“Hello, ladies…” – well, who remembers the Old Spice Man? The 2010 campaign “The man your man could smell like” is not only one of the funniest advertising campaigns of the last decade, but also an extremely successful example of transmedia storytelling. The secret to such strategies is to link multiple communication channels to convey the brand message. The same story is not told on each channel – all channels contribute to the overall message.
At the same time, not only the company has its say. The company’s own audience is invited to become part of the story and plays a key role in determining its success. In times of social media, blogs and influencers, this is indispensable. Consumers want to identify with brands, not just experience them, but shape them.
Examples like Old Spice’s prove that this approach works: the campaign brought the brand, among other things, a 27 percent increase in annual sales, 2 billion online impressions, 3,000 percent growth in Twitter followers, 2,000 percent increase in search queries on Google, 800 percent more Facebook interactions and 300 percent more traffic to oldspice.com. But what are the best channels to use? What are the pros and cons of PR, content marketing, social media & more? An overview:
One communication measure that many companies feel very comfortable with because it offers maximum control is traditional advertising. Whether it’s a TV spot, FB ad or newspaper ad, the traditional approach is the epitome of the feel-good zone. It can be a good starting point for generating attention for the campaign. The Old Spice campaign also started as a Super Bowl spot. The big drawback is that the audience has no way to contact the company directly through the ad.
Of course, the company’s own channels are also a grateful piece of the puzzle on the way to a transmedia campaign. Whether it’s the company’s own blog, YouTube channel, a supplementary landing page or the employee newsletter – the company channels offer space to present well-prepared, informative or entertaining background information on the campaign content. The company retains control over the content and, in the best case, already creates the first interactive links to the target group. For example, the comment function in the blog or on YouTube or a small click adventure on a landing page are ideal for this. The associated SEO optimization for the expected user searches on the topic also increases the chance that customers will find their way to the company.
Collaborating with relevant journalists, influencers, or prominent brand ambassadors is also a good way to flank transmedia storytelling. For example, if the campaign is about marketing a new sneaker model, the presentation of the shoe by editors or influencers creates credibility and interest among the target group. If a prominent fan then wears the sneaker to a public event or participates in the interactive campaign on the web, additional users are reached. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the corresponding measures are integrated into the planned course of the campaign in such a way that they reach the target group at exactly the right moment as a further point of contact.
The ultimate opportunity to make the audience part of your own story is and remains the social media channels. In the best case, the story impulses scattered across the other channels end up here and gain momentum through audience sharing. At the same time, part of good transmedia storytelling is that the target audience also becomes the hero of the story. It actively creates and shares its own chapters of the story alongside the corporate content.
With Old Spice, for example, this was done via personalized video messages that provoked countless interactions and comments. Of course, there’s always the risk that fans will also play pranks with the content. Trolls never die, as is well known. However, if companies provide good content and incentives that are suitable for the target group and, above all, shareable, the positive engagement will ultimately prevail.
Important when choosing channels: It’s not about necessarily being present on all channels just because they exist. Companies should first determine what story they want to tell, which target group they want to reach with it, where their audience is located and also how much fan engagement they are confident of. The appropriate channels are then selected on this basis. It doesn’t take a huge budget to do successful transmedia storytelling. The main thing is to focus the audience on exactly the platform where the story can be told best and the most relevant interactions can be created.