I spent the last weekend driving up to Baltimore, from Atlanta, to drop off my daughter’s cats that we were catsitting. Long road trips like these are made much more enjoyable while listening to a good and engaging book. Seeing as though this was a 26-hour roundtrip, I got to enjoy two such books, and would highly recommend the new Thrawn (Star Wars) trilogy. As most Star Wars enthusiasts, I have learned that Disney has a masterful way of telling a story and is a marketing machine when it comes to getting suckers like me to read every book, comic book, watch every cartoon (yes I admit I still read comic books and loved Star Wars Rebels), and of course see every movie just to get some sort of small clue of the expected big reveals in the next movie. I won’t add any spoilers here, but contact me if you want to discuss my theory on why the next movie is called “Rise of Skywalker”. An epiphany I had while driving through West Virginia. Anyways, this masterful storytelling technique is called Transmedia. To many of us this technique is nothing new, but when executed properly, it incredibly effective.
So what can Enterprise Architects, and other IT Leaders learn from Transmedia? I am so glad you asked.
In my recent note “How Architecting for Next-Generation Experiences Helps to Deliver Customer and Business Outcomes“, I discuss that reaching customers where they are at the point of a decision is a multiexperience strategy. The goal is to understand that there are many touchpoints and channels that offer specific opportunities and advantages beyond mobile. These include where customers are (physically), what they’re doing (contextually), and what they’re experiencing at the time (experientially), as illustrated in the image below.
Enterprise Architects and IT Leaders are constantly challenged with being able to impart ideas, visions, and strategies that inspire action and commitment. They must also provide an understanding of the underlying value and drive better business outcomes. Philip Allega discusses this challenge in great detail in his note “Storytelling for Enterprise Architecture: How to Influence and Persuade Leaders of EA Value in Decision Making” in which he provides guidance on using the classic narrative arc in three acts to communicate and collaborate on ideas.
So here is how I recommend we start thinking about the best ways to collaborate, communicate, and engage our audiences in order to help achieve our targeted business outcome, encouraging innovation and ultimately leading to digital transformation by inventing the future of the organization (see my previous blog post on Continuous Foresight). We need to learn from and embrace, transmedia storytelling techniques. We need to maximize multiexperience and classic storytelling strategies to their fullest by adopting to the key tenets of transmedia storytelling:
- Use multiple experiences (i.e media and emerging technologies) to not just adapt the story to the audience, but to provide new and deeper insights unique to each experience.
- Each experience must be unified in telling one singular larger story (as a unified digital strategy)
If we could provide our internal customers, stakeholders, and executive teams the information they need, at the point of decision, in the way(s) that are most effective at reaching them where they are and are telling a consistent story across these multiexperiences, each of which is providing new and deeper insights, we have come a long way to solving the challenges of being able to impart ideas, visions and strategies that inspire action and commitment that will lead to a unified digital transformation strategy.