Tag Archives: owned

The POSSE media model

It’s been a few years since I posted the original Own, Bought and Earned media model and the slightly updated version a little while later.

Although it is still a good way to think through your media options, it does feel as though the model is a bit too simple nowadays.

So I have come up with a new one, called the POSSE media model. I’ll explain it below the diagram:

The POSSE media model is built on two basic levels of activity: to produce and distribute content. The better you do these two things (and the more it is based on listening and understanding your audience) the more media exposure you will earn.

Produce content. Can be classed as Owned and/or Social

  • Owned

This is the media you have (more-or-less) complete control over, e.g. a corporate web-site, or a retail store.

  • Social

This refers to branded social media presence such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo. Social platforms that give you a chance to build a presence as a brand. Note that you do not have much control over these in terms of functionality, and the terms of the service can change at any point. (Steve Sponder calls this Borrowed media, which makes sense but I think overstates the transience of these networks. Also I think Social works as a term for now at least, as it is widely understood by people).

  • Overlap of Social + Owned

This is at least two things:

1. Brand-generated platforms or communities specifically designed for customers to co-create and collaborate with brands. (e.g. Dell’s IdeaStorm and Starbuck’s MyStarbucksIdea.) (what Brian Solis calls “Shared” media)

2. Own content such as videos that are the fuel for a brand’s social channels. You do have complete control over the format of your own video (within reason) but the video ultimately boosts other media owners’ site visits. They may also place ads before or after your content without asking your permissions, for example.

Distribute content: can be classified as Paid and/or Seeded

  • Paid

Media placements that you have paid for. Think SEM, banners, sponsorships. It can also be “traditional” media placements such as TV, Print, Outdoor. Paid media is still important, especially if you want a lot of people to see a fairly consistent message about you.

  • Seeded

This is referring to seeding of content among “influencers”. PR agencies, or WOM agencies like 1000heads, can help to build these relationships, identifying who to speak to and how to persuade them to feature your content. Sometimes these will be the people with the biggest reach, but often those people are deluged with requests. So instead, the seeding often happens with brand advocates, people who are genuinely fans of your product or service, or at least people who have shown a previous interest in products like yours in the past. This helps with the credibility and authenticity of their post(s).

  • Overlap of Paid + Seeded

This is where I would put things such as sponsored stories on Facebook, or Twitter’s promoted products, both of which cost money and are based on advertising to people’s social graph. It is interesting that social-media agencies are the ones who are picking up on this, whereas traditional media agencies are struggling with it. “Paid seeding” is also possible using partners such as GoViral who have a network of video sites, or by paying YouTube to feature your video to its users to give it an initial push and get it noticed.

If you do all of the above well, you get some “Earned Media”

This is people posting and talking about your product and its advertising. If you do things well with your own media, choose and manage your social presences wisely, seed to the right people at the right time, and perhaps pay to get noticed by more people, then you should hopefully earn media too. It will give your content extra push (distribution), and you will have earned it so these will be considered the most authentic voices of all. But you cannot guaranteed the message at all, so a lot of what is distributed may be unrelated to your intended communications. Really, positive earned media is a measure of how interesting your content is and how well you distributed it.

Why “POSSE”?

Well, acronyms are always cool, aren’t they?

But in this case, it serves a second purpose. New media techniques such as these are about people, and they need skilled people to make them happen. You can’t have one person spending a load on one advert and expect it to succeed like it used to. Instead, you need to hire many people, with new and diverse skills: editorial content, community management, search engine optimization, blogger relationship management, UX experts, etc etc. In other words, you can’t fix this problem by throwing money at it; to succeed in this new media landscape, you need the right kind of POSSE.


– This thinking was hugely influenced by the original Nokia digital posse (you know who you are), plus lots of people who commented online and in person about my original post.
Brian Solis, who’s Brandsphere is very smart and taught me a lot, but maybe a little complicated for me.
Steve Sponder, who made the excellent PONBE model which clearly influenced this model.

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Owned, Bought and Earned (redux)

Seems like Owned, Bought and Earned is getting some press.

See Mark Cridge’s NMA piece here and the good follow-on discussion here.

Also, people got very excited on twitter by the article in which Fred Wilson pointed out that Earned Media isn’t free. The title of that article was a little misleading, as his main point was much more interesting: Brands earn media primarily by having a great product experience, and by doing fantastic customer service. This echoes my point about pro-active customer service being the key to success in this field: making customers happy means solving their problems but also listening and being ahead of the game and delighting them in ways they didn’t expect.

Recently we have had a go at re-drawing our Media Trinityto reflect some discussions we were having about this. We were discussing how the original Venn diagram seems to imply that earning media is somehow a distict set of activities. The redrawn diagram looks more like this:



This is good because it shows that the more interesting you make your content in Bought and Owned media, the more your ideas will spread via Earned Media.

It is also a reminder you that you lose control in this process: when you seed content, you also cede some control to your customers.

We need to stop thinking of Earned Media and WOM as a distinct activity. Now that every media is essentially now social media, we should remember that everything we do has the potential to earn media.

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Owned, Bought and Earned Media

[NB UPDATED POST on this topic: http://danielgoodall.com/2009/05/20/owned-bought-and-earned-redux/]

At Nokia we have been using the following simple model for our Digital Media Planning for about a year now.


Like all good models, it is designed to be very, very simple.

Owned Media
Obviously one of the things available to you is your own web site. With Nokia it gets a bit more complex, since we have so many media that we “own”: http://www.nokia.mobi (perhaps the most visited mobile site in the world?), MyNokia (Nokia’s CRM program), all of our service sites (ovi.com, ngage.com, nokia music), as well as more niche sites like beta labs etc. Quite a few options, before any media has even been bought: my team is currently planning to pull together a kind of internal media bank to keep track of all the options in terms of Nokia’s own media.

Bought Digital Media
This clearly has a role, although often it is overemphasized by agencies who make money out of percentages of media spend. Banners have a role in terms of awareness, but I’m not a fan of buying media in general, except when the creative proposition is great. Mostly, I see it as a necessary evil, except with search marketing, which is more interesting to me as it is less interuptive.

Earned Media
IMO, this is where the action is. This is where you have done something so cool or interesting that people want to use their own media to tell others about it, and hence you earn media. I am currently reading this brilliant analysis of why things spread from the guys at MIT.  They claim that content is shared (and therefore Media is Earned) because of three main factors relating to the dynamics of groups.

  1. To bolster camaraderie and articulate the (presumably shared) experiences and values that identify oneself as belong to a particular community (“bolstering their identity”)
  2. To gather information and explain difficult to understand events or circumstances.
  3. To establish the boundaries of an “in-group”.

Good stuff.

Some people think that Earning Media is about getting free space when budgets are tight. In my experience, Earning Media is a not necessarily a cheap option, and is certainly more time-consuming than buying media with big networks. More importantly, Earning Media is about engaging with consumers on their terms and gaining trust based on genuine understanding. Consumers don’t trust advertising, but they do trust peer recommendation. As long as brands don’t abuse this situation, then this leads to better quality, more authentic and more relevant marketing.

You can of course go into much more detail with each of these. And there are interesting overlaps. But in general, it is a simple model that has been useful in our digital planning.

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