At the center of every successful social media and transmedia marketing or advocacy campaign is a story that reflects universal values and aspirations. A story is the most effective way to engage audiences because it connects with all three levels of the brain, the primitive and intuitive, the emotional, and the executive center. Stories package information into chunks, ideal for communicating with a brain that processes information the same way for memory and retrieval. Stories capture the essence of a brand or advocacy campaign because they transcend differences and build bridges that create social capital through reciprocity and a sense of community. Story allows us to participate at many levels because it is a fully sensory dialogue. For brands and people, story creates and promotes culture.
An effective transmedia campaign is not about what media platforms, special effects, or tools you use. It’s about a coherent and meaningful story that unfolds across the media. Here are five points drawn to start you thinking about the core of your campaign.
- Find your story. What is the essence of your goal? What are you trying to say to the world? Who are you saying it to? What’s the question?
- Stories consist of characters with goals– the protagonist we identify with and the antagonist that provides challenges. Who or what plays these roles in your story?
- Stories have a three-part structure. This consists of a beginning where characters are introduced and goals are expressed, challenges and conflicts that get in the way of the goals, and resolution where goals are achieved. How do you lay out the structure of your story for your audience?
- Today’s audiences expect to participate and collaborate. What are the entry points for your audience? Can you let go of the control of your campaign so that your audience can help further the story?
- What’s the meaning or the mystery in your story? What is in it for the audience? What do they take away from it? How are the participant’s lives enhanced by being a part of your story?