Engagement Marketing: Owned, Earned, and Paid Media

Written by J-P De Clerck, who is an experienced content, conversion and social media consultant. Like Mindjumpers, he is associated with Social Marketing Forum. You can connect with him on Twitter @Conversionation

Owned, earned and paid media are three terms you might come across a lot these days. In fact, if you read marketing blogs, you will come across them all the time. It’s time to take a look at them.

Engagement marketing success comes from understanding it’s core basics: earned, owned, and paid media. These terms are fairly new buzz words for marketers looking to attract customers in new ways, and they are on the cutting edge of where engagement marketing will be in the future years.

Forrester Research, pointed out on their blog an while ago that these terms for engagement marketing are “a simple way for interactive marketers to categorize and ultimately prioritize all of the media options they have today.” The Forrester post  pointed out how crucial earned media is for engagement marketing  to work. But how do they all work together?

Owned media can be defined as a channel a brand controls, such  as a web site or Twitter account, in order to build a relationship with existing customers.

Paid media is when a brand pays to leverage a channel such as by displaying ads or paid searches. But both owned and paid media filter into earned media, creating potential and profit via that format.

Earned media is when customers become the channel, giving you a chance to gain insights from customers.

So how do these types all work together? It was hinted at that owned media and paid media all funnel into earned media. The Forrester post points out that this will happen even when budgets are tight. It also points out some  ways to start your 2010 engagement marketing strategy.

1. Create a solar system of owned media
Since you control owned media,  you can now create brand portability. This means  you can use your web site, Facebook page, and Twitter account fully to expand across static pages. In short, the best part about this is you’re creating a new, dynamic way to find leads, maintain customers, and define your brand.

2. Earned media is about brand behaviour
Earned media is where you’re not directly paying for this free way to market yourself. It’s an old public relations term where you get free advertising. There are many routes to success with earned media, but the key point is to respond to both good and bad behaviours of your customers.

3. Paid media is king
While paid media may seem to be going downhill with more free media tools becoming prominent, for engagement marketing it’s still king. This is where you directly pay for media advertisements to create sales and brand awareness.

Why Oreo’s ‘Daily Twist’ is one of our all-time favorite social media campaigns

Few cookies have reached the same level of iconicity as Kraft Foods’ Oreo. Its round shape, blackish color and white cream stuffing have undeniably added to its success but as a social media agency we wonder: where would the crowd-pleasing, twistable cookie be today without effective social media marketing?

Let’s zoom in on one of their global digital and social media campaigns that reached millions of hearts (and mouths) and delivered proof that even cookies can provide endless food for thought. We are talking about the wildly successful ‘Daily Twist’ campaign that saw a 110% growth in fan interaction per social-media post only a few months after the campaign was launched. Even though the campaign dates back to 2012, in our view, it earned a spot among the best food branding campaigns on social media ever. Here’s why…

It used milestones and pop culture events to create engagement

2012 was the year that America’s favorite cookie turned 100. Needless to say, it was a cause for celebration.

Every day for 100 days, the Oreo was given a different “twist” – styled to look like Elvis, a panda bear or like the surface of Mars after the Mars Rover had driven over it. On the ‘Daily Twist’ site, users could suggest their “twist”. The campaign was driven on Facebook and also featured on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

The Oreo twists were especially created to spark conversation and sharing, referring to milestones or pop culture events that people could relate to and share their thoughts about.

It had timely and shareable content combined with an element of surprise

While some of the cookie designs were planned ahead like the Olympics or Labor Day, others were more agile, tapping into events like the premiere of ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Rises’, the release of the iPhone5 and the birth of a Chinese panda bear. Monitoring trending topics and utilizing current events ensured the content was always relevant and timely. Couple that with the surprise of what each day would bring, and you’ve got a campaign worth tuning into.

They exercized strong brand values

The campaign kicked-off with the Gay Pride rainbow cookie in recognition of the LGBT community, much to the chagrin of conservative crowds.

The Facebook post set off a heated online debate that even led opponents of gay marriage to call for an Oreo boycott. But while supporters and opponents were fighting their online battle, the rainbow cookie doubled Oreo’s fan growth.

By having a strong stance and sticking to it, Oreo established itself as a courageous brand amongst its more liberal fans.

The campaign had an integrated marketing approach, combining the offline and online worlds

The campaign finale took place at Times Square in New York. They set up a pop up agency there, from which they designed the last ‘Daily Twist’, based on suggestions from fans. Earlier that morning, the brand had asked its Twitter followers and Facebook fans to offer ideas, which were going up live on a billboard. Creatives would select the best ones and three of them were then put to an online vote. The winning cookie, celebrating the anniversary of the first high five, was designed on the spot and was displayed on a big billboard.

A seamless flow between the online and offline worlds, and the mix of social and traditional marketing allowed for a greater experience and showed that Oreo mastered the integrated marketing approach.

It put the product in the center – without being self-centered

Oreo’s ability to put their product at the center of the campaign and still make the content relatable and entertaining for a massive range of users is (in our opinion) the most important factor in the success of the ‘Daily Twist’ campaign. The content was heavily branded, yet still relevant, timely and shareable – without ever begging for likes, comments and shares.

Lessons learned

The ‘Daily Twist’ campaign set an example of how important it is to create content that resonates with your audience. There are many ways to find out what moves your fans. For Lurpak®, we identified what kind of recipes the audience was searching for. As a result, we created content that we already knew people wanted to engage with. Read how we did it here.