Looking Beyond Paid, Earned, Owned Media: The Brandsphere Infographic

In discussions about new media, you will often hear the division of media opportunities as Paid, Owned, and Earned media (P.O.E.M.). Over the years, I’ve studied the various categorization of media from a few perspectives, 1) that of traditional content creation, owners, budgets, and metrics, 2) how social networks cater to consumption and sharing, 3) how progressive businesses are approaching content strategies in social media and how they’re rethinking departments, intentions, metrics, and budgets,  and 4) also how media opportunities are packaged and sold by each network and who’s buying them and why. In many cases, I’ve found that  media is not limited to three groups, but instead categorized into five key segments: Paid, Promoted, Owned, Shared, and Earned. To visualize the model that reflects the state of new media, I once again partnered with my good friends at JESS3. The result…The Brandsphere.

Introducing The Brandsphere

Social networks and channels present brands with a broad array of media opportunities to engage customers and those who influence them. Each channel offers a unique formula for engagement where brands become stories and people become storytellers. Using a transmedia approach, the brand story can connect with customers differently across each medium, creating a deeper, more enriching experience. Transmedia storytelling doesn’t follow the traditional rules of publishing; it caters to customers where they connect and folds them into the narrative. In any given network, brands can invest in digital assets that span five media landscapes:

1. Paid: Digital advertising, banners, adwords, overlays

2. Owned: Created assets, custom content

3. Earned: Brand-related conversations and user-generated content

4: Promoted: in-stream or social paid promotions vehicles (e.g. Twitter’s Promoted products and Facebook’s Sponsored Stories)

5. Shared: Open platforms or communities where customers co-create and collaborate with brands. (e.g. Dell’s IdeaStorm and Starbuck’s MyStarbucksIdea.)

Any combination of the five media strategies defines a new Brandsphere where organizations can capture attention, steer online experiences, spark conversations and word of mouth can help customers address challenges or create new opportunities. Each media channel connects differently with people and thus requires a dedicated approach integrating tangible and intangible value. Doing so ensures a critical path for social media content: relevance, reach and resonance.

Click for a free hi-res download…

Center (White): At the center of the Brandsphere is the brand story. Everything starts with not just defining what the brand represents, but how it comes alive in social networks. This requires definition through a social media style guide and the development of a complete persona, voice, and promise.

Ring 1 (Red): The brand story is supported by tenets that serve as the connective tissue between the brand story and the technology that creates a path to consumers.

Ring 2: The vertical gray lines (triangles) divide the media types between Paid, Promoted, Owned, Shared, and Earned. Ring 2 provides the various options available to brands within each channel.

Ring 3 (Orange): Each media type is then enlivened through various forms of activation including Engagement, Gamification, SEO, Content Marketing, and SMO.

Ring 4 (Light Green): Media types are then visualized through the various platforms consumers use to discover, consume, and share content aka the Four Screens: PC, TV, Tablet, Mobile.

Ring 5 (Green): Media objects are then pushed and socialized through promotion, syndication, and organic means.

Ring 6 (Dark Green): Objects are further distributed and also measured through 1) Clickthroughs, presence and traffic, 2) Actions, Reactions, and Transactions (A.R.T), 3) Word of Mouth, and 4) Shares.

Ring 7 (Light Blue): Content then finds a permanent home among the groups that value information based on social graphs (personal and professional relationships) and interest graphs (networks based on commonalities and shared interests).

Ring 8 (Dark Blue): Objects are analyzed, activated, and/or repurposed by the various markets intrigued by the branded story.

The results of new media programs are measured by resonance, reach, and outcomes. Those that garner traction travel from the center outward and again from the outward in and back out again.

The Brandsphere is the visualization of Social Media’s critical path, R.R.S. Thus content programs require a thoughtful approach where media tells connects information, narrative, and people through their channels of influence in ways that spark interaction and circulation.

Please go to theconversationprism.com to download a free hi-res version for printing or for use in presentations.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+


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  • http://twitter.com/jeff_epstein Jeff Epstein

    This is fantastic.  Thanks for sharing this Brian!

  • http://twitter.com/jeff_epstein Jeff Epstein

    This is fantastic.  Thanks for sharing this Brian!

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Excellent Jeff. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    fascinating inforgraphic

  • http://twitter.com/LinkOrbit Support Staff

    It’s steps like this that will make convergence happen! Keep up the good work. 

  • http://twitter.com/LinkOrbit Support Staff

    It’s steps like this that will make convergence happen! Keep up the good work. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sproseilo Stephanie Elton Proseilo

    You guys have done it again!! Great post and infographic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sproseilo Stephanie Elton Proseilo

    You guys have done it again!! Great post and infographic.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Glad you like it Stephanie!

  • http://www.facebook.com/JulieWilliams.8 Julie Williams

    Made the Complex Simple, love it

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Great to hear Julie…

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  • http://www.alexisvandam.nl/ Alexis van Dam

    always good to use visuals to explain complex matter. Helpful model for using SocialMedia in a branding strategy.

  • Pingback: The Brandsphere ‹ InfoGraphics Today

  • http://twitter.com/ellenm53 Ellen Mrja

    Brian: You and JESS3 have again added a valuable visual aid to help in the formation of a “theory” of social media relationship building. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z54TKCAKTEWR7XEGHYTBQKCJNM alabamacali

    You misspelled pwnd.

  • http://justindupre.com/limitedtimedeal/ Justin Dupre

    Great visual aid. Makes it easier for people to understand how social media works with marketing.

  • http://www.gplusgoodies.com GPlus Goodies

    That’s quite an in-depth and informative infographic Brian, really well explained in this article too, nice work!

  • http://ariherzog.com Ari Herzog

    Always a fan of your infographics, this one is too confusing. It seems targeted more at companies and traditional branding and less at individuals and personal branding, yes? Or am I missing something, Brian?

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Hello Ari, indeed. This one tackles the behemoth landscape of corporate media.

    • Clyde Loftis

      Maybe so , but there is much that can be gleaned from it even at the individual level (or small scale business). I think that graph helps simplify what would otherwise be a very long and certainly confusing topic without it.

  • Pingback: Nuovi Media & Nuovi Canali di Comunicazione | Il Giornalaio

  • Anonymous

    Love the work you’re doing. Can’t wait to sit and chat.

  • Pingback: A new perspective on paid owned and earned media: The Brandsphere | The Conversation Manager

  • Pingback: Social Media Brandsphere – Nachfolger der Social Media “Blume” | andreas-punter.com

  • Pingback: Introducing the Brandsphere | Rice, Spoon & Fork

  • Ronan Merrick

    Hi Brian. As a student hoping to do a dissertation around the area of integrated marketing communications I found this contemporary illustration very insightful. thanks for posting.

  • Ronan Merrick

    Hi Brian. As a student hoping to do a dissertation around the area of integrated marketing communications I found this contemporary illustration very insightful. thanks for posting.

  • http://twitter.com/koningwoning Eric Woning

    Although I’m normally a fan of your work… I just don’t get this infographic.
    Are you suggestion that influencers are not consumers or (perceived as) peers and that they are to be reached with owned media -or that they are a part of owned media?
    If by influencers you are talking about those with a big readership which owned media are you referring to?

    Why is there such a gap between earned and paid and does the rest have a set amount of difference?
    And someone liking an ad on Facebook – isn’t that the gap between paid & earned (as that will appear on his wall and in his friends feeds….)

    Like I said – normally love your work… I just don’t seem to understand this one.
    Could you go a bit more in depth how you’d use it in another post?

  • http://twitter.com/koningwoning Eric Woning

    Although I’m normally a fan of your work… I just don’t get this infographic.
    Are you suggestion that influencers are not consumers or (perceived as) peers and that they are to be reached with owned media -or that they are a part of owned media?
    If by influencers you are talking about those with a big readership which owned media are you referring to?

    Why is there such a gap between earned and paid and does the rest have a set amount of difference?
    And someone liking an ad on Facebook – isn’t that the gap between paid & earned (as that will appear on his wall and in his friends feeds….)

    Like I said – normally love your work… I just don’t seem to understand this one.
    Could you go a bit more in depth how you’d use it in another post?

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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