Grant McCracken with some more thoughts on "transmedia" and branding.
"Transmedia" is a powerful idea, as it effectively addresses, and potentially resolves, a number of thorny issues surrounding media fragmentation, consumer-created-content, co-creation, brand meaning management and the erosion of mass culture. My head's still spinning reading Grant's thoughts!
...could we, should we, open brand or cadet narratives to many authors in several media. This is the heart of transmedia. To quote Jenkins once more, "A transmedia story unfolds across multiple meida platforms with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole." Could this be allowed to happen for Mr. Clean or Sophie?
Here too the corporate instinct is to dig in and say "no." After all, the brand manager is supposed to manage brand meanings, and, surely, this can't mean handing over the reins to everyone. But isn't this already a central problem of the cocreation strategy, and isn't this very much in keeping with our understanding that brands that have immaculate conception and hermetic seals are not really very interesting to the world any more. Letting lots of people play is a problem that all of us face already.
No, the real issue with the Jenkinsian challenge is allowing other professional meaning managers in on the game. It is one thing to allow consumers in on the game of meaning manufacture. It is quite another to bring in film makers, comic book artists, bloggers, writers, and then to let them loose in all the media they represent. How would we exercise any thing like David Aaker's branding discipline in a world like this? There are too many cooks in the kitchen. Too many messages in the world. No real chance to control the inevitable diversity of treatment that would ensue. No real way of protecting oneself from brand mischief or malice.