Brands in the real world: Bushnell University, Abby's Pizza, and Umpqua Dairy.

Owned, Earned, Shared

Owned, Earned, Shared. Learn it. Know it. Live it.

Getting a handle on all the consumer touchpoints and media opportunities you have is a key step in developing a communications strategy that will reach and persuade your desired audience.

While media is often thought of in terms of broadcast and digital and publication properties that reach mass audiences, taking an even larger view can open your eyes to effective communication opportunities that might be right under your nose.

SHARED | When most people think of media, they think of the shared variety. Though often referred to as paid media, we think “shared” better captures the cooperation with third-party providers that defines this category. This includes not only broadcast TV and terrestrial radio but also their digital counterparts, roadside billboards, venue advertising, social media advertising on channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn, digital advertising on search engines such as Google, industry newsletters and any other channel where an organization pays a media property to be promoted to some kind of known audience. Shared media offers the clear advantage of using a platform to proactively reach potential customers at a set cost-per-impression. Perhaps the main disadvantage of shared media is the sheer variety and range of options. Having a clear brand strategy in place brings your audiences into focus and turns selecting the right shared media from daunting to doable.

A television ad for the Oregon 22 track meet
A social media post on a smartphone

EARNED | Media coverage or promotion of your business or organization that doesn’t require a financial transaction or arrangement is typically known as earned media. This type of media coverage hinges on relationships, including relationships with media outlets, investors, influencers and even employees. Most public relations efforts where an organization receives news coverage or other publicity because of something the organization did for others or achieved for itself fall into this category. This type of media exposure can also be the result of being a well-known expert in your field where your organization might be mentioned alongside a quote or recap of a panel discussion or featured talk. And while going viral is difficult to plan for and even more difficult to achieve, organic sharing of strategic messaging across third-party social channels certainly classifies as earned media.

OWNED | Like the name implies, these are consumer touchpoints that you control with little outside interference. Owned media can include both the interior and exterior of your building or work environment, along with company vehicles, apparel, collateral such as letterhead and business cards, your website and other touchpoints that consumers encounter that you generally control. One often-overlooked form of owned media is testimonials secured and used by permission, either from customers or employees. Using the words of others to promote your product or service is one of the best ways to establish credibility and build trust with your audience. If your business relies on tradeshow or event presence, your booth or materials can also be a powerful form of owned media that can set your brand apart and deliver an experience that’s just right for current or potential customers.

Cafe Yumm! website mockup on a laptop and phone

See examples of owned, earned and shared media connecting brands with their audiences.

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