Everything we touch, smell, see, and feel has a story.
The mango is a good example. If you dissect the journey of a fruit from tree to table, there are a wealth of stories as it passes through each station. Those stories, not just about the fruit itself, are about the people who touch it.
The farmers, their children. The pesticide manufacturer. The workers who pick the fruit. The warehouse that ships the fruit after it’s picked. The pilot or ship captain. The workers at the receiving dock. The trucking company and its drivers. The grocery store and the produce workers, cashiers, and customers. The recipes.
Each story can be told in a different venue. I will share some examples so you might be able to think of more ways to tell your own stories, even your company’s stories.
For the record, I don’t really eat mangos, but I am still fascinated by their story.
Mangos, and More Mangos
This sweet-tasting tropical fruit grows in abundance in South America, with about 50 percent of Brazil’s production in the Northern Region of the country. Here, the frost-free subtropical climate is ideal for an industry that is growing by the bushel.
Transmedia application: The following video shares a small capture of how mangos love Brazil. Video is a great way to showcase other aspects of this fruit’s story. One could start a YouTube channel that exclusively focuses on mangos.
Like many farms across the globe, farming is passed down through generations. They have stories about each year of crop and how weather, insects, and other challenges have impacted their yields.
Mangos do not ripen on a tree at the same time, therefore workers have to go back and pick at least six times.
Besides the shape of the fruit, a hand-held device helps determine the sweetness and ripeness of a fruit.
Transmedia application: Instead of using video as a descriptor for how to know when a mango is ready to be picked, or how to irrigate the land, one can start a mango blog and flush out the process with more detail.
Waiting to Be Shipped
The farmer might gather the mangos and transport them on a boat up the river to a warehouse in Sao Paulo near the airport.
Tree-ripened mangos may be cut up and sold in packets because they are too soft to be sent whole. Of course, the shelf life is limited to a few days, so the shipment would be flown to a waiting importer, who will get it into a store within 48 hours.
Whole mangos are picked green so that they do not get bruised or damaged in transit. You might see them packed into 30-pound ginger boxes.
Some countries have restrictions about allotments and container space, especially during certain times of the year.
Once they arrive at their designated country, the mangos are trucked to where they will be sold.
Transmedia application: A flip book or a coffee table book with vivid photographs and descriptions could tell the tale of a mango’s journey from the warehouse to the store.
Two for a Dollar
Once a green mango gets shipped to the retailer, it has a shelf life of about 10 days. The ripening process is faster if the fruit is chilled. Weird, I know.
At the store, there are numerous people who handle the fruit, starting with the receiving dock, the produce manager, the grocery staff who stock the shelves, the customer, and the cashier.
Transmedia application: Pinterest or Instagram are visual platforms that embrace vibrant and interesting pictures. Instagram is like a mini-blog, where you can be as descriptive as you’d like with a photo. On Pinterest, you can create numerous boards, such as: the mango fruit; customers and their story; the staff; the suppliers; recipes; the journey; the farms; the country of origin.
It’s Time to Eat
Everyone has a number of ways they like to consume a mango. It might be mixed with other fruit in a smoothie, cut up on a plate, in juice, or on a steak.
What a person does with a mango when they get home is their own business. But maybe the customer is a restaurant. Everyone has a preference on how they want to eat.
Transmedia application: A podcast about mangos that includes recipes, how to cut and prepare, and stories that surround the fruit.
The Mango is the Media or Is That Visa Versa?
So the mango in transmedia is just one of many examples of how a product, the people around the product, and a company producing the product can use the free digital tools to showcase a business.
You’ll note that, even with the grocery store, it’s not about telling people to buy. It’s showmanship. It’s the look and feel, the experience that sells the story (produce). Sure, there are some who shop around for prices. But a true mango lover, someone who appreciates the experience, will still buy it, no matter what.
Debbie Elicksen is a digital publicist, writer, and marketing and transmedia strategist. She helps companies and entrepreneurs learn how to reinvent, promote, and grow their business using the free tools readily available. She has over 20 years of direct media experience: TV, print, radio, and Internet; is a former sportswriter; and has written and published 14 books. @bookpublish101