Integrated model of communications creates a cohesive brand

CEO Insider

When you tell other people how great you are, that’s called advertising. When people tell other people how great you are, that’s called public relations.

However, public relations expert and author Gini Dietrich says an enlightened corporate and executive communications program need not be an either/or proposition.

She wants it all.

The personable executive is the author of “Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age” and host of the “Spin Sucks” podcast.

Dietrich is an advocate for an integrated method of communications that establishes an executive as a credible authority.

“Authority leads to thought leadership. Thought leadership leads to credibility and expertise. Others see you as an expert…even your competitors. Google links to you on the first page of results because it also sees you as an expert,” Dietrich says. “If you have enough authority that both Google and your competitors see you as the expert, you win the human and the SEO (search engine optimization) game. This is the golden ticket.”

Dietrich, CEO of the Arment Dietrich Inc. agency in Chicago, has created the PESO Model of corporate and executive communications that integrates four media types — paid, earned, shared and owned media.

  1. Paid media. In this case, paid media does not refer to big, fancy commercials and highly creative print ads. “On the contrary, paid media for a communications program is social media advertising, sponsored content and email marketing. Think Facebook ads, LinkedIn video ads and Outbrain for content amplification,” Dietrich says.
  2. Earned media. This refers to traditional media relations. “It’s getting your name in print. Having a newspaper or trade publication write about you. Appearing on the noon news to talk about your product. It’s what the PR industry is typically known for because it’s one of the few tangible things we do. The ancillary benefit of earned media in today’s digital world is search engine optimization,” Dietrich says.
  3. Shared media. This also is known as social media. “It’s evolving as well and continues to build beyond just marketing or customer service teams using it. Organizations have begun to use it as their main source of communications internally and externally. This is curated content, Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. It’s putting the social back in social media by creating engagement and community,” Dietrich says.
  4. Owned media. This is otherwise known as your own created content, and Dietrich says it should be the first step of an integrated plan. “It is something you own, and it lives on your website or blog. You control the messaging and tell the story in a way you want it told. This is not hosting your content on Medium or Facebook Notes. It’s owning your content and the platform it lives on. You can use those platforms as outlets, but the reason it’s called ‘owned’ is because you own it and are not renting it to anyone,” Dietrich says.

Dietrich has created a PESO Model certification program with Syracuse University.

“Because the PESO Model is integrated and includes both brand awareness and lead generation activities, it’s one of the most effective processes you can use to market your organization,” Dietrich says.

C-Level Biobox

  • Name: Gini Dietrich
  • Title: Founder and author
  • Organization: Arment Dietrich Inc. and Spin Sucks
  • Website:
  • Expertise: Digital communications and creator of the PESO Model
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in English from Creighton University; honorary bachelor’s degree from Tribeca Flashpoint University; and executive-in-residence at University of Oregon
  • Family: Husband, Kelly; daughter, Addie; and dog, Tulip
  • Best advice ever received: “Stop biting your fingernails. It undermines your expertise and makes you seem less sophisticated.” I stopped biting my fingernails.
  • Favorite musical artist: “Oh, man. Just one? Argh! Um…OK, I’ll go with Prince.”

Written by Steve Jagler.

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