Business Advice

Feeling the fear


How much could be at stake? Everything? Nothing? And is it worth doing anyway? Am I mad?

OK, so this is something that I’ve never done before – admitting that I’m terrified. In public.

There’s a campaign coming up (which, for reasons of competitive advantage, I can’t go into detail on) for which I’ve got a couple of months to plan. That’s not the problem. Detailed planning, in my line of work, is normally done on the hoof unfortunately due to other demands (no-one outside of my team is able to understand the phrase: “I’m sorry, I’m choked with work. Can it wait a few hours?”). So a couple of months is more than comfortable.

The execution isn’t going to be too much of an issue either. We’ve already worked up the concepts, so we know what we’re doing. The media planning shouldn’t be a problem – some strategically placed outdoor, a bit of social seeding, some high-rotation radio and a smattering of print. Tried and tested channels, in other words. Not an issue.

Even the amount of professional reputation I’m prepared to stake (everything) on this campaign isn’t the terrifying part. If I wasn’t prepared to stake everything I’ve worked for on this campaign, I wouldn’t be doing it. If I didn’t believe in it that much, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

The scary part – the part I don’t even want to think about – is the opportunity for failure which is completely out of my hands. Without giving the game away, the launch to this campaign is going to be a piece of experiential marketing, the like of which has never been seen in my industry before. And it’s going to be outside. In the summer. The British Summer.

There are other factors as well – but I can’t talk about those at the moment. Suffice to say that Mother Nature has the upper hand with this one, and there are no opportunities to legislate around natural PMT.

So, why do it at all if the potential for failure is that great? Why suffer more grey hair if something easier could be done?

There are two answers to this.

1)Because difficult is good and living on the edge of terror is a creative place to be.
2)Because the vision behind this campaign will only work in one way, in one set of circumstances. To get the maximum bang for experiential buck, the vision has to be carried off complete.

Some might think it’s madness to design the launch of a campaign to be so precariously balanced against the vagaries of nature. And in a way, it is. It would be far more comfortable to design something where every facet could be controlled to the most minute of details. Where you would know exactly what would happen if it rained, if it snowed or if a hurricane descended.

However, if it all goes right and to plan, then the pay-off will be immense. It’s worth the risk in other words.

And if all goes wrong… Well we tried.

And that’s the point – if you don’t try, you won’t get anywhere. Or to put it another way: If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

So this is an opportunity to do something different to get something different out. Let’s just hope Mother Nature’s kind to me… Keep tuned for updates…

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