Nov 272013
 

I was invited to present a keynote, of sorts, at the Merging Media 2013 conference – a short and sweet two day conference featuring many great topics and good international speakers with a focus on the business/production side of multi platform but also the more usual esoteric aspects of transmedia and inherent community thinking. My talk was originally going to be a show and tell of all the new opportunities afforded to us by mobile, social & always-on networks, eye-candy with a chunk of futurist ‘my how the world is changing’ – but I decided to turn it more into a ‘what makes a compelling experience’ combined with ‘state of the industry (covered in my previous post)’ combined with a ‘process approach to creating service’, ¬†talk instead – with a little of the navigating the new landscape for good measure. So waaay too much in the time allotted, but at least this article has room to breathe ūüôā

I hope I give a flavour of the talk below. I believe Merging Media will be making videos available too – which I won’t be able to watch as I rushed the latter part :(. The first part was actually partly scripted so that made it easier to copy some of that below the slides but there is much much more afterwards with lots of embedded media, I think there is a flow in the post. Obviously the slides only tell a quarter of the story and embedded after the break, but first…

Hello and thanks for inviting me to keynote here in wonderful Vancouver. Being one quarter French Canadian I do feel a little affinity with some of you, and have enjoyed a little time exploring & capturing the environment in the two days prior to this conference. But moving on let me apologise. I have struggled hard to find an innovative new theme, any new jewels of wisdom for you to ponder and apply to your own projects. So much in the transmedia arena has been talked about, theorised and postulated as the journey has only just begun. Perhaps the journey through the presentation itself may throw up some nuggets?. The media and storytelling environment in still in major transition and I and nobody else really knows where we are going, all I can do is prepare myself and others for this change. But first:

An Organic Multiplatform Transmedia Experience?

house
This is where I live at the moment and where, I believe, I had a compelling multiplatform experience. It was about two weeks ago. It involved personal life and death decisions, it involved loved ones, friends who lost everything, physical exertion, quests and games, feeling part of and working with a community, rich information, lots of information, the authorities, the law, anxiety, stress, stories of loss and heroism and making profound choices.
May 312011
 

I promised quite a few folk to provide a walk-through of my short 35 minute presentation at the Augmented Reality Event in California last week. The intention of the presentation was to take my AR Scenario & Business Model thinking to the next level, to go beyond marketing eye candy, clunky ‘questionable’ games and really dig down and think hard about the value proposition for users. In creating the presentation I had to look at a deeper level at the nature of experience, as in that we can start to really find true value in Augmenting our Reality. To begin though a little compilation video I threw together for this post and some future talks looking specifically at a range of locative augmented and alternate reality services (entertainment, promotion and advertorial) to set the landscape.

Music track is called Zemith from my ‘Calm After the Storm’ album in progress – subscribe free

The only way the Augmented Reality industry is going to emerge from its current commercial birthing period is for the brands, corporates & creatives to make sure that AR is delivering a unique, immersive experience and to start to consider the value of experiential (a marketing definition here).¬†This nature of experience, which I believe is inextricably linked to the future of AR, and the value users place on immersive services also leads at the end into a ‘experiential’ panel I am leading at Creative Sydney at the Opera House this week and I cover some of my thoughts in that space first.

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Feb 182011
 

Have about 22 draft posts sitting in my WordPress Post box, so a bit of catch-up in next week or two to clear some out!

Outside of the talk of what ‘transmedia’ actually is, the next key topic of controversy is how can you make money from it vs spending marketing money ‘on it’ to promote a traditional product/project. The Holy Grail at the moment is can we make the ‘multi platform, transmedia form’ an entertainment or service necessity – something worth users putting hands in pockets for (or clicking that PayPal button) and something worth spending the time and effort immersing yourself in – when there are so many other ‘linear’ fragments to graze on? This post therefore looks briefly at a core aspect of transmedia or experience design that is oft left out of the equation, the user need and how we can map out and create transmedia to meet those needs. Simple concept time.

Alongside traditional needs analysis and user centric design I have been writing & teaching recently about matching any creative project to a user or audience base – going beyond crude demographics or even psychographics and thinking about raw, primal need. I often start by saying

Before we can make any creation or experience ‘overwhelmingly’ engaging for someone else we have to be able to identify & define a broad range of needs that encompasses the physical through to social then to self-empowerment? Ask yourself…

  • Does your work go beyond short term titillation¬†(think 30 second ad spots, short films, virals or stunt marketing campaigns in shopping malls)¬†and encourage repeat visits over many months?
  • Does it contain intimate, social and group building elements?
  • Is it a trusted, familiar environment to use and take part in?
  • Does it actually work, not fall over, most of the time?
  • Does it encourage user creativity, stimulate user ethics or open their minds to other worlds
  • Will they be rewarded through the respect of others?

While I was constructing these points many moons ago it dawned on me I the similarities with the five levels in Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs which as you know was a paper from 1943 and book in 1954 looking at how we are motivated and what basic needs have to be fulfilled ‘before’ we can attain higher levels of engagement with ourselves and others. His work has already been used in marketing areas such as¬†Transpersonal Business (a new area using psychology to develop an understanding of consumer behaviour) and mapped to other emerging areas such as Online Communities by Amy Jo Kim in her 2000 book Community Building on the Web (hat tip Laurel Papworth 2008) or more dry areas such as ‘the internet hierarchy of needs‘. But here I am more interested in how Transmedia Story or Service creation has strong parallels in Maslow’s simple five level diagram, from a ground up user centric, development approach.

The Transmedia Heirarcy of Needs

So designing any transmedia service from a user centric design perspective, the idea in the above draft ‘pyramid’ diagram would be to start at level 1 ‘Physiological’ as a foundation and gradually build and evolve the social, play, story and design/functionality elements – taking into account the next four levels. It implies simply that first you need to have at your disposal a good variety of technically sound platforms with an appropriate mix of reliable media before you build the more sophisticated levels. How many services start at level 3? They go straight for the Facebook and Twitter network storytelling without solid user hub sites, or technically strong subscriber management or well thought out game or story. How many projects start at the top level? Linear and mostly one way broadcast forms, strong on story & morality but without any of the below social, multi faceted and play levels that draw users into long term, personal engagement? Here is the text version for the ‘copy, paste’rs’ amoungst us ūüôā Please note this is a first draft and will probably be embellished!

  • Level 1 Physiological –¬†technically sound, expected mix of media, reliability, available, multi platform variety, solid production
  • Level 2 Safety –¬†quality of service, trustworthiness of providers,¬†privacy of gameplay, service permanence,¬†level game playing field, shared rules and values
  • Level 3 Love/Belonging –¬†include friends and family, network elements,¬†discover new friends, share experiences
  • Level 4 Esteem –¬†able to excel & be seen to excel,¬†system recognises contribution¬†and/or abilities,¬†take part in team play, appear on leader boards & be peer reviewed
  • Level 5 Self-Actualization –¬†able to¬†add personal¬†original content,¬†the story surprises,¬†challenges morals &¬†enables problem solving,¬†become self empowered,¬†understand the world better

I have covered the concepts of each of those levels on many previous posts (eg: Producing Transmedia Stories and 1999 presentations such as Cross Media Design) and sure the mapping concepts here are not rocket science or particularly jaw dropping, but if you buy into Maslow’s Hierarchy and particularly the ‘level’ and evolution aspects, you really need to consider how those layered needs map across to your field whatever that may be? Transmedia, communities, education, marketing, public services, politics, social media and on.

UPDATE 1
I like this simple social media mapping from Erica Glasier too, which actually highlights specific services for each level ūüôā

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, & the Social Media that Fulfill 'Em

Aug 282009
 

Was going to call this Augmented Reality Story Environments but…:)

It is fascinating to see how quickly Augmented Reality (AR) is permeating our lives and the blogosphere. But what will the mass adoption of mobile devices that allow you to layer ‘virtual story worlds’ over the real world mean for new forms of entertainment & marketing? Also what will it mean when celebrities and audience/users, begin to merge – avatars appearing in broadcast TV and film/gamestars composited into our homes?

angelina_ar

I have posted about the cross-reality evolution over the last 3 years on this blog under a general mixed-reality umbrella. Now we have every blogger & journalist talking about their AR engaged iPhone, DSi, PSP or smart mobile as if they have discovered some advanced alien technology. But is it really is a game changer, a new playground for storytellers? A window to another world at one end through to a simple layered utility at the other. Actors and fantasy characters deliver lines, embedded in real world scenes, you find the hidden virtual treasure, the historical or future backstories and clues, video, sound, images – even fellow ‘players’ morph into strange aliens or dissapear, you leave red herrings or leave help for other players the possiblities, endless.

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