Communications and related activities have played a major role in my work over the past twenty years. The key reason is that over this period, I have been involved in a number of emerging business opportunities such as the Internet and e-business, Linux, cloud computing and digital money. Marketing and communications are essential when introducing a disruptive innovation in the marketplace, given the need to explain what the new initiative is all about to key constituencies including clients, analysts and reporters.
Over the years, I have learned that in order to capture the attention of your intended audience and differentiate your offerings from those of competitors, you have to develop a compelling brand for your new products or services. This is particularly important when you are introducing a new and potentially disruptive offering in the marketplace.
Establishing such a brand requires much more than advertising. It is akin to engaging in a conversation with your intended audience, where you talk about what's in your mind, your aspirations, your questions, your doubts, what you know and what you don't know. In short, you are creating and telling a story about your brand. And, the more powerful, important and complex the messages you are trying to convey, the more important it is that you do so by telling a compelling, emotionally resonant story.
I believe that developing and communicating the storyline behind a disruptive innovation requires the close involvement of those who best understand and care about the new initiative and offerings. Marketing experts and design agencies are invaluable in this work, but by themselves they cannot properly communicate the in-depth understanding and passion of those most responsible for the innovations.
So, I was very excited when several months ago I learned about transmedia storytelling, a concept originally developed in the entertainment industry to tell a common story across multiple media platforms by moving characters and storylines across books, films, video games, comic books, TV series, and so on. The rise of social media and other digital channels makes the concept particularly powerful as a way of engaging the target audience with more depth and over a much longer period of time than would be possible within a single medium.