Big Ideas from a Small World

Brand Play vs. Brand Communiction

Posted in Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 27, 2009

Post Advertising* has a really interesting piece right now on the newly emerging term Transmedia Storytelling. I appreciate the idea but I think it rests more on the side of bullshit bingo:

Transmedia storytelling is one of those monikers that runs the risk of being added to a Bullshit Bingo card some time very soon. On the other hand it could just be the saviour of brand communications. Google it and you’ll get all sorts of definitions that talk about evolving non-linear brand narratives, brand communities and deeply immersive narrative universes.

I think a much simpler way of looking at newly developing media is this: Brand Play vs. Brand Communication.

Now I could go into a diatribe about building brands with communications and evolving brands with play. We could talk about how new brands need communication to establish their core persona and message, or about how brand play can invigorate an old brand.

But just to keep it simple we have all been Transmedia Story Telling for a long time. (Radio + T.V. + Print = TST) Consumers always had and always will have word of mouth – it’s nothing new.

What we have not been doing for very long is assessing a brand’s unique ratio of one way and two way communications (Play vs. Communication).

But since we are not playing bullshit bingo how’s this:

Our integrated marketing efforts need both one way communication to generate new consumers and two way communications to retain loyal ones.

So now instead of this:


We have this:


First off, you’ll notice that my chart is done in photoshop, which makes it clearly the better choice. Secondly, all forms of one one way communication lead to a large and evolving central brand community.

Green = customers gained. White = customers engaged. If your brand is number one and needs to retain consumers focus on two way communications. If your brand needs new consumers focus on green.

At least this way we have a solution to the old leaky bucket metaphor of marketing (put more water in than you’re loosing). A far simpler answer is just to plug the freaking hole.

Still seems a little like bullshit bingo but at least we are not inventing new terms with this example. Maybe if we broke it down further we could eliminate a little more bullshit.


Your marketing plan should be doing all three – regardless of scale.

Ah, that feels right.


One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] spots that its consumer touch points are almost too numerious to count. When people talk about Transmedia Storytelling, or about using micro segmenting your consumer communications they should really be looking to this […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: