It’s no secret that technology is playing an increasingly large role in everyday life. It’s infiltrated our homes, schools, restaurants, and about a million other places, and it’s here to stay. Because they cater to the general public, communications professionals have had to adjust to the rising popularity of the practical, daily use of technology.
Communications professionals, and public relations specialists specifically, have taken advantage of the ever-expanding web of media platforms in order to promote brands. This new process of utilizing multiple types of media in order to bolster the success of a brand or company is known as “transmedia.” Transmedia blends various platforms in order to offer a more authentic experience for the public through a storytelling format.
Transmedia gives little pieces of a narrative based in the same world of characters through books, games, television, cinema, websites, special events, and countless other platforms. This approach is intended to not only reach a broader demographic, but also keep the public interested in the brand by introducing it from different angles. Plus, each separate platform focuses on separate aspects of the brand to showcase its multiplicity and diversity.
You’ve more likely than not seen transmedia in action and been unaware of it. Take the Game of Thrones promotion campaign, for example: it was everywhere. The media promotion team was successful at reaching a range of age groups by appealing to different areas of interest. There were video games created based on the characters and geographical landscapes of the Westeros universe. Computer games and virtual realities imitated sights, sounds, and smells that the characters might encounter. Gift boxes filled with maps, “potions,” and other goodies were sent out to a select number of fans before the television show was released so that the fans receiving the boxes would review them in videos and post them to YouTube for the rest of the public to get excited. There were special guest events surrounding the Game of Thrones fan base, there were board games, there were action figures of the characters. And now Game of Thrones is one of the most successful franchises in the business, all thanks to the expansive reach of transmedia.
Doctor Who, the Twilight saga, Star Wars, Frozen…when you think about it, all of these brands have utilized the transmedia process to varying degrees. That’s the beauty of transmedia, though–it is not immediately obvious that the franchise is always around you. It’s subtle and engaging and inconspicuous. And that’s why it’s effective.