Bogged down in execution

The past nine months have been an exercise in constraint.

Adding the role of The F. William Harder Chair Professor of Business Administration at Skidmore College to my life’s work has taken some adjustment. All positive. This work will be the subject of its own blog post because it deserves the airtime.

At Brandforming, I’ve been aggressively moving the nature and scope of our engagements to be primarily defined by strategy and idea development. We’ve dialed down tactical execution with certain exceptions. We are in essence a creative consultancy with a focus in brand idea development and film production.

We’ve enjoyed some very nice engagements. The work has resulted in perspective-shifting, business-altering ideas for our clients. This is enormously satisfying as we’ve significantly and positively impacted the business of our clients, while also changing the nature of our engagements.

On average, 75% of clients are returning to us with additional work.

Clients are returning because they do not feel the idea is being fully realized.  As we re-engage it becomes clear that the client has gotten bogged down in execution. Bogged down, often with their own internal constraints, or the client-agency relationship is a drag on the work. In two instances the client’s AOR did not fully deliver on the potential of the idea despite agreement on the strategy.  We were able to help maintain a strong strategic platform while supporting the AOR in their vision for the execution. Win-win.

We are always delighted when the phone rings again with clients seeking our council because they trust the work we’ve done together. On the other hand, we would be equally happy to see the ideas take flight without the need for us to re-engage. Our shift in scope forgives us most of the burden of execution. Still, we are upset by the sounds of frustration on the other end of the phone. And because we know that being an AOR is often a compromised existence, we do everything we can to assure the best outcome for everyone involved.

Execution is no little thing and it is often the first thing that becomes compromised. Clients need to invest in execution and the most important part of this investment is in a partner that can make things happen without a lot of wasted effort.

Big ideas don’t need to cost a fortune to execute, but they must be smartly rendered.