Tag Archive: Branding

Life used to be so easy.

There was Paid Media = Advertising.

There was Earned Media = Public Relations.

And there were the legacy media gatekeepers: Newspapers, Radio and Television.

That’s how the world appeared to communications pros way back in the 1980s.

One employed earned media and/or paid media to deal with or get past the analog media deciders to reach target audiences.

There was B2B. And B2C. And even B2G.

Simple?  Oh, so simple.

As we all know, 20th Century Web 1.0 (websites) and 21st Century Web 2.0 (convergence of social, mobile and cloud) have thrown everything into a tizzy. And some are even talking about Web 3.0 or semantic web. We will leave that for another installment of Almost DailyBrett.


And now we can add Owned Media to the mix as well.

The neighborhood property values will never be the same.

What the heck is “Owned” Media?

One can spend money to place ads into legacy and/or digital native media: Paid Media.

Or one can choreograph public relations campaigns, hopefully garnering always in-demand third-party validation by means of effective interaction with analog and digital gatekeepers wherever they may be: Earned Media.

(Some used to call this category “Free” media. Practitioners know through painful experience there is absolutely nothing “free” when it comes to media relations).

As the influence of legacy media gatekeepers subsides and the flack-to-media ratio (presently 3.6-to-1) grows more lopsided, more-and-more public relations pros, marketeers and investor relations practitioners are embracing Owned media. These are media channels directly (for the most part) under the control of corporations, governmental agencies, non-profits, NGOs or anyone with a product to sell, a candidate to elect or an idea to spread.


Before Almost DailyBrett goes any further, at least partial credit needs to be directed to Advertising & IMC: Principles & Practice, 10th edition by Moriarty, Mitchell and Wells for its role in defining this growing-in-importance owned media category. “Owned media: Media channels controlled by the organization and that are used to carry branded content.”

And just like advertising and public relations, owned media is experiencing the full impact of digital communications revolution, and maybe even more than its siblings, paid and earned media.

Natural Reaction to Growing Paid Media and Earned Media Issues?

Advertising pros are confronted with the dilemma associated with just too much clutter, legacy media declining in importance and influence, and digital native media still undergoing growing pains.

PR, marketing and investor relations practitioners are dealing with the remaining legacy media reporters, editors, correspondents and analysts, who are wondering just how much longer their jobs are going to last. In any event, they are overwhelmed with PR folks pitching them self-serving story ideas.

The digital news aggregators are starting to make a mark for themselves as the Huffington Post drew approximately 85 million worldwide unique monthly desktop visitors this past March, up from about 65 million the previous March. BuzzFeed virtually doubled its online readership from nearly 21 million in March 2013 to 45 million two months ago. Business Insider recorded a gain of 15 million to 17 million in the same time period.

Some of these news aggregators will succeed, famously capitalizing on their first-mover advantage. Others will not. For PR types, they present a new avenue to gain the vaunted third-party acceptance.

Has “disruptive” digital  communications technologies (e.g., Web 1.0 and Web 2.0) changed the rules of the game for paid and earned media pros? Absolutely, but maybe not as much as for owned media. When one contemplates owned media, there is a seemingly unending string of digital ones-and zeroes.

Examples of Owned Media Channels

So what are these owned media news channels — in many cases digital self-publishing – that are allowing us to bypass the legacy and digital native gatekeepers and giving pause to making more advertising expenditures? Here are some examples:

● The organizational website. Websites seem so yesterday and yet they are the digital point-of-entry to the company, non-profit, governmental, agency and political brands. They reflect the basic messages, mission statements, raison d’etre, the look-and-feel of the brand through the careful use of art, fonts, navigation and style. And now they increasingly feature audio and video, and they invite two-way symmetrical communications.

● The 100-million digital essayists (including this one) who compose blogs on a daily basis. Obviously some are more important than others. Companies over the years have become less reticent to the idea of their employees blogging, and with proper controls they are assisting in the promotion of the brand.


● The corporate intranet is now providing for true two-way symmetrical communication between management and rank-and-file employees. For example, Southwest Airlines debuted in 2010 SWALife, a truly interactive portal allowing employees to directly engage in a companywide conversation.

● Social media sites including Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and hashtags, and LinkedIn accounts are at least being regularly monitored (or they should be) and being hosted to create a “buzz” as it applies to the organization.

● YouTube videos and Flickr photo pages are spreading the corporate brand, sometimes on a viral basis, which can be accessed with a few clicks on the mobile device or remaining laptops.

Yep, we have moved from B2B, B2G, B2C to B2C2C with brands rising and falling via word of mouth…the best advertising of all. And guiding these conversations or at least influencing them are organizational owned media.

Owned media is just another example of how our world has changed, digitally and permanently. And it may be the best response to digital communications angst.







It’s not every day that you hike the Stanford “Dish” with an ex-con http://dish.stanford.edu/.

Based upon her appearance, her demeanor, her intelligence and command of the English language, she is about the last person that you would expect to be locked up for a year in a federal pen in Washington State.

Let’s see. She worked for a Republican governor. She was a bank senior vice president. She is the mother of two college-age daughters, one going to a Catholic school in Southern California and the other to a football factory in the Deep South.

In pouring out her heart to me, she also shared about how she has learned about the consequences of choices she made that eventually led to waking up on the floor of a Seattle area prison. She recounted that she was operating from a place of stress and not knowing her true-self. She has a deep appreciation for friends, family and children who stood by her throughout this ordeal.

As a result of this experience, which she recounted with tears about two miles into our four-mile hike, she has definite feelings about law and order, crime and punishment, and most of all whether the United States is doing enough to prepare its nearly 2.4 million convicts (those eligible for parole) to reenter society.

Listening to her story and contemplating that she was never allowed outside for a year, I realized what it must mean to her to be able to once again walk four miles and admire the rolling hills around the Stanford campus. I will never take this experience for granted ever again.

More importantly, I came to the conclusion that she represents a classic man-bites-dog story. How could someone with so much going for her end up in such a bad place?

This experience gave her something that every blogger needs, standing. Isn’t “standing” a legal term? Sure is. http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/s064.htm

The legal right to initiate a lawsuit. To do so, a person must be sufficiently affected by the matter at hand, and there must be a case or controversy that can be resolved by legal action. There are three requirements for Article III standing: (1) injury in fact, which means an invasion of a legally protected interest that is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) a causal relationship between the injury and the challenged conduct, which means that the injury fairly can be traced to the challenged action of the defendant, and has not resulted from the independent action of some third party not before the court; and (3) a likelihood that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.

Consider that my hiking friend wrote resumes for inmates at the federal prison. She was helping people in trying to not only reenter society, but maybe, just maybe, reclaiming their lives. Do you think she has the “standing” to comment with authority of recidivism issues? What about the right of ex-convicts, who have paid their debt to society, to participate in the electoral process? Or how about plight of children when mommy or most likely, daddy, are behind bars?

Just as the average citizen cannot file a suit against BP because they don’t like reading about the oil spill, bloggers really can’t gain traction commenting on subjects in which they have little or no personal experience. Yes, yes…everyone has First Amendment Rights to free and unfettered speech, but will anyone listen if you do not command your subject?

Conversely, if a blogger has a unique experience, a hard-earned perspective, an emotional tie to a topic, then it is almost imperative that she or he use the digital ones and zeroes to bestow this knowledge to help others. I am actively urging her to use her precious “standing” to tell her story and to provide her input into making the world a little better place.

Blogging should be more than “conversational marketing,” “thought leadership” and “branding” that PR agency types love to talk about and will charge $240 per hour (not including OOPS or out-of-pocket expenses). Blog posts should also be a source of knowledge, wisdom, advice and comfort for those who are facing the worst that life can offer and hoping for a better future.

Almost DailyBrett note: Today marks blog post #52. One year ago, I began this blog wondering whether anyone would ever read my meanderings, let alone comment on them. To my readers and respondents, thank you so much for your time and patience. I will continue to do my best to never let you down.

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