hfa Insights, News & Awards


At hfa, we're always making headlines (and not just the kind that go into ads). Here you can read more about our latest news, strategic insights we've published and awards we've won.

Building Connections Across Paid, Owned and Earned Media

In my last post, I covered the topic of Connections Planning, which focuses on three fundamental components of marketing communication: the audience, the brand idea, and the brand connection point. It's imperative to recognize and understand the relationship among these components in order to create a solid groundwork for a truly integrated plan.

Identifying the proper media vehicles and brand connection points can prove to be a virtually infinite exercise. However, these connection points typically fall into one of three categories: paid, owned or earned media (POEM). Although these three channels are undoubtedly different from each other and serve distinct purposes, they should work cohesively to support your brand message and generate a meaningful connection with your audience.

Paid Media: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Think of TV commercials, NASCAR sponsorships, magazine ads, paid search results on Google, or social ads on Facebook. Paid media can be exceptionally useful for gaining immediate exposure and reaching a sizeable audience, while still having the ability to access extremely targeted, granular audience segments. It's also a means for driving traffic to owned media properties and sparking conversation that leads to earned media.

Owned Media: It's any channel that your brand controls. This may include your website, your stores, delivery trucks or other vehicles—the Goodyear Blimp being one of the best examples at hfa—not to mention any blogs, content, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc. that are unique to your brand (even though they're not technically owned by brands). Owned media is crucial for building long-term relationships with your customers and providing unique and useful information about your brand to new audiences.

Earned Media: It might be the trickiest to measure, but earned media is arguably the most valuable member of the POEM family. This age-old term (originating in public relations) refers to any non-paid brand exposure that is generated by a third party, and social media is absolutely at the core of earned media today, given its conduciveness to word-of-mouth marketing and sharing content. Your audience becomes the channel. They're your advocates. And when they're talking about your brand (in a positive light) to their friends, families, or coworkers, this can be one of the most credible sources of information about your brand.

Regardless of which POEM channel we're talking about, great marketing still requires great content. We've all heard it: Content is King. It needs to be relevant, informative, educational, entertaining, or engaging in some way to your audience. It doesn't matter whether your content is in the form of a blog, game, infographic, article, video, print collateral, or website experience; if your brand emotively connects with your target customer, then you're on the road to success.