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Transmedia Storytelling: You Need a Plan, Man

Most people say public speaking is their #1 fear, mine is breaking the ice. Like when my boss sends me as a liaison to an event, and small talk is required in order to gain entrance into a larger conversation. Clifton StrengthsFinder may classify me as a WOO (Winning Others Over), but I still paralyze at the thought of having nothing intelligent to say.
Since people are natural storytellers, all you need is one good question and you’re in. Unfortunately, the solution is also the problem: you need that one good question. You need a plan – one that considers the following:
  • Who is your audience?
  • What will resonate and draw them into the conversation?
Transmedia storytelling requires the same planning. You have to know your audience and what will resonate to get them excited to participate in the conversation. Some companies do it well. Take Aflac, the supplemental insurance provider, for example. Jump out to Twitter and you’ll see that Aflac Duck (@AflacDuck) has nearly double the amount of followers the corporate entity (@Aflac) has. How did they do it?
Aflac’s marketing team created a story around their mascot and then asked viewers to get involved. And they did! Within the first 2-1/2 days of the initial “accident”, their Facebook Greeting Card app produced over 4000 get well cards – to a fictitious animal. Aflac planned a transmedia campaign, but most importantly, they led with a really great story.

A Conversation about Planning

In the short video clip below, I’m chatting with my boss about transmedia storytelling. We talk about why storytelling appeals to various learning styles, how to make the story engaging, and how to optimize it for multiple channels. Hear how we’ve incorporated it into our own team’s work.
Oh, and next time you find yourself looking for a fantastic icebreaker, think about stories that motivated you to participate in a conversation. Remember, the key is to plan. Craft an opener specifically for that crowd and then lead with a good story. You may be surprised at what great nuggets you’ll uncover that could eventually enhance your own storytelling. 

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