There is a very good maxim about creativity in advertising and that is, it’s 80% idea. But it’s also 80% execution. What this contradictory statement is telling us is, ideas and executions can’t exist without each other. An idea is only as good as the way it has been expressed. And this is where execution is fundamentally important.
The need to craft an idea so it’s expressed with clarity and power, is as important as the idea itself. Creating ideas that connect with people isn’t only to be found in the power of the idea: it’s also in the manner of its telling.
Why does one idea work better than another? Why does a seemingly obvious idea end up being more powerful than one that at first seems more profound? This, of course, is a debate that will always exist. But one thing that gets over looked in this debate is the philosophical intent of an idea. Crafting a great idea is not just about selecting the right type face or layout or engaging the most expensive director.
It’s about understanding the philosophical forces that drive a concept. We more often refer to it as, the ‘Tone of Voice’ but, it goes deeper than that. When a great writer, painter or director talks about their work, they more often than not, talk about the philosophical forces that drive their thinking. It is that, which empowers their creative decision making process. And so it is for managers in advertising.
When an ad man comes to craft an idea, the means by which he does so not only captures the viewer’s attention, but also enhances the idea itself. A piece of communication needs to have its idea running throughout; it’s not just the clever way the headline is written, but in the design of the typography and its imagery, too.
Everything about the execution needs to have a reason. That is the function of crafting. To understand what drives the idea. But what makes one piece of work greater than another? Why do some ideas stand the test of time while others date and soon look clumsy?
The truth of that is locked into the power of the concept itself, like it must be fresh, profound and simple or appropriate. But an idea does not exist in a vacuum. It has to be expressed. It has to exist somewhere so we can enjoy it and share it. And this is where craft and execution elevate the status of the idea. And turn good into great.
Time of course is creativity’s greatest critic and sometimes it’s instructive to look back, to try and understand what separates great from just good. But as our work increasingly lives in a multitude of evolving media platforms it’s essential we also look ahead. We must appreciate how ideas move from one medium to another and yet stay consistent, all the while understanding how to create a genuine bond between the execution and the consumer.
What marks a campaign as great is when it is crafted with a complete understanding of its purpose and what it is about its idea that will make it stand out. Each element needs to compliment the next, creating an experience that stands the test of time.
There is a seamlessness between creation and execution. Apart from an ad’s commercial success and therefore effectiveness, greatness is found in its existence as a body of work that employed the aforementioned principles and that elevates good to outstanding.
To really do this, we have to understand the philosophical forces that drive our ideas and their execution.
the Power of Ideas
Ideas are everywhere, they are omnipresent but it takes practice to develop an idea. Anybody can get a good idea but whether it’s a big idea is not known. A good idea is like a diamond, which has to be polished continuously, to give it the right shine and to make it shine from every angle. When the idea goes out there, it should look its best, just like the diamond looks its best in the showroom and to make an idea the best is a challenge.
When someone is suggesting an idea, hear it patiently and attentively — never confuse him or the idea he has may be lost. Hear the idea as it is, nurture it and something that appeared like a good idea in the beginning with the right amount of polishing could become a big idea.
Respect every idea, shape the idea, implement it and choose a way of expressing it in a way that shows it in the best light. It is very important to encourage people, because only when a person is unafraid to think of ideas he can dream big. If there is lack of encouragement, then young people may fear voicing their ideas and the fear of unknown may result in many ideas not seeing the light of day.
The world is full of ideas, they are everywhere. An idea which has taken this form today; mobile phones, iPods, the internet are all big ideas. They probably started as a germ of an idea in somebody’s head, someone pursued it, improved upon it and now it is in front of us in its best form. If it wasn’t for ideas then life would have been the same over the centuries. We would still have been living like the people back in the 14th century.
At least right now we have no fear of expressing our ideas, but people in the past would get killed or butchered for their ideas. There is no such fear now. Good ideas are everywhere, they just need to be spotted and polished to make it a great idea.