If the soul of a brand is not interesting, they just haven’t found it yet – and that can be highly detrimental.

I promise you this has very little to do with new age but has everything to do with navigating in the increasingly earned marketing reality in which we operate.

All it takes to generate earned attention around a message is to have a creative idea that is interesting enough to the masses that they want to share it with others.

There are many new agencies out there with earned mindsets aiming to start conversations for your brand. I should know, since our agency started with the same approach five years ago. Since then, we have realized – and adjusted our approach to – the fact that conversations mean very little if the voice does not sound true.

Our own development aside, the offer to create conversations in the earned space is still surprisingly relevant, mainly because of ad agencies’ continued obsession with paid platforms. The largest and most fundamental creative shift in traditional advertising is that brilliant films are digitally viewed and shared online.

Sorry, I got off track for a moment. Back to the soul.

Why is the soul of a brand increasingly important in marketing? It’s due to the earned aspect. Brands have never been more human than they are now. We expect brands to entertain us, to educate us and to engage us with small talk. Yet, creative agencies focus on starting a conversation.

If a brand hasn’t found its fundamental core of existing, the creative campaigns will not resonate and will remain empty. All of the money spent on trying to make a brand appear interesting and likable will leave it appearing like an interest optimizing robot. The story will fly and reach millions, however, the narrator of the story will quickly fade.

In order to truly be effective in the earned (and paid) digital space, you need to find the soul of the brand.

In fact, if we looked upon strategic planning more like soul searching and less like a numbers game, robust and more creative platforms would be built. With this mindset, strong, sincere voices will take shape and clear point of views with cultural relevance will emerge. Not only will this work make creative and earned ideas come easily, but the messenger will start to matter.

If you are interested on how we work, we don’t use crystal balls, chants or meditation. We use our proven planning method, called culture first. Click here to view more of our latest work here.

Mattias Ronge is CEO and chief strategy officer of Edelman Deportivo.

Chris Lawton