The Importance of Multimedia

Multimedia is all around us in today’s world. From TikTok to YouTube, there is no way to escape the land of multimedia. Boiler Communication recently introduced the Multimedia Manager role in fall 2021. Take a look at how multimedia can impact your upcoming client projects.

What is Multimedia?

In much of today’s world, things are visual. With the world reaching a (hopeful) end to a long pandemic, people are shifting more to video and other platforms to get their message across. No longer do you have door-to-door salespeople shoving things in your face. Now, you have ads popping up everywhere when you watch a video or listen to a podcast. We live in a new world where multimedia is dominating f PR, advertising, and marketing.

So what is multimedia and why should you care about it?

Multimedia is a form of communication that combines many different aspects of content such as copy, audio, images, animation, video, you name it! It is different from mass media in that it’s an interactive way of engaging with an audience. Multimedia is all around us. It’s there when you watch your favorite YouTube video, listen to a podcast, open TikTok, and scroll through your social media accounts. There’s no way of escaping it … unless you have no access to technology or the internet. Businesses are starting to find that if they want to increase their engagement and retain consumers, they need to find ways of getting their attention. And that, my friends, is what multimedia does. Increase engagement and retain consumers’ attention.

TLDR: Multimedia is any form of communication in which businesses interact with consumers through a variety of content such as video, audio, images, text, animation, etc.

The Many Shapes and Forms of Multimedia.

Like I’ve said before, there is no escaping multimedia. It lives all around us, whether you like it or not. Deal with it. It’s the new, cool, trendy form of marketing, PR, and advertising (and you know how much people love their trends) What exactly is multimedia? Surely not everything is multimedia … and you are correct there … sort of. Most things are multimedia though. Here is just a running list of things that are considered multimedia (buckle up, it’s hefty):

  • Videography

  • Photography

  • Animation

  • Podcasts

  • TikTok

  • Instagram Reels

  • Commercials

  • Graphic design

  • Instagram Stories

  • Interactive media

  • Shared media

  • Owned media

  • YouTube

TLDR: Multimedia has many shapes and forms. It exists as a way for consumers and businesses to interact and form a relationship. Some examples of multimedia are videography, photography, podcasts, TikTok, and most forms of shared and owned media. 

That’s Cool and All but Why Should I Care?

You want your brand to be shared, don’t you? You want to stand out among your competitors, right? Well, then that’s why you should care. Multimedia is a powerful way to raise awareness about your brand in a unique and engaging way.

Take Duolingo for example. Before they had a large presence on TikTok, they were simply just an app to help people learn another language. Now with the rise of TikTok and short 30-second videos, they have developed a personality for themselves using their cute, green, owl mascot. Duolingo became viral, not for their app, but for their brand personality. People loved the adorable owl who twerked on an office desk to promote Duolingo Plus. They loved the owl sliding down a glass window to Taylor Swift’s Enchanted in response to those who cheat using Google Translate to help them on Duolingo. Duolingo became relatable. Just like Wendy’s has built a sassy personality for themselves on Twitter, Duolingo took to TikTok and did the same thing but using video instead of copy.

So what is Duolingo’s advice on retaining their audience and growing it? Entertain them, don’t sell them. People don’t like when a brand is shoved in their face as if a door-to-door salesman was invading your TikTok. What Duolingo is doing is subtle. They are interacting with consumers in the comment section replying as if it was the green owl. Duolingo has become that pushy friend (who you love) that motivates you to do your homework and learn a new language.

TLDR: Duolingo has become a successful brand in the multimedia world by creating a witty and sassy personality for themselves. It’s all about raising awareness about your brand in a unique and engaging way.

SOS: Where Do I Even Begin?

This is a common question I get asked before starting a client campaign. Will multimedia be needed and if so, where do I begin?

I want to preface this by saying: multimedia is NOT needed for everything. For example, does a nursing home that is looking to gain new residents need a TikTok? No, maybe not now … but when Gen Z is older, probably.

Understanding when multimedia is needed, knowing the first steps, and identifying which platform(s) to use can be tricky. Here is a quick summary to answer all those questions.

Step 1: Research

Know who your client is and their target market. Understand what they are trying to accomplish. Are they trying to grow their brand presence? Do they want to entertain people? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, you should consider using multimedia to help you achieve those goals.

Step 2: Brainstorm

Once you have figured out what platform(s) you want to use, it’s time to brainstorm how you are going to use multimedia on each. TikTok should solely be to entertain people. You don’t see people selling products on TikTok much do you? And if you do, take note of their engagement, both comments, shares, and likes. WARNING: Do not post the same content to every platform. Something that gets a ton of engagement on TikTok will not perform as well on Facebook. The two platforms are used for different reasons. Understand each platform’s use and go from there.

Step 3: Do it

Once you have found out what platform(s) you will use and how you will use them, it’s time to actually put in the work. This is where your creativity will shine. Always keep in mind who your brand is though. Keep in mind their voice. We don’t want to humanize a brand in a way that does not align with their voice.

TLDR: Understanding and knowing the first steps are the trickiest parts of starting multimedia tactics, but by doing research, brainstorming, and implementing the work, you will be on your way to increasing engagement for your client.

Ave Smith (Class of ‘23) is the Multimedia Manager at Boiler Communication. She is from St. Charles, IL. Follow her on Instagram, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn. Please reach out with any questions.

By Carol Balk
Carol Balk Career Consultant