Here’s a fantastic interview with Scott Prindle of CP+B by Edward Boches on the role of the Creative Technologist in creating brand narratives. A lot of Prindle’s discussion about the role of Creative Technologists could easily be interchanged with that of Transmedia Producers and Strategists. The difference between the two is emphasis - Creative Technologists lean more heavily on their expertise in technology as it pertains to creative pursuits, and Transmedia experts start with the narrative process and consider ways in which technology can enhance the fan (“consumer”) experience and still drive revenue.
But beyond defining our roles, Prindle and Boches offer us this directive: to fuse ourselves as experts who understand the technology and art of storytelling into the brand narrative process as part of the agency team. Sounds great. But in order to accomplish this we recognize that most industry views us as evangelizers, philosophers and, at best, teachers - not the builders we actually are.
Positioning technologies in the creative concepting process IS the correct move and will bring significant and mutual benefits to the agency process (digital and traditional). But getting agencies to listen to our evangelizing is easy. It’s asking them to put their money where their mouth is by reorganizing and incorporating Transmedia experts and creative technologists to their internal teams that they suddenly cringe and run for cover.
So where does this bring us in Transmedia? Do we simply look down our noses and point our fingers at the advertising lemmings headed for the cliff? Maybe we should instead take a long look at ourselves and realize that jumping up and down and defining the cliff isn’t going to get them to stop. That in fact, Transmedia is being driven toward its own demise due to our own lack of consideration for company perspectives on organizational design and change management.
We have, for the most part, thrown up our hands at considering the issues on the business side of Transmedia, and then bitterly complain that we’ve been left on the bench. It is impossible to consider taking the next intelligent steps toward becoming internal team members of established systems, such as ad agencies, film studios, and music labels, when we amongst ourselves cannot manage a discussion about how to design a Transmedia business.
I have offered on several occasions to speak on organizational design for Transmedia. Not once have I ever been taken up on it - instead, I’ve been asked to discuss definitions for Transmedia Storytelling, Transmedia Marketing, Franchising, Social Media Analytics, and Project Execution. How can any of that matter if we don’t help to create the companies that foster these ideas? Many Transmedia companies are popping up who do not even know how to design their own organizational structures. How do you expect to tell others to change how they function, when you can’t even figure it out for yourselves?
So, yes, I know, I’ve been harsh here. But it’s for good reason. When we can have an intelligent discussion about the business of Transmedia rather than the definition(s) of Transmedia, we can then ask others to follow our lead. Until then, we’re full of hot air.