Idea vs Executions

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” Oscar Wilde

Over the last two weeks of blogs we have looked at connecting the dots for awesome activation & is the big idea dead?. The biggest question that I have received is what differentiates an IDEA from an Execution.

There are two key concepts covered in the definition of an Idea outlined above.

The first involves an Idea being a core creative thought – reference to both its role as the “mother” of all related executions and its’ intangible nature, stripped bare of non essential executional elements.

Secondly, bringing our message to life talks to translating either our Brand Builder Benefit or Choice Driver in a relevant and engaging way that consumers can connect with – this is often referred to as the “creative leap”.

Linked to this, an Execution is simply the tangible expression of the Idea that consumers see, hear or experience.

Finally, a Campaign is a series of different executions linked by a common executional element – for example a character or strapline.

Importantly, one powerful idea has the potential to generate multiple Campaigns overtime.

For further clarity, lets apply these definitions to a series of ads that Apple has run over the past years.

Having defined what they are, lets now look at why an understanding of ideas is important to the Brand Building Process.

Firstly, if we don’t fully understand the idea we run the risk of dismissing it based on the evaluation of a poor execution.

Secondly, peeling back an execution to uncover the underlining idea has the potential to create a springboard for alternative and potentially more powerful executions.

Linked to this, reaching agreement on a clearly articulated idea allows us to develop consistent and focused executions, increasing the effectiveness of our communication.

Finally, understanding the idea behind an effective execution allows us to more easily replicate its’ success in the future – not just in our market but often across the global network.

The Idea Catcher tool shown above will help us in the process of understanding ideas relating to both types of potential Tasks – bringing to life our Brand Builder Benefit and overcoming Barriers To Behaviour.

Importantly, agency partners should be expected to complete and present this tool for every idea that is proposed – if necessary the wording can be workshopped together.

Completing the Idea Catcher shouldn’t be seen as additional work – it is simply a structured and formalised rationale for the idea – something most agencies already do anyway.

Although the Idea Catcher will initially be completed by the agency (normally the planner), it’s the team’s responsibility to help workshop and get alignment around the final articulation.

This can be challenging, as the conceptual nature of understanding and expressing ideas requires reflection and crafting. We shouldn’t expect to instantly be able to decode executions and their underlying idea although it does get easier with practise – something we’ll get into with next week’s blog.

Furthermore, it’s extremely difficult to understand and impossible to evaluate ideas without examples of potential executions – having said that, we should always try to understand the underlining idea before judging the executions.

Linked to this last point, examples of potential executions only need to be as finished as is necessary to get the idea across – sometimes mood boards will be sufficient.

CMO Perspective: John Costello – President of Global Marketing And Innovation at Dunkin Brands

Dunkin’ has strongly embraced the digital world and more recently moved into mobile. “America Runs on Dunkin” is more than a tagline. It really is Dunkin Donuts’ brand purpose. Our goal is to help people get running in the morning and to keep them running all day long with great beverages and food at a great value in a fast, friendly and convenient environment.

Given that, mobile was a logical next step for us. It’s the perfect platform for a brand designed for people on the run. And I think a lot of our success in mobile has been listening to what our customers want and then developing solutions in a collaborative way. Our mobile app has over fifteen million downloads and was built with world-class technology and features that our customers wanted. For example, you could pay with the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app from day one. We have a store locator on there to help locate a Dunkin’ Donuts when you’re travelling, as well as personalised marketing when you sign up for our DD Perks loyalty program.

I think a lot of success of the mobile program was that it was our most collaborative project to date. As you would expect, marketing and IT were very involved in leading the effort, but it also involved strong collaboration with operations, our franchise partners, HR, training, PR, and customer service. The collaborative nature of the mobile app combined with listening to our customers are key factors of its success. In exploring new technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest gee-whiz technology, but we found there is no substitute for listening to your customers and providing what they want in an easy and seamless way.

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