we can make this causal by creating peer-to-peer environments in which transmedia projects are funded by communities and proliferated by means of multi-community participation. This also means that in a marketplace where inventory and demand are greatly in flux, we can also make media (and respective products) more affordable to the creator and the consumer.

By the way, by causes, I don’t necessarily mean philanthropic (although that is ideal), but rather initiatives that inspire people to act, such as what we continue to see as a result of Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ initiative (and a great example of transmedia adoption within culture at large).

So if we apply this construct to content development, here’s what that process might look like:

Transmedia Planning, Development & ROI (The New World Model)

Coming full circle, we now can get a picture of how media and campaigning can be leveraged through non-linear storytelling (or storymaking), and as you can see, this certainly does not have to disrupt our current media models, but instead lends many opportunities to enhance them (by providing adaptive means), as well as creates a greater ‘spread’ effect:

Transmedia Planning, Development & ROI (The New World Model)

You might also notice that the media, content and product elements represented in the model are reflexive, meaning that they can ‘reproduce’ themselves, or, they can spawn new media or product vehicles by virtue of feedback and collaboration.

For more on transmedia, be sure to check out the work and groundbreaking perspectives shared by the pioneers of the movement such as Henry Jenkins (author of Convergence Culture), Stephen Dinehart and Jeff Gomez, as well as MIT Comparative Studies grads and maverick agency strategists, Ivan Askwith and Ilya Vedrashko.

You can also check out a presentation I recently gave at my Miami Ad School communications planning bootcamp on transmedia development: 

OR...

...A cover story article I wrote a few months ago in iMedia Connection: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/24339.asp

Here’s to now and the immediate future — let’s collaborate and see what we can create in the effort to transform our world.