Repeating important messages used to produce the results a brand marketer was looking for. Today, it’s not nearly as important how many times you repeat a message compared to how well you establish a trusting bond between your brand and your customer. Take Amazon for example. Do customers return there because Amazon markets to them 10 million times a day on every single social media platform or is it because they are able to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations 10 million times a day?

For sure, the brand should look great, the copy should be interesting to read. But today that goes without saying. That’s because it’s far more important to have a rock solid strategy operating in the background – one that provides the hard core strategic logic for every single market communication – than being the brand with a super creative brand marketing program.

Of course, agencies hate what I am saying here because “Being Creative” has been at the center of the definition of a successful agency for decades. There are local, regional, national, and international creative awards competitions to prove it. And all the creative agencies participate and when they win they boast about their prized plaques and statues.

But it’s past time to realize that these competitions are nothing more than vanity plates for brand owners and their agencies and prove nothing. Especially if they post a going out of business sign that reads, “We’d like to thank everyone for their business” on their website!  Unfortunately there have been quite a number of these signs posted recently. Undoubtedly those awards are now on shelves or in boxes at the homes of their owners.

Why? Because creative branding usually does not make a brand successful. Creative brands do. So if you happen to be looking for the next big idea from your creative digital agency to re-launch your company after years of stalled brand growth, you might want to begin your search with some intelligent strategic planning. That should be done in-house, or guided by an outside firm but focused on your in-house management team.

Because at the end of the day it’s not up to a creative agency to make your brand successful. As the brand owner, that’s your job.