Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Business Of Brand & The Challenge Of Transmedia

I've been following the blurring of the line between Brands and filmmakers for a while now. l love the idea. I love what Gunther Sonnenfeld and others have to say and agree with many of the fundamental tenets as I've worked with brands my entire career to create content and narratives.

Where I stumble - particularly with brands creating (meaning leading the process, having approvals, going through legal etc.) deeper narratives with cultural impacts, is in the fact that brands often have very narrow platforms for the creation and building of value/s.

In the work that we do at Gravity, we have processes to expand brands to wider platforms in order to better operationalize them and in fact I've been using that process for over ten years. However, powerful narratives are often based on complexity. It's about characters or situations that could be morally ambiguous or are filled with the complexity of a range of our human characters both good and bad.

Brands, even great ones, will never be able to encompass that level of complexity because it ultimately goes against the principles of building great brands in the minds of customers in order to sell products. Having worked on a number of projects now that are films looking for brands or brands looking for films, the conversation inevitably goes towards approvals, control and a discussion on what are the impacts to the brand if the content goes off course from the values of what the brand stands for.

The business of storytelling and the art of it might be blurring, but they are NOT the same thing.

I fear as a brand marketer and innovation driver that many companies and agencies are going to go down wrong minded paths. It wasn't so long ago that many Agencies sold their clients large scale multimillion dollar websites for pet lovers and now they are doing the same for communities of interest (come tell YOUR story about OUR product and WIN as if that's interesting to anyone). What's next?

I believe there is a significant role that brands can play in this so called Transmedia world. I'm working on a number of projects as we speak. But it sees the role of brands often as investor, empowerer, enabler and participator vs. controller and creator. I think there is a big difference and I think we should all give a great deal more thought to how this could play itself out or we will end up not only wasting a lot of brand dollars but we will damage a market that is clearly ripe for change.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Real Time Web Analytics