The problem with no, the real problem, is that it’s not yes. Turning no into yes is often a cat and mouse game with the marketing team. You might have 10 clients on a single brand with a claim to input and by the time you’re done, your big idea might not be so big any longer and your enthusiasm may certainly have waned… but your idea finally gets moved upstairs with the warm endorsement of a semi-aligned brand team. Sound familiar?
If this is a regular routine and when you look yourself in the mirror and with absolutely no self-aggrandizing bullshit you can say, without equivocation, that this is your best work and that the big idea for the brand has been pillaged to death by no, you’ve enter the club of no authority.
The club of no authority, wields the only axe they are authorized to carry; no.
Have you noticed? The decision making around big ideas by marketing teams is sadly, often a chess match of realpolitik in the face of the true authority upstairs.
They cannot give you a yes, because yes is not in the room.
When the idea finally climbs the last flight of stairs and enters the corner office, it may not get that yes because it’s been watered down and the corner office thinks and behaves differently. The corner office is not worried about the corner office. The corner office wants the big idea to be truly big and liberating. The corner office wants your expertise above all else.
This is your moment.
Do everything in your power to be in that room and have your original iteration of the idea at hand. If the idea starts to take a dive offer the alternative solution, one of your originals.
If it achieves yes, immediately give credit to the marketing team for pushing you to no end.
If it all falls flat, accept responsibility and start asking a lot of questions, get the corner office in on the dialogue. Show your humility in the face of their expertise, work to an insight, listen intently, walk out armed, tell them you’ll be back in 48 hours, ready to deliver a yes.
All client companies have their rules of engagement and most of the time you will be bound by these rules and the culture that defines them. Work towards a presentation plan with your client team, they will appreciate this effort more than you realize. After all, yes benefits everyone.