|See what I did here? :)|
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Trust in Transmedia
I’ve read a couple of articles over the past few days that has got me thinking (in part because it looks like we’re getting the go-ahead on a couple of projects that I’ve been itching to dig into for some time now, and this subject will be very much amongst the ones on top of the ”solve-this”-list).
I think we all agree that simply aiming for Likes and followers and views gets us nowhere as far as telling stories go. It’s what we do with these Likers and followers and viewers that matter. And in that context, trust is a major factor (there’s a good post up from February touching on the subject here).
So, how can I as a creator achieve the level of trust that will not only make people want to watch and take part of my new content, but also advocate the content onwards to their friends and acquaintances? And as, for instance, participation and co-creation – User Contributed Content – implies that people have a great deal of trust in me as a creator and provider to a) offer them the experience they assume that they will get and b) take care of whatever it is that they have created, in the best way possible, that trust needs to be earned.
If we look at the word itself, it does give some hints of how to achieve this. Trust is defined as the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Looking at those words, there are some routes we can look at.
First off “Reliability”. The audience should look at our project, then look at us and go “yeah, I can rely on those to provide me with what they promise”. This is either down to us as creators and the reputation we’ve built for ourselves, or the quality of the brand we’re working with, be it the IP or the backing production company or something else that people feel they can rely on.
Secondly, “Truth”. This is so very important, to not be seen lying or withholding the truth from the audience. This is not to say that ALL of the truths need to be spoken about or revealed, but we need to be able to explain WHY we’re not revealing those truths and have a good reason to back the decision up. And not, never, hoax. Not if we want the audience’s trust.
Thirdly, “Ability”. This has a lot to do with how we present our content, our project. A well executed trailer or pre-ARG or support from respected people in the industry or in the target group the project aims to reach can help. It’s the belief that what’s promised will be delivered, and that, if anything, it won’t stumble on the people involved not having the required skill sets to complete what they’ve set out to do. A good reputation doesn’t hurt either.
Fourthly, “Strength”. The audience of today could care less about which studio is producing which movie. But the audience is also increasingly savvy when it comes to media consumption, savvy enough to realize that when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re a small company without any backers, content- or funding-wise, don’t promise the world to the audience. Be honest; refer to “Truth” above. On the other hand, if you are backed by HBO, use that to your advantage! People want to invest in winners, and the stronger the partners of a project, the more likely it’ll end up on the winner’s side in the end.
So, trust. Hard to get, easy to lose. Build on your reliability, your truth, your ability and your strength. And when you've gained someone's trust, be sure to take every precaution to not betray that trust in any way. Best of luck to everyone J.