The Relationship Between Transmedia Storytelling and Semiotics

Transmedia Storytelling refers to different pieces of content that are shared through several media platforms; each of these pieces is a story, but all the parts combined form a storyworld (Jenkins, 2006). Therefore, from a perspective of semiotics, Transmedia Storytelling can be considered a supersystem formed by many sign systems; the supersystem is the storyworld and each of the sign systems (story, experience, platforms, audience, business model) is a component of the story; in addition, each of those systems is composed by subsystems (Gambarato, 2012).

Carlos Scolari holds the view that Transmedia Storytelling is a narrative structure that expands through different media platforms using different types of languages such as text, images or symbols. It also expands through different forms of meaning, such as verbal and symbols and also different forms of media, which allows the story to extend and differ from the traditional approach of developing one single storyline on several platforms.

In Transmedia Storytelling, consumers can seek for information in each media platform to make their own connections (Jenkins, 2006) and give the story continuity and meaning. In stories that involve multiple platforms a dynamic cycle occurs when users interpret the semiotic signs that are being given to them through different media, thus generating a meaning from them. These must be used carefully in a Transmedia Storytelling setting considering that “we interpret the presented visual content differently because we align its meaning with that of the presented content of the accompanying text” (Lemke, 2011, p.577). Therefore, semiotics is the part of TS that links the meaning of the elements it contains.

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When Fans Become Advocates

We live in a connected world, and it only takes a few seconds to share with everyone in your network something you really liked, whether it is through a facebook like, a share or another action on social media that will show your friends your devotion to this product or place.

With that said, it is also important to consider that we have become more restrictive about the type of content we share. We only share/like/post content that we want to be associated with and brands need to consider this when planning their marketing strategy.

Lets take as an example a well know brand such as Toms shoes. Toms donates 1 pair of shoes to a child in need in the poorest countries whenever someone purchases a pair. The concepts that consumers associate with these brand are altruism, charity, awareness, etc. If these concepts agree with the image i want to portray to my friends i am more likely to share their content, eventually purchase their products and become a loyal customer for years to come.

But before going as far as the purchase, lets focus on the stage of “sharing their content”, whenever I share a video or a photo that the brand has posted on their social networks I am exponentially growing their possible customer base, however this does not mean they will all run out and buy a pair of shoes. But, if the content that the brand shares has continuity, it agrees with the image i want to portray and encourages me to share it, then i will continue to do so through time and the brand would have gained an advocate.

An advocate is much more poweful than a simple share or a like, it is someone who will continue to publicize your brand and even take the brand influence offline. An advocate is a true believer in the brand values and the product attached to them and will encourage those in his close network to become customers of your brand too.

So, brands…do you really value your advocates enough?