A Lesson In Cross-Platform Storytelling
Updated: Jun 28, 2018
3, 2, 1. Roll cameras!” At that direction, the green SUV takes off around Pikes Peak International Raceway, followed closely behind by a flying drone, a man holding an RED Epic Dragon camera, a woman snapping stills on her Canon DSLR, and an entire crew making sure that the whole operation runs smoothly.
The GoPro has its eyes on Dale Tribe family member Amy as she approaches the camera operator head on. She’s accelerating at full speed down the track for a deceleration test and needs to stop right in front of the traffic cones, but well ahead of the stopping zone she hits the brakes. “I’m going to kill him!” Amy calls out, looking worried at the cameraman. Cue laughter. Cut cameras. Reposition crew - and roll again.
Confused about where you are? This is inHouse Productions’ shoot in Colorado last November. We were producing a campaign for Hum By Verizon featuring popular YouTubing family, The Dale Tribe. This might sound like a lot of cameras for an influencer shoot, but in reality they’re all necessary when executing a cross-platform storytelling campaign.
What is cross-platform storytelling? How does it work?
Essentially, cross-platform storytelling is contracting an influencer to post on multiple channels within a campaign, and tailoring that content to be specific to each platform while simultaneously creating a cohesive brand story.
So why do you need platform-specific content? Social media is a whole range of different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube; the list goes on), meaning sometimes certain content will perform better on one channel than another.
Additionally, certain platforms are better tailored to meet a brand’s campaign goals. For example, if the Key Performance Indicator is link clinks, then that strategy varies per platform. On Facebook it’s easier to link something in the caption, while on Instagram you have to drive to a link in bio.
Furthermore, people are more likely to watch videos without sound on Facebook, meaning that the content needs to be tailored for the eyes that are going to be on it. This is why we give videos subtitles on Facebook. Make it fit within Instagram’s time constraints. Tailor the content to fit the audience that will view it on YouTube.
The star of our previous cross-platform storytelling campaigns has been YouTube. For our Hum by Verizon campaign this went as follows:
✶ inHouse was hired to create the Hero Video that would live on the brand’s channels (that’s the fully-premium video starring the hired influencer, The Dale Tribe)
✶ In order to draw eyes to that video, inHouse contracted The Dale Tribe who fit Hum’s target audience criteria to tease up the Hero Video via behind-the-scenes promo videos that lived on their influencer channels
✶ inHouse contracted static image promo posts on both their Instagram and Facebook profiles to direct as many eyes as possible to the Hero Video on the brand channel
inHouse then used YouTube and Facebook’s extensive paid media targeting capabilities to extend the reach of the content to the right audience.
Why do we use cross-platform storytelling as a campaign strategy?
Reach, engagement, website traffic - to mention a few. It all depends on your objective. But think about it: What do you think is going to move more people to action? A one-off static image of an influencer holding a product or a multi-channel strategy that incorporates the influencer, product and a range of different social media formats (video, static image, IG/Snapchat stories)?
We spoke to Jon Dale, father of the The Dale Tribe to get his take on the campaign and how the strategy worked best to reach across their entire followership.
iH: What was your favorite part about working on this campaign?
JD: Our favorite part of working on this campaign was our time with the iH team. They’re an absolutely delightful team to work with. This was our first larger production as a family and each member of the team went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable. At the end of the day we felt like we’d spent the day with close friends.
iH: Do you find using multiple channels to be an effective strategy when partnering with a brand? (Like posting across Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube) Why/How?
JD: Absolutely! Our subscribers connect with us across all the social platforms. Each subscriber has their favorite platform that they are using each day. So it’s great when brands work with us to reach them across all the platforms. We treat the different platforms differently. When we have a partner that understands this it’s so much more effective.
iH: Do you have an anecdote or moment from being on the set with inHouse that you’d like to share?
JD: One of the funniest moments on the set was when Amy was doing the deceleration test and decided that the cameraman - who was a hundred yards beyond the stopping point in complete safety - might be in danger. She stopped the car well ahead of the start of the stopping zone and yelled out of the window something to the effect of, ‘I can’t do this, I might kill him.’
Why inHouse is an expert on cross-platform storytelling?
In today’s brand content ecosystem, the individuals creating the content (the Director, Producers, Editors) many times aren't pulled into the project until right before the content is created and are contracted as an outside third party vendor, where as a brand owner or a strategist might have been working on the content plan for months. The production team, as a result, is not as familiar with the brand or the goals set early on in the strategy phase. At inHouse, our organizational structure attempts to bridge this gap between art, science, and execution. Our seasoned team of creatives, social and media strategists and production are involved in the project from beginning to end. This allows for streamlined communications, cost efficiencies, and ensuring that each piece of content works in sync with the others and is best tailored for each platform.
Want to learn more about how cross-platform storytelling works? Check out some of our other campaigns:
To learn more on how you can partner with the inHouse team please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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