'Cultural Convergence' is not just another buzzword (or two). The phrase describes an emerging pattern of relations bringing together entertainment, advertising, brands, and consumers in creative and often surprising ways. These new relations are underpinned by three key concepts: transmedia entertainment, participatory culture, and experiential marketing.
Transmedia Entertainment describes the flow of stories, images, characters, and information across various media platforms. The coordinated fashion in which this takes place deepens consumer experiences.
Participatory Culture describes new ways consumers interact with media content, media producers, and each other as they explore the resources available to them across the media landscape. Consumers are active participants, shaping the creation, circulation, and interpretation of media content. Participation deepens emotional investment in media properties, expanding their awareness of both content and brand.
Experiential Marketing refers to key ways to capitalize on participatory culture and a transmediated media environment. Developing novel brand extensions and strategies that play out across multiple media channels enhances consumer identification with both products and brands.
Convergence describes a process rather than an endpoint. More than just technological consolidation, the process of convergence is distinguished by changing consumer flows through the media landscape. It represents a tectonic shift that has altered the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences. As advertisers look for new ways to engage audiences, content creators search for new audiences, and audiences seek new ways to connect with culture, the nature of what counts as entertainment, advertising, and culture are rapidly changing. We are seeing the blurring of aesthetic and technological distinctions between media platforms, of 'advertising' and 'content,' and of 'creator and 'consumer.
This altered landscape privileges 'expressions' over 'impressions;' engaged consumers draw together information across multiple media experiences, creating new touchpoints for brands and properties. Convergence culture calls for a re-negotiation of the expectations of media content producers, advertisers, and audiences.