I believe great ideas are all about execution and I’ve spent spent much of my career helping brands to do just that.
They've come in many shapes and sizes, from humble start-ups to loved icons, each and everyone of them focussed on their customers, delivering new products and creating brands that will endure. Experience has taught me, without exception, that the key to their success is execution; having a well supported idea and then implementing it.
This was brought home to me recently while talking to a VC with a passion for brands and the value of design. The key question she posed; was how to help SME’s to viably innovate and execute ideas on a constrained budget. Too many times she had experienced protracted and expensive agency processes that didn’t deliver. With ever growing restraints on budgets, I’m sure the same question is being asked by well established brands too.
How can we, as agencies and experts, help make the process of design and innovation easier, more agile and deliver the valuable expertise we have to offer more effectively.
Large agencies, like lots of brands, struggle to be agile. Complex processes and layers of management make them cost heavy. Also clients want to see tangible answers quickly, something which is difficult when you have a regimented set of ‘gates’, ‘processes’ or ‘teams’ which a project has to navigate its way through before getting to a tangible output.
How do you dispense with these cumbersome processes and deliver your best work?
A whole raft of smaller agencies have emerged, doing great work and able to respond to their clients needs quickly and more cost effectively. The people doing the work are in constant dialogue with the key decision makers, rather than a legion of ‘organisers’ and so both parties intuitively contribute to the evolving process and build a strong relationship for success. Don’t get me wrong the most successful projects are the ones that are well organised, but in my experience best executed when in small teams. Which by virtue of their scale, smaller organisations are able to do better, operating as integrated teams with their clients, rather than silos.
Take this one step further; collaboration between small agencies and independents are on the rise. More and more clients are embracing the possibility of working with groups of experts who come together to provide a specific solution to a specific problem and take it through to a finally delivered product. Agencies can often fail to deliver a complete end to end solution as their expertise is strong in some areas but not others, which can make getting from start to finish a protracted and expensive process.
All brands need to execute to be successful. I believe those organisations that can deliver creative solutions at pace, do it efficiently and know how to execute the end product, have the opportunity to provide a more agile and competitive service in these commercially challenging times.