The Idea Is Dead: Long Live Executional Excellence

Magnifying glass focused on the word excellence

Let’s face it – agencies that can’t deliver on their ideas have rendered those ideas useless. A great idea executed badly, is a bad idea, says founder and CEO of April5, Alicia Beachley, in this guest opinion piece.

Alicia Beachley
Posted by Alicia Beachley

If you take a look at any business idea, any marketing strategy, you’ll probably see plenty of people working on some variation of the theme. Ideas are cheap.

Don’t get me wrong, good ideas do matter, they just won’t have the right impact unless they’re brought to life with executional excellence. Here’s why:

Execution is what people see

Unless the person in question is on your marketing or agency team, no one will come to your brand’s idea first. Instead, they’ll encounter it in a setting – a promotion, an advertisement, an event, or some other designed and executed medium.

That medium will affect how they think about your brand from that moment forward, and it will affect your customers in ways that aren’t as cerebral as an idea. How does the execution make them feel? Does it engage them? Reassure them? Excite them?

In fact, it’s usually the emotions which affect a customer – not the concept. A person may buy a car because it makes them feel “good” in an abstract way, without ever realising that the marketing campaign was built, for example, around the idea of a car being the gateway to freedom.

Execution makes things real

Think about it: an idea is intangible. It doesn’t do anything. It can arise and be forgotten in the space of a moment. In order to affect anyone, it has to be executed.

The simplest execution may be just telling someone about the idea. That’s made it real, in that it’s now affected more people than the person who thought it up in the first place. But that’s not a very effective execution.

It might be even more effective if it was told as part of a great presentation, or a pitch, or a prototype. Then, people might start getting excited – but that’s not yet executional excellence.

When an idea is brought into the real world in a way which acts upon people’s emotions, that’s when that idea can be a game-changer. An idea may excite the person who has it. A pitch may excite the original creator of the idea and a small audience.

But if you want to bring an idea into the world in a way that affects multitudes, executional excellence is the way.

Execution separates you from the pack

Brands compete, and in many cases, brands can drive each other out of business. When this happens, it’s often a case of stronger execution – because if two products each satisfy a consumer’s needs, the execution becomes what matters.

Research has shown that emotions play a larger role in purchasing decisions than rational comparison. A brand which is more successful in evoking positive emotion will perform better than a brand which struggles to engage its customers – no matter how good its product is.

Executional excellence matters

Poor execution costs businesses and brands. Being masters of ‘making it happen’ is vital to building agency/client relationships and delivering return on investment.

If you’re planning a brand activation campaign or considering your ongoing marketing efforts, you want to have the best ideas possible.

But in order to get those best ideas out there where people can interact with them, where they can affect others, and where they can give you a lead on the competition, you should be putting as much time as you can into making the execution brilliant.