Execution is everything

The Advertising industry is, at times, an industry which overly fetishises thinking.

We’re obsessed by brains – by insight, by being smart, by killer insights,  by witticisms. By aphorisms, puns, alliteration, decks and documents. By strategy. Fuck, do we love strategy!

Social, brand, buying, digital, direct, CRM, eCRM, implementation, media, communication. All have their own strategies.

For a multitude of strategies, come a multitude of strategists. Senior, junior, middle weight. CSOs. Planning and Strategy Directors, Executive or otherwise.

Strategy is undoubtedly important; how do we answer a client’s business problems or meet their objectives. How should we define the problem. What tools should we use to address this issue. But, it’s only half the answer. Execution is just as important.

The target audience – the people’s whose behaviour we want to change or influence, do not often see strategy, they see ideas. This is as true for the man or woman on the street who we want to buy our product as it is for the client sitting across the table from us who we want to buy us, buy our agency….

Today, a group of grads at the agency pitched to some senior staffers and some clients. I’d helped them develop their presentation over the last couple of weeks. By all accounts a great presentation, with a simple strategy that answered the business challenge. Sadly, they lost – the other team executed better. More detail. More clarity. Not the better strategy, the better execution.

Insight and strategy is only useful as an exercise in getting to execution, not as an exercise in its own right. A timely reminder for me today.

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