The lack of strategy on the most visible part of the business has started to produce vanilla and often dubious results.
It sounds weird to wrap creative in business. It should surely be untamed and wild in order to the maximum results. However, brands just end up clambering on the latest trend just to stay relevant.
There are have been plenty of misjudged campaigns, like Pepsi's take on Black Lives Matter and the latest influencer offering from Listerine.
Poor creative is constantly being shared on social media. It ranges from poor copy and misplaced images to baffling execution and odd alignment.
The reason companies need this strategy is make sure creative meet a certain criteria.
A lot of brands are jumping on the social conscience bandwagon. As more and more people become aware of exploitative, polluting and corrupt working practises, everyone tries to prove that they're not one of those evil corps and they support cultural movements.
Online gambling giant, Paddy Power, joined Pride in Brighton.
Ariel are ramming child safety of their products down our throats, so children don't ram it down their own.
Pampers want to help children living in poverty.
Nike are supporting Black Lives Matter by making Colin Kaepernick brand ambassador.
There's a move for businesses to be outwardly looking, to be human and look like their customer base. More often than not, brands get it wrong.
Brands aren't an exchange of goods and services anymore, they're an experience, a relationship and must have meaning.
Personally, I didn't have a problem with A Protein World's Are You Beach Body Ready ad. It's a weight loss supplement and who wants to go to the beach feeling like Greenpeace might show you up to rescue you.
Yes, it's body shaming and we should embrace all our extra, wobbly bits, however, I look at that ad and think; "wow, I wish had a figure like that", which is its purpose.
Pepsi's ad failed because it made a mockery of something very serious. Police brutality and racial profiling has led to riots and people being killed, suggesting that all it needed was a sex-tape's star's sister to hand over a can of Pepsi is just ludicrous.
The reason every company needs a strategy is you can determine what your values are. Where do you have permission to play? If you're an oil company, then environmental issues is essential. As an oil company, starting to talk about LGBT issues would be misplaced - not that they don't care or discrimination doesn't exist, but because no one would expect BP or Shell to have an opinion or expertise on the matter.
Brands need more than a brand book to govern images, logos, iconography, livery and, most importantly, tone of voice. It needs an acceptance criterion, a brand purpose and personality.
It would outline if it comments on a celebrity death. It would determine which cultural movements to align to based on its target market. It would pinpoint the tone, look and feel of this all so it's all consistent.
This is where Nike excels. It's a brand that's more than just sport, it's a fashion brand worn by Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Kendrick Lamar and Skepta. It's a cultural staple, always there when superhumans win medals and break records. Always there when artists are being adored by millions.
It looked at a black athlete (perfectly aligned with brands primary purpose), who made the news and became a hero (by taking the knee during the US national anthem at NFL games) to their target market (young black people or appreciative of black culture), it historically aligns with culture makers. It saw that controversial character, Kaepernick, would outrage nationalists in a climate of peak nationalism.
They knew it would cement them in the minds of their core and potential base.
This is what happens when you have a creative strategy.