A new perspective on paid owned and earned media: The Brandsphere

by Matthijs van den Broek on August 23, 2011in the categories Social Web9 Comments

According to Brian Solis, media are no longer limited to three groups (earned, owned and paid, as coined by Forrester or first by Nokia some years ago), but instead categorized into five key segments: Paid, Promoted, Owned, Shared, and Earned. To visualize the model that reflects this supposedly new state of  media, he made a brand new infographic, that is hot on Twitter now: The Brandsphere.  So…. what he added were two new landscapes: let’s see how that works out in the infographic below:
Solis writes in his description of the infographic above:

“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.”

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.)

The way I see it, Solis has made a more in-detail distinction of earned media by adding promoted as a part of paid and shared as a part of earned. At first glance, it seems a bit over the top to add these subcategories in the social media brandshpere to the “Big Three”. I’m very curious what you think!

9 Responses to A new perspective on paid owned and earned media: The Brandsphere

  1. Bram Koster says:

    I tend to agree that the extra segments seem a bit far-fetched. But I guess that this works like fractals: if you stare at one segment long enough, you start seeing distinctions. So for “earned media expert” (slight tongue in cheek…) the extra dimension might help.

    But if you’re trying to explain the intricacies of media to a non-expert, I think the 3 segments make it hard enough as it is.

  2. koningwoning says:

    Seems like Mr. Solis / JESS3 was out of infographics and had to build a new one.
    The two new pillars are superfluous – the distinction between peers/ consumers and influencers even give more ????’s
    So influencers are primarily reached through Owned media… or are they a part of owned media?

    There is a big difference between being handy and just simply looking cool.
    I’m afraid this infographic belongs to the latter category.
    And that is an exception to the rule as I am a big fan of mr. Solis and his graphical interpretation of Social Media.

  3. Charlotte Krijger says:

    I have been staring at this new infographic for some days now and I think it does make a lot of sense to add ‘promoted’ and ‘shared’ to the big three. Paid media within an online social environment is very different from Paid media as we know it. Because, the way you approach your audience should be different (content, relevance) and your target audience is different too, since you want to target your consumers influencers. Same thing goes for ‘Shared’. At least, thats how I make sense of it.

    I amhappy to see the distinctions Brian Solis made here, because it makes it easier to explain that for example ‘Sponsored Story’ ads are ‘Promoted’ and part of a Brandsphere and not Paid media in an Owned environment that leverages Earned :-)

    • Brian Solis says:

      Charlotte, your view is actually spot on. Judging by some of the comments here, I suspect that the explanations for why the infographic was created went unread or that they are viewing the categories solely, not by the distinguishing elements (and new methodologies that support them). My favorite so far is that I must have experienced a “not-invented-here syndrome moment.”

      This comes down to several things, culture, approach, intention, audience, outcomes, and budget. Any infographic that I release, and note, there have only been 5 models released in 6 years, are methodical in design based on study, not conjecture.

      Beneath the graphic in the post I state upfront, “Over the years, I’ve studied the various categorization of media from a few perspectives, that of 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.”

      So to be clear, this is developed based on how brands are experimenting with media, spending (whether paid to place or create), intentions, desired outcomes, and ownership.

      We’re dealing with interesting set of culture shifts that are changing internal philosophies and processes for how media is produced, distributed, embraced, shared, and remixed. Coca Cola’s “Liquid and Linked” is an interesting example of a new media strategy that focuses on relevance to the culture of the community they’re trying to reach.

      When I have more time I’ll write out examples of how businesses are structuring new models around media that served as the inspiration for this infographic. As it is, this took over a year to produce.

  4. “Paid media within an online social environment is very different from Paid media as we know it. Because, the way you approach your audience should be different (content, relevance) and your target audience is different too, since you want to target your consumers influencers.”

    A different perspective: don’t let people at Unilever or any other big advertiser hear you. I guess and think they don’t spend their millions without knowing their target audience. And because of past experience and research, they might know better what they’re doing than any company doing ads on facebook.

    I’m curious what Eric has to say about this ;)

  5. koningwoning says:

    Thanks for the request or input @matthijs :-)

    @Charlotte – I don’t know if you noticed…. but a lot of advertising budget is already being pumped into paid content. Just look at for instance the kick-off of “Maak de Smaak” – it never would have been so big if it hadn’t started with huge airtime on a TV show watched by millions on a sunday afternoon. They then went and told others about it – If that isn’t the prime example of shared, than I don’t know what is. HOWEVER – that just means: making great, sharable content.
    But wait….wasn’t that exactly what Earned media was all about?
    If you want to make the distinction between PR and c-2-c then you don’t understand that PR is: supposed to entice c-2-c communication.
    That is what the POE model was all about!

    Similarly promoted is far too great an honor for FB sponsored stories. – tell me 10 other instruments that work that way -please. “Those who bought this…” etc. is just a new way of using either owned or paid…. it’s like saying – we need a new pillar for remarketing – as people have themselves shown that they like the product (earned) but you have to buy it (paid) so lets make another pillar and call it ‘wanted’….

    And I’m sure that if you think it through you can come up with subdevisions of the subdevisions in a matter of hours.

    A model is not supposed to be used in that way – and certainly not P-O-E.
    I just think that (lo and behold) Mr. Solis had a not-invented-here syndrome moment and wanted to improve on something that you either have to radically change (this is not nearly radical enough – change POE then as well!) or just use and be greatfull.

    I subscribe to the latter view (even though I had absolutely NOTHING to do with the making or promoting of it… it even came from a competitative agency)

  6. Charlotte Krijger says:

    @briansolis thank you. would love to read some more about your findings!

    @matthijs I do think advertisers spent (and still spend) millions without really engaging their target audience :-)

    I celebrate using past experiences and research to get to know your target audience. I dont really think there is a difference though, whether you apply it to Facebook ads, TVC or any other Paid channel.

    @koningwoning yes, I have noticed but I am not sure if I understand what youre heading too. Its great when Paid efforts fuels (e)WOM, but so does Promoted (or Paid in a Social environment if you like). Agree?

    Oh, and Earned=Earned. I dont remember me suggesting (or Brian Solis adding it to his Brandsphere) there is a Social Earned landscape?

  7. koningwoning says:

    OK – I thought – let’s see if Charlotte said something… then I see that @BrianSolis said something… about me! #Slaponthewrist
    Ok- probably deserved that.
    I have now put a day aside to really dive into this model (sunday) and come back from the depths to see if I still disagree.

    I’ll let you guys know what I think.

    BTW – for the record: I also know it is MUCH easier to comment on something than to build it yourself. So my comments do not detract anything on the model itself – just on the usability for me…. and probably other people who might misinterpret the model.

    @Brian – I will come back with a better, more balanced, reply. Please give me the time to respond in a way that befits more the effort you have put in this.
    Just to be clear – I base my reaction not on what distinctions comapanies would like to make, but what I believe is clearest, most concise way of dividing media.

    @Charlotte – I agree with you that paid & promoted fuel or should fuel (e)WOM – I just don’t see the distinction between both yet.

    Someone liking something being shown in an ad seems to me (for now) the same as a testimonial – just because someone is in my network doesn’t mean I value their opinion on all subjects. I believe in the force of testimonials and I think this is a clever new way to create them…. but no more than that.

    Have my opinionmaker say something however…. and yes, that does do something…. and that is the realm of earned media!

    So I think this promoted realm is just another form of PAID (although I understand that both social media people as well as the networks want us to think differently)

    As I tried to explain with my ‘wanted’ analogy – I don’t see in which way Shared adds either. Co-creation happens within owned media. The people afterwards talking about it belongs to earned media. People talking to other people within a companies blog or Co-creation things like ideastorm in my eyes is Earned media.

    The thing is that the distinction between owned (that which you influence directly and has no distraction), paid (that which you influence directly, but which is within another surrounding) and earned (that which is influence indirectly, and do not always control exactly where it happen) is clear.
    All hybrids just make it less clear.
    But again… I will look this sunday and come back with what I feel on the subject.

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