The Execution of an Idea

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Mike Heronime combines the personal insights and experiences of his 22 year career in advertising with those of thought leaders in and out of the industry to create a guidebook for successfully developing great ideas.

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The Execution of an Idea

  1. 1. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA By Mike Heronime
  2. 2. This book has been published by Numantra, the forever-new marketing brain trust that maximizes client resources with fresh insights, accountable solutions and kick-ass results. Questions or comments about this book, please contact Mike Heronime at mheronime@numantra.com. To learn more about Numantra, visit numantra.com Copyright © Numantra 2007 All rights reserved. ra nu ideas served fresh daily •2• numantra.com
  3. 3. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 01 RUBBING IDEAS THE RIGHT WAY numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 3 •3• numantra.com numantra.com
  4. 4. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime “I’VE GOT AN IDEA!” numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 4 •4• numantra.com numantra.com
  5. 5. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime As a general rule, we don’t trust ideas. Ideas are very fragile things at first. But given the opportunity, an idea can become a powerful force that can change lives and even redirect the course of civilization. Maybe it’s because of their potential power that ideas are so often maimed and killed before they really get a chance to be realized. When you hear someone say, “I’ve got an idea!” with a tone in their voice that indicates their pleasure for having been clever, do you respond with an equally enthusiastic “Oh boy!’ or is your reply more of a groan. Be honest. No one is listening in right now. Maybe you reject the idea because of the person it’s attached to. “That person never has good ideas.” Take a minute and list in your mind all of the people that you value for their ideas. Now compare that list to the number of people you know in total. Chances are you have a relatively short list. If you’re like most people then you tend to shut down other people’s ideas. And you’ve experienced having your own ideas shut down as well. It’s natural human nature to attack an idea. To try to reveal its weaknesses. To expose its flaws. This will ensure that potentially dangerous ideas are dealt with before they become something too horrible for words. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 5 •5• numantra.com numantra.com
  6. 6. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime CHANGE IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE IDEA DRIVING IT. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 6 •6• numantra.com numantra.com
  7. 7. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime For society this is probably not altogether a bad thing. If people embraced every notion that was verbalized by their fellow man, just think of the problems that would produce. We could easily become a society of anarchistic flakes, subject to the whims of every individual we came into contact with. Leaderless, visionless, gullible animals. But consider for a moment what life would be like if every new idea was immediately rejected out of fear with the unfamiliar and unknown. We would all be sitting around right now in our caves waiting for the strongest caveman to tell us what to do next—our progress as a civilization forever halted by our fear of change. Change is only as good as the idea driving it. You’ve probably heard the myth, “There’s no such thing as a bad idea.” Actually, there are bad ideas. Running with scissors. Unprotected sex. Mullets. Solar powered flashlights. The real truth is that these were good ideas gone bad. Running, good. With scissors, bad. Sex, good. Unprotected, bad. Hair cut, good. Business in the front – party in the back, bad. Flashlights, good. Solar power, good. Together, bad. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 7 •7• numantra.com numantra.com
  8. 8. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime “AN IDEA CAN TURN TO DUST OR MAGIC DEPENDING ON THE TALENT THAT RUBS AGAINST IT.” – BILL BERNBACH numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 8 •8• numantra.com numantra.com
  9. 9. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime The point is that an idea is neither good nor bad until someone decides to do something about it. It’s just an idea until someone decides to produce it. Publish it. Present it. Poke it in the public eye. How good is the idea? Well that all depends on what you do with it. Advertising legend Bill Bernbach put it more eloquently when he said, “An idea can turn to dust or magic depending on the talent that rubs against it.” Being talented at rubbing ideas the right way is no simple task. Think back to your list of people you value for their ideas. These people are in the minority. But it’s not a closed society. It’s just that few people are willing to take the risks that come with promoting an idea. Rubbing ideas the right way is a matter of suppressing your fears, opening your mind, and accepting your personal limitations in order to embrace the broader capabilities that exist in the world around you. But first, you need an idea. It doesn’t have to be your idea. It doesn’t have to be a good idea. But it has to be an idea. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 9 •9• numantra.com numantra.com
  10. 10. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 10 •10• numantra.com numantra.com
  11. 11. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 02 WHAT IS THE IDEA? numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 11 •11• numantra.com numantra.com
  12. 12. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime AN IDEA ACCOMPLISHES. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 12 •12• numantra.com numantra.com
  13. 13. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime At its core, an idea is a relatively simple thing. But most ideas stumble before they have a chance to grow because they were ill defined. And defining the idea is crucial if you ever want to get someone to help you do something with said idea. Unfortunately, most people take their idea fairly far down the path in their own mind before they realize that they need help with their idea. And by then, they end up describing their idea in terms of its execution. They’ll talk about what it’s going to look like, or act like, or sound like, instead of where the idea came from or what problem it solves. An idea accomplishes. It serves a purpose. It has a reason for being. It is a thing unto itself. It requires little introduction. Just a mention, really. An idea is inspirational. It’s value is self-evident to the people it serves. An idea is always the answer to a problem. In order to realize an idea’s fullest potential, you must first boil an idea down to its core. Define the idea in relationship to the problem it solves. When you have done this, you should be able to describe this idea in just a few words. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 13 •13• numantra.com numantra.com
  14. 14. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime AN IDEA IS ALWAYS THE ANSWER TO A PROBLEM. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 14 •14• numantra.com numantra.com
  15. 15. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime PROBLEM: Toothpaste usage had leveled off leaving little room for sales growth in this category. IDEA: Make the hole bigger on tubes of toothpaste. PROBLEM: Consumers are familiar with the Tabasco brand but it isn’t a product they think of as often as Tabasco would like. IDEA: Make the label synonymous with a dare they’ll remember. PROBLEM: Rewarding consumers with free product under the cap on soda bottles became a burden for the participating convenience stores to fulfill the rewards. IDEA: Digitize the reward and fulfill it on the Internet. PROBLEM: Travelers at the airport wanting to simply check in and get a boarding pass have to wait in long lines behind people with more complicated, time-consuming problems. SOLUTION: Install computer kiosks that print boarding passes for travelers’ that self check-in. PROBLEM: A laundry detergent company develops a new formula that out performs all of their competitors but no one is aware of it. IDEA: Demonstrate the product in a side-by-side comparison. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 15 •15• numantra.com numantra.com
  16. 16. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime DESCRIBING IDEAS CAN BE A BIT OF A MINE FIELD. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 16 •16• numantra.com numantra.com
  17. 17. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime Here’s an idea (actually a couple of ideas tied together into one solution) that I love. Tracy Sachs, a recent graduate of the Miami Ad School, had conceived of and designed an environmentally themed campaign for Duracell. Batteries sold in Walgreens would not only be purchased but also recycled through the store (first idea). To make consumers aware of this benefit, the packaging was designed to make the batteries look like insects sitting on a leaf (second idea). Getting retailers to help recycle batteries is a good idea. But changing the packaging to present Duracell as environmentally friendly is a terrific idea. Too many marketers would just slap a recycle icon on their existing package and go to market. And the best thing about the packaging idea is that it will really help Duracell stand out on the shelf as different and new. Describing ideas can be a bit of a mine field. When you begin to give words to your idea, is it full of jargon? Is it really an idea or is it a clever combination of buzzwords? Will it stand on its own merit, stripped of the package it’s been cast in? Oftentimes, the lack of an idea can be covered up with concepts and language that promise more than they can deliver. Would your idea make sense to your uncle? Try describing it to your spouse. Does it lose its meaning? Has its wisdom waned? numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 17 •17• numantra.com numantra.com
  18. 18. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE IS CROWDED WITH SLACKERS. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 18 •18• numantra.com numantra.com
  19. 19. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all. Maybe it wasn’t even an idea to begin with. Does it solve a problem? Does it do it in a way that others can understand? Could you share it with someone else and then count on them to see it through to completion? Or does it require further explanation? Will it be necessary for you to be present through each and every step of its implementation? The most common mistake people make when it comes to ideas is mistaking tactics for ideas. This mistake is so easy to make because the tactics seem to make so much sense. They are the steps that would be taken to make the idea happen. And for a lot of people, it is much more comfortable to discuss the tangible tactics than it is the more intangible concept that lies at the core of the idea. “What difference could it possibly make?” one might argue. “These tactics seem to make a lot of sense. Especially in the context of the problem. Why not just do them and forget about all the hairsplitting. Who cares if it’s a tactic or an idea as long as you have a solution?” It’s an argument of convenience more than anything else. Alluring to the lazy. The path of least resistance is crowded with slackers. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 19 •19• numantra.com numantra.com
  20. 20. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime AN IDEA CAN BE TRANSLATED AND EXPRESSED IN AN INFINITE NUMBER OF WAYS. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 20 •20• numantra.com numantra.com
  21. 21. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime It’s like this: a tactic can only be executed one way. That’s it. It is what it is. A complete definition of the solution. The precise path. It may be good or it may be bad but at the end of the day, it’s all you have to work with. On the other hand, an idea is open-ended. An idea can be translated and expressed in an infinite number of ways. An idea can lead to a variety of tactics that all have various levels of merit. An idea is bigger than any tactic can ever hope to be. When people begin to explain their idea by describing the execution, chances are that they have fallen in love with a tactic and have lost sight of their idea. Chances are, they never really understood their idea to begin with. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 21 •21• numantra.com numantra.com
  22. 22. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 22 •22• numantra.com numantra.com
  23. 23. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 03 GETTING IDEAS numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 23 •23• numantra.com numantra.com
  24. 24. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime HARVEY PEKAR GOT ALL OF HIS IDEAS FROM HIS OWN LIFE. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 24 •24• numantra.com numantra.com
  25. 25. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime “Where do your ideas come from?” It’s a question constantly being asked of writers and artists. Usually, the answer to the question is a quip. A dodge. A sniff at the poor, unimaginative troll that dared to waste the creative person’s time when they assumed that they could possibly understand the artist’s muse. Science fiction author Roger Zelazny once rudely responded to the question by telling a teenager that the Journal of Crazy Ideas is published quarterly in Schenectady, New York. He went on to suggest that members of the Science Fiction Writers of America can use any of the ideas published in the Journal as their own. Zelazny’s explanation for why two different writers will often have the same idea in different stories. And then there are the rarer responses that connect the source of ideas to inspiration: nature, friends, other artists, music, and sex — just to name a few. Harvey Pekar got all of his ideas from his own life. He started focusing on his own pathetic existence with a new purpose in mind and translated what he saw into an underground comic titled, American Splendor (which incidentally became an HBO Film that won top honors at Sundance and Cannes in 2003). But what moved Harvey from a schmuck to a creative genius was not the source of his ideas. It was the re-examination of his surroundings with a new sense of purpose. For Harvey, life was numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 25 •25• numantra.com numantra.com
  26. 26. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime MOST OF THESE STUDENTS OF CREATIVITY AGREE THAT IDEAS COME FROM A SUBCONSCIOUS PROCESS. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 26 •26• numantra.com numantra.com
  27. 27. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime no longer something to fight, it was something to admire. And study. And the more mundane it was, the more it moved him to write. There are a number of people who have studied the process that creatives go through to develop their ideas. Most of these students of creativity agree that ideas come from a subconscious process that takes two relatively unassociated thoughts and combines them together to produce a new thought — a new idea. In the case of Harvey it was all of the energy that he had been putting into searching for an idea for a comic book (comic concepts: thought number one) colliding with all of his anxiety and depression about his life (pathetic loser: thought number two) producing the great idea: a comic book about his pathetic life as a loser. James Webb Young totally nails this subject in his short but insightful book titled A Technique for Producing Ideas. In his book, he suggests that when advertising creatives are tasked with producing ideas for an assignment that they prepare themselves in two areas. The first area is specific to the assignment and the second is general to the creative person’s constant need for inspiration. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 27 •27• numantra.com numantra.com
  28. 28. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime ONE MORNING WE WAKE UP AND “POOF” WE’VE GOT AN IDEA. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 28 •28• numantra.com numantra.com
  29. 29. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime According to Young, the first step in the process is to absorb as much information as possible about the specifics of the assignment. For example, if the assignment centers around advertising for a product, the creative person needs to learn every relevant fact that is available to them concerning the product, the people that use the product, and the people that make the product. The next step in the process is an ongoing task. And that is the collection of raw information. The source material for this raw information is the world. The creative person must be constantly absorbing new information and experiences from a broad range of sources: movies, books, museums, theater, parks, clubs, websites, friends, relatives, music, food… the list goes on. The third step is a matter of trusting in the power of the subconscious mind. Because our minds are always at work trying to create patterns and make connections, we will unwittingly begin to match information we’ve collected about our product with our experience at the circus. Or the funny thing our friend told us. Or the way we learned to ride a bike. And then one morning we wake up and “poof” we’ve got an idea. The problem here is that this happens after the fact all too often. The reason for this is ironically connected to how numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 29 •29• numantra.com numantra.com
  30. 30. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime WITH IDEAS, TIMING CAN BE EVERYTHING. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 30 •30• numantra.com numantra.com
  31. 31. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime desperately we are searching for an idea. The harder we try to come up with an idea, the less likely we will succeed. But once we relax our mind and let our subconscious do the work, the sooner we will produce an idea. And with ideas, timing can be everything. I believe that the most expected and unoriginal ideas that we are capable of are on the surface of our minds. These are the thoughts that occur to most everyone. It’s crucial that we spend the time that it takes to dig deep into our subconscious where we will find the original idea. When we make ideas our job, the risk of producing ideas from the surface of our mind is tremendous. BBDO was the agency of record for KFC. At the end of their tenure, they presented an advertising concept to their client based on the old joke about the chicken that crossed the road. Now this is a prime example of the kind of lame idea that comes from surface thinking. And KFC recognized it right away. In 1989, KFC used a "Cross the Road" campaign from former agency Young & Rubicam, New York, that franchisees disliked. And rival Wendy's International was, at that time, using a "Why people cross the road" effort for its chicken nuggets. KFC quickly put their account in review following the presentation of the lame chicken-crossing-the-road idea from BBDO. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 31 •31• numantra.com numantra.com
  32. 32. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime “I BELIEVE THAT GREAT IDEAS ARE INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF INSPIRATION, BUT THAT GREAT ADVERTISING PROGRAMS RESULT FROM A TEAM EFFORT WHICH BUILDS UPON AN ORIGINAL IDEA AND EXPANDS IT.” — KEITH REINHARD numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 32 •32• numantra.com numantra.com
  33. 33. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime The burden of producing ideas is great. And it’s better handled with the help of others than trying to fly solo. But too often, people get hung up on the ownership of ideas. And this produces narrow thinking that limits the source of ideas. And narrow thinking is just as deadly to an idea as surface thinking. The truth is that if you’re worried about whose idea it is, you’ll be left behind in the search for an original idea. Keith Reinhard, former chairman of advertising behemoth DDB Worldwide, observed, “I believe that great ideas are individual acts of inspiration, but that great advertising programs result from a team effort which builds upon an original idea and expands it.” Getting feedback on ideas that challenge our way of thinking is crucial to the process. If we allow ourselves to become impressed with our own ideas then we will most likely shut down any more thinking around it. Having achieved personal satisfaction, we can miss new revelations that can be used to improve the idea and take it in unthinkable directions. If we’re impressed with our idea, this should be the first indication that we should re- examine it. Chances are that re-examination will lead us in a new direction that we are even more excited about. And if we generate a lot of ideas, we need to be more selective. A large volume of ideas usually contains several versions of a few ideas. Ideas that are derivative of one another. And there will numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 33 •33• numantra.com numantra.com
  34. 34. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime certainly be ideas that are not as complete or as well-thought out compared to others. It can be a painful process to choose to leave behind ideas but it is a necessary part of the process. Developing ideas is a process that requires choice. We have to choose the direction we will take our idea. Of course nobody ever said it was easy. And that’s really only the beginning. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 34 •34• numantra.com numantra.com
  35. 35. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 04 IT’S HARD WORK numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 35 •35• numantra.com numantra.com
  36. 36. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime WHEN IT COMES TO PRODUCING IDEAS, IF WE DON’T WORK HARD AT IT THEN OUR IDEAS WON’T AMOUNT TO MUCH. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 36 •36• numantra.com numantra.com
  37. 37. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime When I was in college, I spent three years roofing houses. Compared to other jobs I could have done, it paid well. But it was hard work. To roof a house, you have to tear off the old roof and hammer down or pull thousands of nails. And then you have to haul packages of roofing shingles up to the roof. Which usually meant carrying about a hundred and twenty pounds of shingles on your shoulder while you climbed a ladder to the roof. Several trips were required. And once you had all of your new shingles up on the roof, you had to nail them down. Sure, I used a staple gun to put the shingles on. So it saved me the hard work of hammering nails into every shingle. But staple gun or no staple gun, there was no way to escape all of the bending over. And no way to escape the Texas sun. Roofing houses was back-breaking, blistering, bloody work. I remember thinking that once I had myself a decent “indoor job” that working would be a lot easier. I took a job in advertising and I can say honestly that it’s certainly not any easier than roofing houses. In a lot of ways, it’s much harder. Of course it’s always a matter of how hard or easy we want to make a thing. But when it comes to producing ideas, if we don’t work hard at it then our ideas won’t amount to much. In A Technique for Producing Ideas, James Webb Young explains how the job of producing ideas will require the creative person numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 37 •37• numantra.com numantra.com
  38. 38. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime RARELY DO WE EVER GET A LUXURY OF TIME FOR PRODUCING IDEAS. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 38 •38• numantra.com numantra.com
  39. 39. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime to be constantly at work. When we aren’t busy working directly on an assignment, then we have to be at work collecting the raw material that produces ideas. To collect the raw material, the creative person must be constantly absorbing new information and experiences from a broad range of sources. Basically, this means constantly expanding our horizons. It’s a full-time job by itself. If that was all there was to do, then it would be a lead pipe cinch. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. The real work comes when we are tasked with applying all of this horizon expanding to producing practical solutions to problems through original ideas. And there are several factors that make this difficult task even harder. First, there is the assignment itself. Not every assignment is equally inspiring. And then we have the subjective nature of ideas. What seems like a good idea to one person is less impressive to another. And rarely do we ever get a luxury of time for producing ideas. But the one person most responsible for making our job harder is none other than our self. Steven Pressfield describes this problem in his book, The War of Art, where he introduces us to the idea of Resistance. “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 39 •39• numantra.com numantra.com
  40. 40. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime APPLYING OURSELVES CREATIVELY TO FORMULATING IDEAS TAKES DRIVE AND DETERMINATION. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 40 •40• numantra.com numantra.com
  41. 41. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance,” writes Pressfield. He goes on to give his readers about a hundred and sixty pages worth of advice on how we can fight the inner demons in our struggle with ourselves to produce ideas. It’s a phenomenon. This problem we have with being our own worst enemy when it comes to creativity. Roger von Oech describes the problem as the “Ten Mental Locks.” In his book, A Whack on the Side of the Head, von Oech identifies these locks (The right answer; That’s not logical; Follow the rules; Be practical; Play is frivolous; That’s not my area; Don’t be foolish; Avoid ambiguity; To err is wrong; and I’m not creative) and then provides practical methods for unlocking our creative potential with a “whack on the side of the head.” Applying ourselves creatively to formulating ideas takes drive and determination. It’s no easy road. There are obstacles along the way. Many of them are put there by others but by all indications, the biggest of these we have erected on our own. Breaking down these barriers is something that we have to commit ourselves to doing every day and always. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 41 •41• numantra.com numantra.com
  42. 42. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime “SHIFT THE PROBLEM FROM ‘HOW CAN I HAVE A GREAT IDEA?’ TO ‘HOW CAN I MAKE THIS MISERABLE AD BETTER?’” — DAVID FOWLER numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 42 •42• numantra.com numantra.com
  43. 43. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime David Fowler is the copywriter that wrote those award-winning radio spots for Motel 6. You know the ones that featured Tom Bodett saying that “they’ll leave a light on for you.” Fowler has made a career out of breaking down barriers to creative thinking at places like the Richards Group, Goodby Silverstein, and Ogilvy & Mather. And he has put some of the lessons he learned along the way into a book titled, The Creative Companion. Does Fowler think that producing ideas is hard work? He describes writing theme lines like this: “The old-fashioned chain- gang way of writing lines is this: write a page of lines, double spaced. Let one sentence lead to another, one thought to the next. When you have three pages, print them. Take a pencil and cross out all the lines you hate. Maybe there’ll be one you sort of like. Now, start with that line and go another three pages. I call this the chain-gang method because it’s a little like breaking rocks. Only harder.” Few people enjoy having to do things over. Having completed a task, we’re ready to push on. But according to Fowler, doing it over is just a part of the process. “Making a great ad can seem overwhelming. Pretty soon, you’re paralyzed. So make a bad ad. Then make better ones. You’ll shift the problem from ‘How can I have a great idea?’ to ‘How can I make this miserable ad better?’ Go make the ad you’d make if it was your business, your product. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 43 •43• numantra.com numantra.com
  44. 44. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime WHEN WE LEARN TO ACCEPT THE RIGORS OF OUR WORK AND APPROACH EVERYDAY EXPECTING IT TO BE HARD, THAT’S THE DAY WE CAN CALL OUR SELVES A PRO. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 44 •44• numantra.com numantra.com
  45. 45. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime Sell something. Imagine you’re standing on a used car lot, banging on the hood of a car. Now make an ad like that and see where it leads you. Just don’t stop with that ad.” There is one thing that makes this hard job of producing ideas a little easier. And that’s acceptance. When we learn to accept the rigors of our work and approach everyday expecting it to be hard, that’s the day we can call our selves a pro. Jerry Seinfeld made this observation in the documentary, Comedian. He describes watching some construction workers who are heading back to the job after their lunch break. Seinfeld remarks that if these guys can pick themselves up and haul themselves back to work after having busted their asses all morning just so they can bust their asses all afternoon, then how much harder should he be working at writing comedy? He comes to the realization that those guys just don’t think about it. They just get back to work. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 45 •45• numantra.com numantra.com
  46. 46. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 46 •46• numantra.com numantra.com
  47. 47. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 05 HOW TO NURTURE AN IDEA numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 47 •47• numantra.com numantra.com
  48. 48. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime IDEAS ARE BORN INTO A COLD, HARD WORLD WITH VERY LIMITED CHANCES OF SURVIVAL. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 48 •48• numantra.com numantra.com
  49. 49. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime Ideas are kinda like me when I wake up in the morning. They’re not really themselves at first. Ideas are living things that are born. They grow. And reproduce. They adapt and respond — depending on the people that rub up against them. Ideas are born into a cold, hard world with very limited chances of survival. If we want our ideas to survive — thrive even — then there are some very specific steps we must take to help them on their way. First of all, we have to make sure it’s really an idea. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: An idea accomplishes. It serves a purpose. It has a reason for being. It is a thing unto itself. It requires little introduction. Just a mention, really. An idea is inspirational. It’s value is self-evident to the people it serves. An idea is always the answer to a problem. In order to realize an idea’s fullest potential, you must first boil an idea down to its core. Define the idea in relationship to the problem it solves. When you have done this, you should be able to describe this idea in just a few words. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 49 •49• numantra.com numantra.com
  50. 50. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime OUR IDEA MIGHT BE THE GREAT ONE, BUT WE’LL NEVER KNOW IF WE DON’T BELIEVE IN IT FIRST. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 50 •50• numantra.com numantra.com
  51. 51. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime Unfortunately, most of us mistake tactics for an idea, primarily because we don’t have a fundamental understanding of ideas to begin with. If we want our idea to succeed, we have to make sure it’s really an idea. And then make sure it’s really an idea we believe in. Oftentimes, we’re much too casual about our idea. When the idea is challenged, we avoid the opportunity to take our idea to the next level and instead dismiss it with a shrug. “Meh, it’s just an idea.” It is our responsibility to examine our ideas closely and quickly. We work in a world where ideas can happen in rapid- fire succession, so if we want to keep up, we have to be fast. And we can’t afford to blow it off because there are just not enough really good ideas out there. Our idea might be the great one, but we’ll never know if we don’t believe in it first. If we want to be successful at defending or promoting our idea, we need to have an intimate understanding of its essence. Examine it. Strip it down to its bare essentials. What problem is it solving? What purpose does it serve? What parts of the idea are necessary? Unnecessary? What makes it good? What makes it dangerous? Helpful? What do we call it? Can its very name explain everything about it? Know every aspect of the idea inside and out. And then share it. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 51 •51• numantra.com numantra.com
  52. 52. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime WE NEED TO LET AN IDEA TAKE ON A LIFE OF ITS OWN SEPARATE FROM ITS ORIGIN. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 52 •52• numantra.com numantra.com
  53. 53. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime We cannot afford to be cavalier about sharing ideas. Knowing who to share our ideas with and when to share our ideas can drastically change the fate of an idea. We should pay close attention to the people that we include in the process of developing our ideas and recognize those who aid us in the process versus those who hinder us. That’s not to say that we can keep ideas bottled up. Eventually we have to release them and make them available to even the harshest critics. But that’s probably not a great way to start. We need to give our ideas the chance to grow and become bigger than their beginnings. This is almost impossible to accomplish on our own. We have to involve others. We need a variety of perspectives and opinions. We need to let an idea take on a life of its own separate from its origin. When we include people that we trust—that we know have the appropriate respect for the process of developing ideas—then we give our idea it’s best chance to become great. Through this refinement process, it’s important for us to keep learning more about our idea. Eventually, as we shape and develop our idea, we will need to present it to others who will be responsible for buying it or publishing it, or producing it. We can gain acceptance of our idea when we are effective at explaining it in terms specific to our audience. And it’s very numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 53 •53• numantra.com numantra.com
  54. 54. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime NOT ALL IDEAS GET TO LIVE. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 54 •54• numantra.com numantra.com
  55. 55. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime possible that multiple audiences will be involved. We need to have a complete understanding of the idea in order to accomplish this task. Finally, we need to be as objective about our idea as possible. The worst thing that can happen is that we move forward with a half-baked idea and in the process of trying to sell it to a client, it becomes an abortion. It was never good enough to be accepted for what it was so those involved made it into something it never should have been. It is incumbent upon us to help make sure this never happens. If we are dealing with a bad idea, an idea that’s going nowhere, an idea that hasn’t responded to our best attempts to give it life, then we need to let go. Leave it. Abandon it. Get over those feelings of failure or attachment or whatever. And just let it die an honorable death. It’s a harsh reality. Not all ideas get to live. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 55 •55• numantra.com numantra.com
  56. 56. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 56 •56• numantra.com numantra.com
  57. 57. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 06 HOW TO SELL AN IDEA numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 57 •57• numantra.com numantra.com
  58. 58. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime THEY DECIDED TO BECOME A MEMBER OF OUR IDEA CLUB. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 58 •58• numantra.com numantra.com
  59. 59. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime For some people, just the notion of selling ideas is a repulsive thought. “Sell out!” they cry. Perhaps our artistic integrity is a discussion we should reserve for another time. Rather, when we talk about selling ideas, forget about the financial transaction. That’s not what’s really at stake here. Instead, consider selling ideas to be an emotional transaction. What we’re looking for when we sell our ideas is some form of “buy in.” Basically, it’s a matter of agreement. We tell the party we want to influence that what we have here is a great idea. And they say that they agree. Poof! We have “buy in.” They have bought in to our line of thinking. They didn’t spend any money. They just committed themselves to joining our school of thought. They decided to become a member of our idea club. Earning their buy in is the crucial step we need to getting our idea to progress to its next level. Without buy in, our idea would stop right there. With buy in, we are able to move it forward. Sounds easy, huh? The real challenge here is that most people take to the notion of being sold to about as well as artists take to the notion of selling ideas. Nobody really wants to be sold to. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 59 •59• numantra.com numantra.com
  60. 60. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime NOW THEY’RE NOT JUST MEMBERS OF OUR IDEA CLUB, THEY’RE THE PRESIDENT. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 60 •60• numantra.com numantra.com
  61. 61. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime How badly do you want to spend your time visiting used car lots or discussing life insurance? Right. If we want to sell our idea, we can’t let on that we’re selling. Rather, we have to involve the people we want to influence by allowing them to arrive at the same conclusion that we have come to. We need to bring them along in their thought process from the problem that our idea solves to the solution that our idea represents. We should remember that they are the uninitiated and that we need to keep our explanations simple. We need to boil our idea down to its core so that it’s easy to grasp. And easy to appreciate. We need to invite them to join our school of thought. One of the best approaches to gaining buy in to an idea is to help the party we want to influence to arrive at the conclusion that our idea is really their idea. Talk about commitment. Talk about emotional transaction. Now they’re not just members of our idea club, they’re the president. To accomplish this amazing trick, we have to be willing to let go of ownership of the idea for the sake of the idea. Then we have to lead our quarry down a path that has only one conclusion. And finally we have to withhold the conclusion and wait for them to have the great ah-hah. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 61 •61• numantra.com numantra.com
  62. 62. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE HESITANT TO BUY IN TO AN IDEA BECAUSE THEY DON’T TRUST THEIR OWN OPINION numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 62 •62• numantra.com numantra.com
  63. 63. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime Being willing to let go of an idea is probably the single most important step we can take when we are working to get others to buy in to our idea. People can see a firm stance on an issue coming from a mile away. And when they sense that we are unwilling to compromise, we lose their trust. It is almost impossible to negotiate with others when there is no spirit of give and take. Negotiating with clients over ideas is something Keith Reinhard, chairman of DDB Worldwide, is passionate about. “I believe the two easiest things an agency can do when an idea comes under attack are (1) roll over or (2) dig in. In most cases, neither of these is the right thing to do. In the art of negotiation, achieving the desired outcome is the only goal. Amateurs and beginners worry about talking tough and scoring debating points. Does anyone really think the way to sell something is to imply that the reticent buyer is a fool?” Sometimes people are hesitant to buy in to an idea because they don’t trust their own opinion and they are reluctant to commit themselves to the idea club based solely on our suggestion. In these cases, it’s always effective when we have other people that have contributed to the idea or have joined this idea club to participate in the discussion with the person we are trying to influence. Our collective passion for our idea can be a powerful numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 63 •63• numantra.com numantra.com
  64. 64. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime PEOPLE TEND TO GET ON BOARD WITH AN IDEA WHEN THEY FEEL LIKE THEY’VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH IT FROM THE BEGINNING. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 64 •64• numantra.com numantra.com
  65. 65. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime influence over others. It is crucial to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page before we attempt to move somebody in this way. But our combined enthusiasm for our idea can help support the fact that there are plenty of other reasonably intelligent people that also believe in the idea. It’s so important that we prepare ourselves for selling our idea. We have to understand our idea in the most significant way. As we bring someone else around to our way of thinking, it is very likely that there will be a lot of questions and concerns. Anticipating these issues and knowing in advance how to respond to them can mean the difference between acceptance or rejection of our idea. We need to be able to understand our idea well enough to teach other people how to appreciate it. People tend to get on board with an idea when they feel like they’ve been involved with it from the beginning. It’s unusual that everyone necessary to produce an idea can actually be included in the genesis of that idea. But when we share the history and origins of our idea with those we want to influence, it helps them to not only understand our idea better. It helps them become endeared to it. People do become endeared to ideas. And they become passionate about them. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 65 •65• numantra.com numantra.com
  66. 66. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime THE FUNNY THING IS HOW IDEAS END UP WITH NICKNAMES. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 66 •66• numantra.com numantra.com
  67. 67. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime I’ve always been amazed how an idea can light a fire with someone and the next thing you know, they are walking the halls where they work, sharing the idea with everyone that will listen. After awhile, everyone in the office is talking about it. And the funny thing is how ideas end up with nicknames. For example, if an idea included a gnome as a part of its execution, that idea might begin being referred to as the Gnome Concept. It’s a sort of verbal shorthand for expressing the idea and referring to it with others. We can help jumpstart this process by naming our ideas before we present them. It gives the idea a handle, something for people to grab hold of. Something for people to take with them. After all, we need people to take our ideas with them. We need them to buy in. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 67 •67• numantra.com numantra.com
  68. 68. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 68 •68• numantra.com numantra.com
  69. 69. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 07 NOW MAKE IT A GREAT IDEA numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 69 •69• numantra.com numantra.com
  70. 70. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND GREAT IS A HARSH MILE. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 70 •70• numantra.com numantra.com
  71. 71. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime In 2003, Communication Arts received 1,948 entries into their 9th annual Interactive competition. They say that it was a particularly low number compared to the number of entries they’ve received in past years. Of those 1,948 entries, only 39 projects were chosen for inclusion in their Interactive Annual. This is fairly typical. It’s the division between good and great. What’s important to remember here is that all of the 1,909 entries that didn’t win had people behind them that were proud enough of the work to enter it into the competition. We’re not talking about bad work. 1,909 good ideas. 39 great ones. But when you’re in the business of selling great ideas, it’s 1,909 losers and 39 winners. The difference between good and great is a harsh mile. Because less than good is unacceptable — not even a consideration, good equals mediocre, run-of-the-mill, ordinary. Great equals special, exemplary, innovative, unusual. In his July 16, 2003 Any Wednesday, Keith Reinhard wrote that “good is the enemy of great.” He reminds us that impatience with the merely good is an idea initiated by Bill Bernbach who said, ‘I don’t want people who do the right things. I want people who do inspiring things.’” Making our ideas move from good to great is particularly challenging. Mainly because we have to be very hard on our numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 71 •71• numantra.com numantra.com
  72. 72. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime MAYBE THE BIGGEST MISTAKE WE MAKE AT THIS POINT COMES OUT OF A FEAR OF RUINING OUR IDEA. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 72 •72• numantra.com numantra.com
  73. 73. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime ideas to get them there. Which can, if we’re not careful, fly right in the face of nurturing our ideas. But at some point our ideas move beyond their infancy and have to be pushed along in order to reach their full potential. We can’t become complacent once we’ve established our idea. We can’t become satisfied with our having achieved “buy in”. We must now begin the arduous task of refining our idea for its final implementation. Maybe the biggest mistake we make at this point comes out of a fear of ruining our idea. We begin to protect it and shelter it. And this natural tendency causes us to become very conservative at a time when we need to be even more bold. Again, Bill Bernbach reminds us, “Playing it safe can be the most dangerous thing in the world, because you’re presenting people with an idea that they’ve seen before, and you won’t have impact.” Perhaps the best lesson I received that addresses this issue was through a story I read years ago in ADWEEK. It was an interview with some of the creatives that work at Goodby Silverstein. They claimed that the reason their work was so effective was because every time they presented their ideas to their creative director, he would say, “That’s funny. How can it be funnier?” There was no acceptance of good, just the search for great. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 73 •73• numantra.com numantra.com
  74. 74. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime OFTENTIMES, WE CAN TAKE AN IDEA TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL WHEN WE MAGNIFY IT TO ITS ULTIMATE STATE OF EXPRESSION. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 74 •74• numantra.com numantra.com
  75. 75. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime “How can it be funnier” rings in my ears whenever I review ideas. It’s not just about humor, either. If the idea is dramatic, how can it be more dramatic? If it’s tender, how can it be more tender? Intellectual? Make it more so. How can our idea be more of what it is? With our understanding of its essence, it’s crucial for us to magnify it to its ultimate state of expression. I remember presenting some ideas early in my career to my creative director. They were solid analogies of the product benefit that we were advertising. I had identified some specific attributes and had written a campaign concept that was based on those attributes. It followed the direction given. It was strategically sound. It was accurate and truthful. And it was, as my creative director pointed out to me, boring as shit. All of those other things are important, but they don’t help your idea if your idea goes completely unnoticed. Oftentimes, we can take an idea to a whole new level when we magnify it to its ultimate state of expression. And this might mean that stakeholders in the idea who had bought in to the original direction may need to be approached again for further buy in. This can be risky to the point that many people will avoid going back to the stakeholders for further dialogue. Instead, they hold firmly to the original direction that has been already accepted. Great ideas die like this all the time. But we will numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 75 •75• numantra.com numantra.com
  76. 76. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime EXECUTING IDEAS IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 76 •76• numantra.com numantra.com
  77. 77. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime commit ourselves to persevere when faced with adversity. Because good is our enemy. Ordinary and expected won’t cut it. It’s a big job, executing ideas. Making them great. We shouldn’t try it alone. There are always people who are inspired by ideas and ready to throw themselves into the storm because they know they will achieve greatness only when they accept risk. Artists, directors, writers, musicians, photographers, programmers, animators, designers, and illustrators all have something to add to the equation when we move an idea from good to great. But we have to make time for their involvement if we expect them to be able to help us. Executing ideas is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to pace our selves. Be prepared for set backs and back-tracking. Be ready to spend time. Be committed to the process. We have to be willing to make sacrifices. Greatness has never been won easily. It’s naïve to expect it otherwise. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 77 •77• numantra.com numantra.com
  78. 78. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 78 •78• numantra.com numantra.com
  79. 79. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime 08 THE QUALITY OF OUR IDEAS numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 79 •79• numantra.com numantra.com
  80. 80. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime WHEN WE STRIVE TO MAKE OUR IDEA GREAT, WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON ITS INHERENT QUALITIES. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 80 •80• numantra.com numantra.com
  81. 81. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime People recognize quality. We all have a tendency to size things up. “This elevator is too small. Your haircut makes you look like a girl. This site bites. That movie kicks ass.” In the movie, “Ghost World,” two jaded teenage girls, Rebecca and Enid, arrive at their high school’s graduation party and assess the situation: REBECCA (watching the band) This is so bad, it's almost good. ENID This is so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again... We subconsciously pass judgment on everything we come into contact with, even when it results in indifference. And when these judgments are shared, they help define the parameters of good. They establish the difference between high quality and low quality based on spoken and unspoken agreements between people in a group. Perception is reality. When people come into contact with our idea, they will perceive its qualities. When we strive to make our idea great, we have to focus on its inherent qualities. How will it be perceived by the senses. How it will look, sound, taste, smell and feel are crucial numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 81 •81• numantra.com numantra.com
  82. 82. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime WE NEED TO FORCE OURSELVES TO CHALLENGE OUR IDEA BASED ON WHAT ITS VISUAL REPRESENTATION WILL BE. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 82 •82• numantra.com numantra.com
  83. 83. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime to its ability to achieve greatness. In the case of electronic communication, taste and smell are essentially mute, which puts even more pressure on our need to impact the other senses. First, lets consider how we approach the visual expression of our idea. There are a number of tools in our toolkit for crafting the visual aspects of an idea. Photography, illustration, graphic design, animation, and cinematography comprise the main categories of visual tools at our disposal. If we never become great at employing all of these tools, we should at least become great at considering their aspects every time we are tasked with crafting our ideas. We need to force ourselves to challenge our idea based on what its visual representation will be. Should we use photography or is it better if it’s illustrated? Is it graphical and static or is it dimensional and animated? Most importantly, once we’ve decided that we should use photography, for instance, we have to challenge ourselves to make the quality of that photography the absolute best it can be. It should be mentioned that the absolute best quality doesn’t necessarily mean the most polished. What might be required for a particular idea to be expressed in the best way possible is a photographic execution that appears to be very pedestrian. Or numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 83 •83• numantra.com numantra.com
  84. 84. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime THE ARTISTRY INVOLVED IN THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA IS CRUCIAL. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 84 •84• numantra.com numantra.com
  85. 85. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime haphazard. Or accidental. Or awful. Even in these cases, pulling off the desired effect will take an artist’s touch. The quality of the execution hinges on the deftness of that touch. The artistry involved in the execution of an idea is crucial. And applies equally to its every aspect. As we consider the audible expression of our idea, we should examine the need for music, spoken word, and sound effects. If we decide to communicate our copy through spoken word, is it through a voice-over narration or on-camera? What is the quality of the voice? What personality does it have? What does its quality say about our idea? Our ability to impact the way people feel through our idea depends on the combined qualities of the visual and audible aspects of the idea. What we say and how we say it is everything. Bill Bernbach observed that, “you can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don’t feel it, nothing will happen.” The greatest minefield to consider when it comes to the quality of an idea is the tendency we have to mimic other executions that we admire. It’s good for us to be inspired by the great ideas of others. But when we try to achieve results by applying the numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 85 •85• numantra.com numantra.com
  86. 86. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime A GREAT IDEA IS ONLY MADE GREAT THROUGH ITS EXECUTION. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 86 •86• numantra.com numantra.com
  87. 87. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime solution for another idea to the one we are developing, we risk compromising the essence of the idea for the allure of a compelling execution. When we allow our execution to be a direct outgrowth of our idea, we are on the path to originality. And the path to producing a great idea. A great idea is only made great through its execution. As brilliant as an idea may be, it will never be regarded as such unless it is expressed in a way that is consistent with its essence. Similarly, a bad idea can only be improved to a certain degree by a brilliant execution. Because once people see it for what it is — its essence — they realize it lacks substance and summarily discount the execution. A great execution has to have a great idea at its core. numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 87 •87• numantra.com numantra.com
  88. 88. THE EXECUTION OF AN IDEA by Mike Heronime numantra nu ideas served fresh dailydaily ra nu ideas served fresh 88 •88• numantra.com numantra.com

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