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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 to download a free hi-res version for printing or for use in presentations.

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148 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Looking Beyond Paid, Earned, Owned Media: The Brandsphere Infographic”

  1. Thanks for sharing. This will take me a while to digest, so I put the graph on my background 🙂

  2. eblizz Inc. says:

    I do agree with Ari and Eric in some points . The dark blue ring to me excludes that peers, influencers and customers can be derived from other sources than here depicted. If we stick to the globe chart they should spin around the center like satellites. A customer can be an influencer and vice versa and a peer can become one through  blog. Maybe we just see your chart as to ridged but i like that it puts SM marketing in a visual structure.
    To me now the bigger hurdle is to convey this to business….

  3. wholesale watches says:

    The brand story is highly important to any form of media use. Without an
    emotional brand story at the core of other vital steps, the media
    becomes useless. This info graphics is spot on, helpful and highly

  4. Jason Keath says:

    Well done, but too much – any insight for me is lost. A little too complicated.

    • briansolis says:

       It’s a complicated subject. No need to dumb it down…time to learn and starting getting some headaches about how to make this stuff matter.

    • Jason Keath says:

      Thanks for the reply Brian. 

      I disagree that making something simpler equals “dumbing down”. It is always easier to make something appear more complicated than to communicate it in a simpler fashion. It takes more thought and care to make something easier for others to understand. 
      I understand the topic very well, and much of the graphic loses me. Yes it is a complicated subject. But I don’t think that means the graphic that intends to explain the subject should be confusing. 

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