TLP Recommends “Finding the GAP” and “Disruptive Change” in TransMedia Strategies

Posted on April 29, 2011


Observations and insights are not the same thing.  In TransMedia, this is very important.

Observations mean raw data.  It’s a gradual accumulation of research information … that one  consciously and carefully records— exactly the way we saw or heard it … no interpretation added.

By contrast, insights are the sudden realizations.  We know them as “Aha!” moments!  They happen when we interpret the observations and discover unexpected patterns.

It’s all in the patterns … that reveal gaps between where people are now … and where they’d ideally like to be.  It’s the same with Brands.  It’s a place between now … their current reality and their desires for change in the market circumstances.  It’s described as a rift between the way something is now … and the way people assume it should be.

And whenever and wherever there is tension (observation), there is a GAP.  In TransMedia we call that an OPPORTUNITY … and for it to be highly effective … it must be DISRUPTIVE IN THE MARKETPLACE served by a Brand.

APPMARKET.TV reports:  Transmedia has been a buzz word for a while, but today it’s rapidly rising up the radar, with content creators increasingly interested in finding innovative ways to create stories that arc over various platforms, providing consumers with multiple entry points. A new trend reportfrom JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, explores why this trend is bubbling up right now, how it’s significant for marketers and where it’s going.

Understanding what transmedia means and how to develop relevant experiences that give audiences multiple entry points will be increasingly important for marketers as transmedia transitions into the status quo. The report, “Transmedia Rising,” provides an introduction to transmedia fundamentals: It includes a half-dozen case studies, insights from transmedia experts, a guide to finding more information (from events to podcasts to books and video clips) and a timeline charting some of transmedia’s milestones, from Disney to The Matrix and beyond.

“This is an era characterized by social media, multiple screens and empowered consumers, and transmedia leverages all of that while using age-old storytelling and marketing techniques,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. “For marketers, transmedia presents new opportunities for capturing consumers’ time and attention-with the potential to enhance brand mythology and create more brand evangelists.”

Take the following example.  A secretary picks up a SmartPhone and dials an important number.  If she dialed the number and it was for her work does anyone really care?  But if the secretary decides to scroll through the recent calls placed on the phone by her boss … takes a look at the photos stored on the phone, watches a few videos, updates her FaceBook posts and shoots out a few Twitters … Well … then if her boss finds out she’s looking though his contact list and finds a few work colleague female names that should not be there … and then the boss finds out.  What do you think?  Would she still have a job?  The tension builds … and when disruption is thought about today in the TransMedia marketplace … Brands are seeking differentiation and ways to step out of the massive “clutter” in advertising  …


Tension like this story about the secretary is the focus and at the bulls eye of each compelling story that captures an audience’s attention.  It is not surprising that TransMedia pitches must include this type of analysis for them to be effective.  Often and sadly they do not.

Consider the dull stories that broadcast :30 second spots continue to deliver to a bored audience.   A man meets a woman and they live happily ever after.  Where is the tension in that?  Or in the 1960’s style of advertising, a product like washing detergent meets a consumer with “big hair” who smiles and  lives happily ever after.


It’s not believable and it’s not emotional.   And where this is no emotion?  No sale… It’s a fairly simple formula.  So if a Brand intends to capture an audience’s attention or interest, it needs a major element of tension that throws status quo out the window.

Back to the secretary’s story … assume the secretary picks up the phone … scrolls through the pictures … finds one of herself … clicks on it and sees an invitation from her boss to go out to a swank restaurant that very evening.  As she and the audience realize he (the boss) left the phone there for her to find it and he then walks into the room and they embrace.

A title rolls up and says [_____] SmartPhones work in unexpected ways.  The tension is resolved and the audience buys into the solution.

A presentation without tension presented and tension resolved is lifeless … emotionless.  It’s not effective storytelling which good TransMedia StoryWorld building requires today.

TransMedia storytelling IS THE NEW MEDIUM.  It constructs a story and serves it across different platforms.  It invites audience participation and collaboration and is simultaneously linear, nonlinear and multi-dimensional.   Both individual and collaborative, TransMedia gives the audience what they want and WHEN THEY WANT IT.

TransMedia storytelling is not the simply taking content and ‘repurposing’ it for different media.   TransMedia builds a story universe (what researchers and creators call a narrative).   TransMedia invites the audience into a StoryWrold. The storytellers capitalize on the characteristics of each medium of delivery—traditional and new—to created, re-create and contribute to a distinct part of the narrative which is satisfying as a standalone experience. And at the same time, each part as well adds a meaningful and unique contribution to the overall story experience – individual and collective. TransMedia storytelling boasts and uses multiple points of entry making the StoryWorld accessible to different types of consumers, audiences and media-users. TransMedia, at the end of the day,  relies on the audience for interactivity and response to calls to action treating them with respect at all times.  TransMedia does not “sell” them, but instead invites them to become co-participants to join, expand upon and even change the narrative.