This goes back to 2010, when I was servicing a leading education brand. I was working on an idea to create an interactive application, allowing users to create a virtual product and have a unique competition-cum-training module for their students.
Idea - Fabulous.
Client's feedback - Fabulous.
Designs - Approved.
Work - Started.
And then started my ordeal.
All these years, while interacting and working with a lot of creative talent - with the best of ideas and bolder convictions, you feel inspired to do something innovative, something disruptive. But learning from my experience, one question always pops up - "How will you execute?" and it's answered by blank stares and unenthusiastic mumbles in my head.
Everyone has great ideas and everyone feels jingoistic about their own ideas. But without a well-thought-out execution plan in place, these ideas are of no use. Execution brings with it hoards of complicated constraints and challenges - approvals, timelines, TGs and customer experience. This is when the 'brilliant' idea that we are chasing, suddenly appears impossible and improbable to go ahead with.
Let's look at this with an example - Following in the footsteps of the Social Security Number system in the US, the Aadhar Card system was launched amidst heavy expectations and fanfare. But look at how it has turned out now.
Right from the long queues, data collection to everything else, the execution of the great idea has been a disaster. Even the look of the final card, the material used are of substandard and inferior quality. Forget that, being touted as such an important document; the passport office won't even accept it as a valid proof. In a nutshell, the Aadhar card has become nothing but an example of ineffective communication, incomplete planning, ill-trained staff, badly designed software and inadequate computing and communication infrastructure.
Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to imply that it is all about mere execution and the idea holds no importance; instead I am elaborating on how imperative the process of execution is, for these ideas to get justice and for them to come to life.
Execution is the missing link between an idea and the final result and it is one of the toughest jobs to infuse this truth in his team and make the stardust in their eyes disappear. If we don't know how to execute the idea, the final product is muddled, like oil in water. Even the best idea on this planet becomes impotent due to poor implementation; we may get praised for the idea, but results may not be something we would be proud of.
Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins would be the best example I can think of and relate to, in this regard. The Winklevoss brothers had an idea "ConnectU," which would allow students to connect. Mark Zuckerberg had an idea, clearly similar but one executed better. As they say, the rest is history.
I really adore the way the whole concept of Vodafone's ZooZoo has come along. The idea was very simple and the execution was so brilliant that these small, cute characters got huge audience attention and people were looking everywhere for them! A little-known fact is that the ZooZoos were supposed to be animated, as originally thought. But due to high animation costs, that was not possible. Instead of changing the idea completely, Vodafone still went ahead with a minor change - They used humans in costumes.
The simple idea of storytelling, executed with such charm and cuteness took them in the VAS space! The success of ZooZoo is purely due to its minimalism and simplicity, though the process was very complicated and tough. This campaign had everything well thought of, and was amazingly executed. By far, it can be called as a true marketing innovation!
So the next time you get that 'big' idea, chase aggressively behind the following guidelines:
• Keep it real - Start being realistic with your promises and setting expectations right.
• Planning the execution - Treat this stage with more importance than the idea itself. Ask yourself and your team the important questions - What? When? Why? Were? How?
• Right People - Campaigns can't be executed, unless the right people collectively focus on the right objectives and goals to make it happen. Select the right resource right from the birth of the idea to the end.
• Empower - Empower and push the team to make decisions.
• 'Make it Happen' attitude - As you start taking the idea beyond papers, you will face lots and lots of hurdles. The trick is to not let the enthusiasm drop and 'make it happen' at any cost. Find one problem at a time and fix it immediately, there and then.
• Plan B - It's always good to have a good backup plan.
If everyone knows the truth about execution being so critical to ideas, why do most of us get inclined towards spending more time on brainstorming and perfecting campaign ideas, than spending it on thinking about execution?
The answer lies in the fact that there are innumerable blocks which get into your way while executing, which can seriously affect the outcome, thus leaving all of us just playing with infant ideas rather than solid execution plans.
Thus reiterating, I can say only one thing- Idea is Batman, while execution is his Robin! Indispensable!
The author is the head of Online Marketing at Gozoop