Engage Your Customers with Transmedia

by Rhodes

The term transmedia may be new, but it’s rapidly becoming an important part of crafting a successful media brand. At a basic level, transmedia describes the integration of multiple media channels to reach your audience. Integrating compelling images, informative video content and complementary social media campaigns are all examples of transmedia.

A recent example of transmedia in the world of television is Bravo TV’s Top Chef. Faced with an increasingly competitive market for TV viewers, execs at Bravo decided to think beyond the traditional television program and create online content. Of course, this isn’t a new tactic ― many television shows have had online content. What Bravo TV did, though, was to extend the story being told via the television show by giving viewers a second chapter to each week’s episode on their website. While the expected elimination occurred each week on Top Chef’s TV episode, a new competition called Last Chance Kitchen (offered exclusively on the Top Chef website) gave the recently eliminated chef the chance to duel against a chef eliminated earlier in the season for an opportunity to get back on the televised show.

The formula? Top Chef on TV + Last Chance Kitchen on the website + the ability for online viewers to vote for fan favorites + strategic alignment with social media channels like Twitter = a fully engaged viewership that feels like it is part of the competition. The end result for Bravo? Last Chance Kitchen was the highest rated digital program ever for the NBC family of channels, garnering 8 million views.

So, aside from effective uses of foam on poached eggs, what can we learn from Top Chef? We can apply this notion of transmedia to our own current definition of marketing and engage a larger, more involved clientele. If your consumer feels involved ― authentically involved ― they will not only participate more with your company or brand, they will act as your unofficial brand ambassador.

Creating an effective website with compelling content and relevant information for your target audience remains paramount. Yet, reaching out to that same audience ― or even a new audience ― via alternate channels can extend and even deepen your message. A few ways to do that include:

  • Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. They offer effective yet inexpensive avenues to connect with your audience.

  • A useful app (note the keyword: useful) that becomes a consumer resource could earn you new customers.

  • Offline content like whitepapers, resource lists and infographics. This content remains a potent reward for consumers who submit valuable demographic information and can be a reminder of your great brand even when consumers aren’t online.

The challenge in today’s digital landscape is to ― and here it comes ― think outside the box. Websites are still an important piece of online real estate. But more and more, consumers are interacting with brands via media channels other than the traditional site. Today’s successful companies are taking advantage of these alternate channels and creating complementary messaging that extends their brands into new markets…earning them new fans and, consequently, new business.

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