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What’s transmedia planning?

October 27, 2006

It’s time to forget media neutrality and instead think transmedia.

That’s the message being sent by strategists working for Leo Burnett Jason and Naked (Ivan and Faris ).

They argue that the media neutral way of thinking is outdated for a number of reasons; it doesn’t include the community in its construct and it also doesn’t reflect how media is sometimes the idea.

Transmedia planning involves changing the model and putting the community at the center.

This model suggests that successful communication depends on being able to engage a community.

Ideas need to engage community conversations.

The other big difference from old media neutral thinking is how a single idea can be broken into pieces and spread around the different media, starting from the same strategy or narrative.

Media is used to set the elements of the story in play, people can then pick up and piece different fragments together to form their own narratives and they can also engage their community to help in the discovery process.

This thinking owes a debt of gratitude to Henry Jenkins at MIT, who, in his book, “Convergence Culture” devotes a chapter to The Matrix, which he describes as a transmedia narrative. The elements of the story are split across various media; the film, comic books and video games and when these are shared amongst the community, by picking up conversations, an individual builds up their own personal version of the story.

Today, ideas need to have multiple layers and meaning because you are no longer talking to a single person, but rather a group who are working together. Think of it as a puzzle, with different pieces and fragments. These fragments can even include stories relating to the executions themselves; music, actors and other reference material.

The more layers the idea has, the better.

As Jason concludes in his post; our job as strategists is to develop briefs that serve as catalysts for ideas to either captivate an existing brand community or help to galvanize a new one.

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