My friend Nick has been busy working away on a shiny new book which has launched today, focusing on a way of viewing the communications world which is fast becoming the default: Paid media (paid for communication placed in third party channels), Owned media (brand assets with direct contact with consumers), and Earned media (customers as the channel, third party endorsements, word of mouth, advocacy).
For me, the interesting spaces in the POE model are where they overlap, and work seamlessly together. This is where the most innovative stuff is happening right now, from people who have a great understanding of not just one of these constituent parts, but all three.
As far back as 2004, Seth Godin was writing in Purple Cow about how if the web is a mass of conversations, then the way in which you market in that environment is to do stuff, and create content that is remarkable. Much has been said around this basic concept since then but we're now seeing more and more smart executions that bring it to life, notably through adept forms of curation, dynamic content, widgets, mash-ups and visualisations that amplify paid and owned through earned, and then pull earned back into owned and out into paid again.
As the lines between channels become ever more blurred, newer forms of algorithmic and social curation such as Facebook's Edgerank and Google's Search Plus Your World increasingly impact content discovery and the correlation between people talking about what you you do and sharing your content, and the visibility of your brand. The implications and possibilities of the dynamic between Paid, Owned and Earned are myriad.
So Nick's timing is pretty good. The book draws together some fundamental principles, illustrated with a huge number of examples. There's a blog to support the book, and you can see some sample chapters here.