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What is the PESO Model of Communication?

This is an excerpt from Sport Public Relations 3rd Edition With Web Resource by G. Clayton Stoldt,Stephen W. Dittmore,Mike Ross & Scott E. Branvold.

PESO Model of Communication

Gini Dietrich’s book Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management (2014) is one of the more impor­tant public relations and marketing books of the past de­cade. In it, Dietrich defined a new model for communications that combines publicity, a traditional aspect of public relations work, and advertising, traditionally part of marketing, with “two new kids in town” (p. 38)—­shared and owned media. The four ele­ments make up the PESO model and may be summarized as follows:

  • Paid media: The advertising ele­ment. In addition to more traditional advertising outlets, the PESO model recognizes social and digital options as well.
  • Earned media: The publicity ele­ment. The model again goes beyond more traditional placements such as print or broadcast to recognize opportunities with bloggers and influencers.
  • Shared media: Social media, essentially. The word shared emphasizes the importance of engagement beyond mere audience consumption.
  • Owned media: Orga­nizational or individual methods of distributing self-­generated content (e.g., blogs, videos, podcasts) directly to audiences.

Spin Sucks is not sport-­specific, but it does feature numerous examples of application of the PESO model in sport settings. One such example was Adidas’ adjustment of its communication strategy around a new shoe launch when its athlete namesake, basketball star Derrick Rose, suffered a major injury shortly ­after signing a six-­figure endorsement contract. Adidas opted to utilize owned media, specifically a documentary series titled The Return that the com­pany created and released online, to tell Rose’s story of coming back from a bout with adversity. Adidas leveraged the content via shared (i.e., social) media to build online buzz, gain followers, and generate searches for the product.

The full PESO model details the vari­ous tactics that fall ­under each of the four major categories and identifies zones where the four types of media may overlap. Please see spinsucks​.­com to access the detailed model.