If you read my previous article on why Transmedia Marketing is the Future of Brand Storytelling, you probably understand why your 2016 Inbound Marketing strategy requires compelling Transmedia storymaking (not storytelling).

In speaking with Dr. Chester Elijah Branch, author and Transmedia Architect who teaches digital and social media courses internationally, we explored the intersection between transmedia and social triggers. He referenced PR agency, Edelman's cloverleaf graphic which helped provide a visual for the conversation we were having:

Edelman Cloverleaf

As mentioned in the previous article, transmedia basically means to transport a story-world or message into a customer's everyday life through the use of multiple media platforms. "For example", explains Dr. Branch, "P&G wanted to sell soap; so, they created soap operas. As a result, these story worlds became a part of their audience's everyday life. This kind of immersive marketing allows for what Jonah Berger calls social triggers".

In Berger's book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he references Rebecca Black's song "Friday" as a good example of a social trigger. The title reminds us of the end of every week and naturally found its way into conversations both online and via terrestrial radio. It was also very easy to remix and parody.

An example that might surprise you is Cheerios. Cheerios gets more word of mouth than Disneyland. It might be surprising but the success is due to social triggers. People tend to talk about things when reminded of them. The Cheerios brand is more a part of our everyday life (i.e. breakfast) than a Disneyland is as a vacation destination.

Applying transmedia-inbound strategy to such an immersive marketing campaign can boost a brands SEO rank and strengthen a continuous stranger-to-promoter loop. That is, Transmedia Marketing helps strangers discover your brand, join in the conversation and, by doing so, helping to promote your brand to their friends. This is why social triggers should be a big part of your 2016 Inbound strategy if they aren't already.

Many strategists have already seen a clear parallel between Transmedia and Inbound strategy. "Because Transmedia is such a large-scale concept," says Dr. Branch, "I would place Inbound Strategy under the umbrella of Transmedia Marketing."


"If you have managed to attach transmedia to social triggers, prosumerism, and social currency, then your customers will blog and/or post compelling stories mentioning your product or service", Dr. Branch says. "This will attract strangers who are searching for help in their own personal journeys and will also attract strangers who are friends with your current customers."

In essence, these strangers discover your brand and will in turn check out your site. If they like what they see, perhaps they will subscribe to your brand, and then share their own stories with others about how your brand helped them. This keeps the inbound cycle going and avoids outbound/disrupting billboard-type ads. It also continues to promote your brand through more trustworthy channels like friends and organic search queries.

Marketers have embraced story as a part of their strategy from the beginning. But the story, at least in our digital world, is changing. According to Nedra Weinreich, the age of the 30-second spot and interruption marketing is just about over. The new challenge for marketers today is to figure out how to "integrate their products and brands into the content to which people want to pay attention." Through social currency, prosumerism, social triggers, and inbound strategy, transmedia marketing provides us with that clear path to integration.

Clearly, your 2016 Inbound strategy requires social triggers and Transmedia storymaking if you want your content marketing to be relevant.

Images in this article were provided by Venngage.