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Guest Column: Execution excellence drives creativity - Ajay Anthony

13-May-2013
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Guest Column: Execution excellence drives creativity - Ajay Anthony

Often what steers a great idea is the fact that it will be actualised. On that premise, execution lends itself to creativity, also addressing the Achilles heel that ideation tends to suffer from on occasion.

Applied to above the line media, there are opportunities for quick redressavailable at the table, a quick nip and cut here and there, or a quick reassessment makes the situation good to go. Below the line, especially in the activations universe, things look very different. Once on a roll, it is difficult to do a rethink and almost impossible to rewind. So, it is as important to be grounded in reality as it is important to be creative. Put differently, let’s just say it stands any campaign in good stead and it is in an agency’s best interest that any creative license be reviewed by the forces that man the playing field.

Given the dynamic environment we exist in, the sights and sounds that surround us change by the minute, but the idea is woven around a best case scenario. There is a gap to bridge and here’s where an on-ground team contributes with reality checks to a creative idea.

An idea leans to perfection, at times bordering on the Utopian, but the execution teams concerns itself with possibilities, however remote they may be. Execution informs idea, eliminating loopholes at the very inception. Knowing the environment’s capacities and limitations can only be an advantage. You then know what you can do, what you can do better, and what you need to do to make the almost impossible happen. Let me put it this way, knowing where the boundary is and where the fielders are standing makes it more likely for you hit a ‘six’ clean across the boundary. Of course, the strategy and creative approach you employ will begin the journey of brilliance, but no matter how brilliant the idea, its final resting place is the execution guy’s shoulder.

It is advisable then for the markeeteer to rely on an excellent creative team and an even better execution team. That if the nuances of the creative strategy are ever to come alive on ground. The best execution teams bring considerations and their experiences from ground zero back to the creative table.

To one watching from the outside and for insiders too, there are two ways to look at the situation, the more popularly accepted view being that the execution team has no imagination and does not appreciate good ideas, sizing them down to suit a convenient deployment. The other less subscribed to fact is that the execution team is as keen on the idea, albeit with its ear to the ground, not with the intent to curtail, but to enhance a design by eliminating any flights of fancy.

The creative and execution team make a great pair, challenging each other and helping each other grow. The execution team delimits the thought process of the creative team, at times reining in the ideas and at times giving them that much needed impetus to go the extra mile.The creative team returns the favour by exploring uncharted territories and testing waters and keeping the team on-ground, on their toes. Where the creative team dazzles with imaginative brilliance, the execution team returns the favour, relying on experience and redefining reality. The tussle between them is healthy, powers a great business and, therefore, is a perfect marriage of departments within the agency. This makes up an ideal world at any activations agency.

Which brings us back to contemplating whether or not execution excellence drives creativity?

Clearly, a lot rides on us the execution team, and by that logic it will be safe to believe that this team does in fact drive creative excellence, especially through the rough patches!

Ajay Anthony is Associate Partner & Director Operations at Pulp Strategy Communications

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