Transmedia storytelling has proven successful in media formats such as traditional books and videogames. Now entertainment marketers are moving to use this strategy to keep their audiences engaged as they promote new movies or TV shows. A report in Entertainment Marketing indicates that television and film studios are incorporating “transmedia” elements into their marketing — “developing interactive narratives that unfold online, via text messages and social  network profiles, and even sometimes via real world interaction.”

According to Nathan Mayfield of the transmedia studio, Hoodlum, marketers now understand that a single-direction interaction with a consumer such as a traditional branding campaign is not engaging. Instead, marketers are looking for ‘branded storytelling’.  And he also notes that marketers should not assume that the transmedia storytelling form of promotion only works with younger consumers. Marketers can also use this format with older audiences as long as the campaign is well executed.

But transmedia engagement requires a commitment. First, marketers must be sure to balance and support the plan in each marketing channel. In addition, consumers are asked to commit time and energy to follow clues or ideas from TV to print to an online site. As a result, marketers must reward these consumers with something like tickets to a movie or entrance into a sweepstakes competition.

A move into transmedia marketing is all about engaging with consumers in a two-way conversation. To date, many marketers remain hesitant to make the investment but Mayfield believes it will become more popular as companies seek to stand out from the crowd.

[Source: ‘Transmedia Storytelling’ Promises Deeper Audience Engagement. Entertainment Marketing Letter. EMP Communications. 15 May 2010]