You are on page 1of 9


Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity

Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity | 1


Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity

Continuous, rapid-fire evolution has led to a revolutionary redefinition of relationships among paid, earned and owned media offering large premiums to marketers who can orchestrate them all in three-part harmony. When you bring paid, earned and owned together, thats when you really have something, says ad-industry veteran Sarah Fay, former CEO, North America, of Aegis Media, Isobar and Carat Interactive. Research firm eMarketer concurs. In a recent report, eMarketer stated, Some of todays greatest success stories in branding blend ingredients from the three kinds of marketing media: paid, owned and earned.1

Real performance magic happens when all three media forms leverage off of each other.

An Internet-inspired revolution more than a decade in the making has redefined the roles of paid, owned and earned media and their new roles are not yet universally formulated or understood, says Ted Kohnen, Vice President, Integrated Marketing, at Stein + Partners Brand Activation. But real performance magic happens when all three media forms leverage off of each other to drive ever-deeper engagement between brands and their constituents, Kohnen adds.

Of note, SPBA has codified its approach to integrating paid, earned and owned (PEO) media, and as a matter or course launches such harmonically unified campaigns for its clients. PEO is the new SEO theres a strategy to it, a formula and a lot of hard work. And when it all comes together, it really pays off, sustainably, over the long term, says Kohnen. This executive brief illuminates SPBAs paid/earned/owned formula.

2011 Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity | 2

A PEO Media Revolution in Full Throttle

The PEO media revolution occurring today is rooted in ubiquitous Internet connectivity and the more recent but no less profound (and viral) proliferation of social media. The result? Brands are able to orchestrate multifaceted communications and conversations to/from their constituents, bypassing traditional paid media. The revolution has yet another driver. As business decision-makers and consumers have become exposed to a seeming limitless volume of content in myriad new forms, they have learned to rely on their own judgment as to a given content items value, rather than depending on the proxy of trust and value afforded by a media brand for example, a Newsweek or InformationWeek. This in turn has opened the door for many individuals and entities including brands to create content. If the content passes muster, it is consumed and acted upon. If it doesnt, it isnt. The PEO revolution is fully engaged. Brands willing to expend the effort to create authentic content of The ongoing creation intrinsic value to their constituents are able to assemble audiences around that content, says Rachel Meranus, Vice President, Marketing of branded streams and Communications at PR Newswire. The ongoing creation of of content delivered consistently to an au- branded streams of content delivered consistently to an audience constitutes a powerful new media channel that a brand can own, for dience constitutes a the first time, completely independently of paid media.

powerful new media channel that a brand can own.

At the same time, the rise of the social web has fostered a new, more powerful form of earned media. Social media enable messages both positive and negative to propagate through a brands social graph with great rapidity, yielding both positive and negative effects all of which are visible and can be measured. As a result, brands have begun investing heavily in social media presences aimed at maximizing value from earned media. Of note, a key approach to generating positive earned media in social channels is via high quality owned content, particularly content that is instructional, or otherwise actionable. Additionally, the measurability of earned media in social channels has made it one of the most valuable sources of customer insight for brands, feeding into owned media content development (not to mention product development). Importantly, these revolutions in owned and earned media have had a transformative impact on paid media. According to a seminal, oft-linked blog post by Forrester Research analyst Sean Corcoran, paid media is shifting away from its role as the foundation of marketing programs and is evolving into a catalyst that is needed

2011 Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity | 3

at key periods to drive more engagement with earned and owned media. Just as these trends have revolutionized owned and earned media, theyre also causing a kind of rebirth for paid media, says SPBAs Kohnen. And its none too soon. This catalytic dimension gives us a new, valuable and measurable way to use paid media, at a time when many marketers were beginning to doubt it could hold its own with owned and earned.

Three is not a crowd

A growing number of practitioners and thought leaders are suggesting that synchronized paid/earned/owned strategies have become mandatory for optimal marketplace effectiveness. According to Kohnen, the key to effective synchronization is putting the content/information needs of target audiences at the center of strategic brand thinking and working outward from there. Importantly, paid, earned and owned media all have critical roles to play roles that are both distinct and interconnected. These roles have to be well choreographed for the media ensemble to have full effect. Kohnen explains, Each of the three media has a set of attributes and characteristics that make them effective in their own right. For example, paid media gives you control, reach, targeting and share of voice; it is projectable, predictable and easily measurable. You have absolute control over your messaging.
Paid media accelerates

the deliver a message to a precise target right now, and drive reliable targets interactions with results, paid is by far the fastest path. And because it can also act like earned and owned.

Of note, paid media also is fast, Kohnen adds. When you need to

a connective tissue between the brand and its constituents in social media, paid media accelerates the targets interactions with earned and owned, Kohnen explains.

Meanwhile, because earned media is often leveraged in the context of an independent third party speaking on a brands behalf, it carries far more credibility than paid media. Obviously, the trick is to get those independent and influential voices to advocate for, not against, your brand. Thus, the brand gives up messaging control with the vast upside of nurturing trusted voices who can burnish in and play a brand forward. Finally, Owned media is an opportunity to provide real value to a target audience while maintaining control over the messaging, says Kohnen. With owned media you are in effect creating your own channel but with abundant opportunity to

2011 Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity | 4

port the content over into the earned media world and to leverage it via paid media channels as well. PR Newswires Meranus agrees: A robust owned media strategy is integral to success whether the goal is branding or demand creation. Based on a Brand Publishing strategy encompassing our business overall, as well as our vertical and functional targets, we generate high quality content in multiple formats; we sponsor content from respected third-party sources; we aggregate and curate content; and we parse content for social consumption whether through blogger outreach, viral sharing or microblogging, Meranus adds.

Virtuous circle
Having long recognized the way that substantive content deepens audience engagement, SPBA in 2008 launched Kilter, a content marketing practice offering its clients owned media strategy and execution. Paid Response Soars When Catalyzed by Owned Content
Paid CTR (%) 0.17 0.16 0.15 0.14 0.13 0.12 0.11 0.10 0.09 0.08



0.08 Standard Industry Benchmark SPBA Non-Content Ads SPBA Content-Related Ads
Source: DoubleClick and SPBA data.

Through this extensive experience, SPBA has witnessed the singular impact each medium can have but even more so the huge impact one medium can have on another.

2011 Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity | 5

Weve analyzed our own experience over the last three years, and the halo effect for earned and paid media delivered by high-quality branded content is amazing, says Kohnen. In fact, SPBAs analysis significantly corroborates Sean Corcorans previously stated view. Kohnen continues: In an industry that often measures success in terms of tenthsof-a-percent improvements, our data show a 35% increase in response to paid media when the call-to-action or catalyst is owned media. Specifically, SPBA analyzed the last 50 million paid online ad impressions booked (49,487,673 to be precise) for all clients across industries. Ad impressions that used owned content as a catalyst/CTA generated a 0.16% average response rate 35% better than impressions without specific owned content CTAs (0.12%). This is an even more dramatic 2X improvement above the 0.08% BtoB benchmark CTR for online ads cited by DoubleClick. Owned media is the not-so-secret ingredient creating this lift because it deepens brand engagement by providing information of true value to the audience, says Kohnen.

Establishing a presence is elementary, captivating audiences is artful. 2

To leverage PEO, the critical role of content quality cannot be overstated. The subhead quote is from noted blogger Brian Solis, Principal of research-based advisory firm Altimeter Group, who often writes about paid, earned and owned media. Its message is simple: PEO success requires high-quality content. Brands earn prominence and hopefully influence as rewards for contributing meaningful content, Solis writes. Mike Azzara, Chief Content Strategist for SPBAs Kilter content marketing practice, asserts that, The first step to achieving compelling content that drives business results is to think like a publisher. You have to put yourself in your target audiences shoes and understand what information that group will prize what will help them be more successful. The beauty of it all is, the better job you do at authentically trying to help your audience, the more motivated theyll be to help you succeed, says Azzara.

People think Im joking when I say PEO is the new SEO. But Im not.

Conclusion: with orchestration comes opportunity

Well-crafted, brand-owned content can double response rates to paid media. Brand-owned content channels can aggregate sizeable audiences and communities, providing high-affinity access to highly qualified decision makers. Social media provides the ultimate platform to parse and publish content one-to-one-to-some-to-many. Paid media

2011 Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity | 6

gains greater impact and relevance in the mix by plugging into earned and owned. The ability to explicitly and implicitly listen, observe and measure all interactions makes PEO a game-changing force. Concludes Kohnen: People think Im joking when I say PEO is the new SEO. But Im not.

Sources: 1. Brand Marketing Online: Paid, Owned, Earned, eMarketer Inc., September 2010 2. Why Brands are Becoming Media, Mashable, February 11, 2010

2011 Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Paid, Earned & Owned (PEO) Media: Orchestrating Opportunity | 7

Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Over the past 25 years, Stein Rogan + Partners has activated B2B, prosumer and innovative consumer brands to drive both brand and demand. Now, were ushering in our second quarter-century with a new name thats reflective of our laser focus on what we do best Brand Activation. Introducing Stein + Partners Brand Activation (SPBA). Our new name comes with an even stronger commitment to activating clients brands and businesses globally to accelerating awareness, driving demand, creating momentum and positioning them to capitalize on opportunity. To learn more, please visit

2011 Stein + Partners Brand Activation

432 Park Avenue South New York, NY 10016 P 212.213.6871 F 212.779.7305
Member of the Brand Activation Network