Whether we see it or not, we are living in a transmedia, globally connected world. We use multiple communications platforms for everything from chores to social interactions. These are not passive activities. We are active users of media technologies all day long. Consequently, today’s audiences and customers have a new psychological perspective. They expect to experience active engagement through interaction, participation, and collaboration.
Transmedia storytelling speaks to this new psychology by harnessing the power of storytelling, the interactivity of a rich media environment, and the collaboration and validation of the social web. Transmedia storytelling does this through a story that unfolds across multiple media. Transmedia storytelling breaks down the fourth wall by building a coherent multi-arc, multi-media, multi-sensory, multi-dimensional story that is accessible and compelling through multiple points of entry. It is 360 degree storytelling.
Transmedia storytelling is more than entertainment. It is also a powerful and effective approach to communication for advocacy, branding, and marketing. Just shifting to a transmedia storytelling perspective is a powerful lens that engenders innovation and creativity in brand and franchise development and audience and customer engagement.
Communication—and therefore transmedia storytelling—is about connecting people. Transmedia storytelling sits at the intersection of a rich toolbox of psychological theory (narrative, cognitive, positive, and social psychologies) and an increasingly rich and diverse media environment.
People today are hyper-sensitive to the condescension and attempts at manipulation of traditional marketing approaches. Transmedia storytelling is not about selling, it is about inviting and engaging in shared and valued experience and that creates a genuine human bond. Transmedia storytelling, therefore, has broad social and commercial implications precisely because it builds relationships and addresses the psychological needs of a socially connected, participatory, and media-savvy audience.