Total Content and the Creative Industry

In addition to text & (moving) images, Total Content also consists of all other channels (such as sound, smell, touch, etc.) with which senses can be played, and with which an organisation sends a message, online and offline, consciously and unconsciously.

Total Content: 2D, 3D and 4D

Total Content spans media in various dimensions:

  • 2D, two-dimensional: the flat surface: screen and paper.
  • 3D, three-dimensional: space. A flat surface is never completely flat; a laptop, tablet, telephone and TV are also a kind of three-dimensional boxes. Even a sheet of paper has a certain thickness, this is especially noticeable with a thick book. You can divide 3D into:
    • Design. Designed objects smaller than humans, such as: packaging, products, furniture, fashion, etc.
    • Architecture. Designed objects that are larger than humans, such as: houses, buildings, roads, landscapes, gardens, interiors of houses, shops, offices etc.
  • 4D, four-dimensional: space plus time. The recipient spends a certain amount of time on content:
    • 1. Look at it, read it, listen, smell it, etc.
    • 2. Think back to what he saw, read, etc.
    • 3. Talk about it, share it via social media, etc.
    • 4D is therefore about experiencing: the time that the recipient spends on consuming the content.
    • An amusement park such as Disneyland is completely designed for experiencing, thinking back and sharing the Total Content. But stores are also designed to create an optimal experience. And offices can also be set up to optimise the experience.

Total Content: 4 Levels

Organisational LevelStrategic LevelTactical LevelOperational Level
What Message Does the Organisation Communicate? What Message Does the Brand Communicate?What Message Does the Campaign Communicate?Which Message Do Medium & Content Communicate?

If you want to optimise the experience in an amusement park, shop or office, it is not enough to deal with the architecture and provide music, smells etc. All the 2D, 3D and 4D media have to be aligned.

This optimisation starts with creating the separate objects / media and the content; this is the Operational Level. Subsequently, all these created objects / media must be attuned to each other at Tactical Level, so that a certain experience is created within a certain period of time (such that knowledge, attitude, and intended behaviour change). For example at an attraction or within a department of the store or in an office space.

All these experiences must be coordinated so that they fit together and fit the total amusement park, or the total store, or the total office. We are talking her about the Strategic Level.

People working in the amusement park / store / office are very important to creating the total experience. But the visitors and how they behave also contribute greatly to the total experience.

The entire organisation is a content carrier

The behaviour of all these people is influenced, among other things, by Internal Communication, but mainly by the overall behaviour of the organisation: how much time do the employees get for their tasks, what is expected of them, what training do they receive for this, what other support do they receive, how are they paid, etc.

This is about Organisational Level. Also consider the feeling that visitors have after a visit: for example, do they feel like a consumer who has to spend as much as possible, or do they feel like a member of the “family”, etc.

The entire organisation is therefore a content carrier: a medium. A medium carries content and that content contains a message.

Applying Total Content

Think bigger than traditional 2D content, think outside-the-box. For instance:

  • You can see a store’s range as content, because it evokes a certain image, it expresses an identity. What core message does the store send out with its range? That it is cheap? Or a specialist? Or that the shop stands for sensible living? etc.
  • Propaganda can be done with the traditional art & copy, but also with for example sending relief goods, developing medicines, etc. This can all be used to polish the image of a country.

Total Content, Creative Industry, Content Marketing

Total Content is produced by various people with different professions and expertise in the Creative Industry. For example: copywriters, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, cartoonists, filmmakers, set designers, interior designers, architects, designers, etc

Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left – Seth Godin

Displays are ubiquitous in our world. They are the most important medium for companies to get and stay in touch with people. That’s why content is so important. That is why Marketing has almost completely changed into Content Marketing.

But the world is not just 2D screens. Content can span 3D and 4D. With Total Content, a brand can therefore come into contact with the target group via various touchpoints.

Content versus Marketing, Creative versus Rational

With marketing, a company tries to optimise the process of earning from the market. This is a rational process. The coordination of the different levels of content is also primarily a rationally driven process.

You don’t win by constantly looking at the scoreboard.

But consuming the content is not rational. Creating content is also not rational, because if a creative is driven too much by the goals that have to be achieved, then he can no longer make beautiful things, and so the experience will not be optimal.

A medium carries content and that content contains a message.


  1. Hi Harry.. this reading is particularly interesting to me prior to my blog writing about the differences between PODCAST Vs BROADCAST. In these audio-based media (podcast & radio), we focus on the format as much as the content or the message we want to convey. We spent several weeks discussing about what format must we use to convey our meaning. There comes the creativity in creating our contents: we record our interviews using zoom-which is actually a video-based meeting application, we insert break time in which contained PSA & music performances by other study department in UPH. I must say, I agree with a famous phrase: “The medium is the message” is a phrase coined by the Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan and introduced in his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964, also Canadian Universalist minister and theologian Angus MacLean coined the phrase “The method is the message” several years before McLuhan put “The medium is the message” in print. It is a corollary to McLuhan’s work: “asserting that how religion is taught is more important than what is taught”.

  2. […] Total Content. In addition to text & (moving) images, Total Content also consists of all other channels (such as sound, smell, touch, etc.) with which senses can be played, and with which an organization sends out a message, online and offline, consciously and unconsciously. (See also: Total Content and the Creative Industry.) […]

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