Brands of the future must stimulate and entertain

Brands of the future must stimulate and entertain

Change in marketing mix, 20-03-2014

The marketing mix used to focus on the product. Nowadays we have discovered that interruption marketing and mass communication no longer penetrate because of the quantity of advertisements around us. We can only remember a limited number of them. People no longer trust what the advertiser says, which has resulted in the consumer now taking centre stage in the marketing mix. A shift has taken place:

The Brands of the future stand out by stimulating and entertaining the consumer

Transmedia: where there’s a will there’s a way

The customer is always right and is making greater demands of brands. In particular, the younger generations are no longer content with interruption marketing and are demanding multi-sensory stimulation, preferably as interactive as possible. If they are going to satisfy the consumer of the future, brands will have to entertain and focus more on dialogue, interaction, content and video marketing.

Generation Z, born between 1992 and 2010, is growing up in the participation culture and web 2.0. They communicate online with minimum words, a lot of sound and vision, and they love to game. They are egocentric, brand oriented, and they want to be understood as a person. They work online, together, creating and participating.

So what exactly is Transmedia?

Transmedia is already being called the theatre of the future and it is an outstanding tool for meeting the needs of this target group. Transmedia is a tricky term to explain in writing because it is a term that stands for movement and interaction. It is a totally integrated way of creating a narrative: where the real world and the sketched, artificial world fade into each other is how a total experience is created.

It differs from the cross media tool in that with cross media, a single storyline is told using one or a few media, mostly of a one-sided nature and lacking interaction.

A Transmedia concept fits together so well that you want to be sucked into the experience; into what is known as the “rabbit hole”. There is a single central storyline which is propagated through other smaller stories using various types of medium and platforms out of the canon - the desk-side input - whose basis is a single platform, also called the Hub. What is nice about this is that you develop imaginary doors through which the consumer can walk at various points of the narrative. This increases the chance that you will bring someone along with you in your narrative. The four I’s form the foundation of a Transmedia concept.

  • Immersion,
  • Interactivity,
  • Integration,
  • Impact

Actually, Transmedia is nothing new

The most important aim in a Transmedia campaign is to bring your users along with you and make sure they participate and that they, themselves, create. This happens anyway if the narrative is original and authentic enough. At the outset, it is handy if the participation rate is kept low, but later on you can also stimulate the experience using so-called spoofs - a simulation in this world that has been created out of the sketched fantasy world in which the narrative takes place - in order to draw the consumer even deeper into the “rabbit hole”.

Storytelling has been part of mankind’s culture for centuries and it exists in written form, it is passed on orally and in songs. Everyone is familiar with Transmedia, but probably not really conscious of it. Good examples are Walt Disney and religion. In both cases, a single narrative is communicated using shorter stories and using multiple types of medium (multiple doors).

What I can say about Walt Disney is that it is a brilliant concept in which the consumers are prevailed upon to subjugate themselves as fans to the brand. Experiencing magic is the central storyline and nowadays, the Disney platform is the Hub; the DVDs of fairy tales are types of medium containing various smaller-scale storylines; the real-life Walt Disney parks are a Spoof, and the children’s fancy dress parties and gadgets ensure user-generated content. Who wouldn’t want to be sucked into this concept like a child into the rabbit hole?

What does a Transmedia campaign achieve?

The ultimate desired effect of the Transmedia campaign is that brand and consumer interact and engage. This is how brand loyalty, involvement and binding come about, with the chance of things going viral resulting in free publicity. It raises the experience and cultural brand equity. Transmedia creates rumour around your brand, brand sensation, magic and truly die-hard fans!

Unfortunately, little is yet known about the tools and best strategy. A Transmedia concept requires creative effort, conceptual masterminds, planning, time and in the case of large campaigns, budget. Even then participation is not guaranteed. According to an article on Frankwatching, 90% of consumers currently observe, 9% share and only 1% actually participate and create.

Transmedia is now mainly being used for products and services that are already related to entertainment or that are likeable. Personally, I believe that Transmedia can also be applied to less likeable products and other branches because storytelling figures centrally. The product or industry is only an element. It is the narrative that is the consistent factor and the way of telling is a variable. Transmedia is not rockets cience, it’s a mindset.

Mir Verkaaik
There’s no such word as can’t!


Article resulting from the
6th Total Identity knowledge market, 19-03-2014
Author: Mir Verkaaik


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Bob van der Lee

Managing director, Total Identity
T +31 20 750 95 58