The Naughty Step By @NJStanley94

By Nick Stanley


The Naughty Step

John got a bit of a kick up the backside on Friday. We did some work. It was a little bit rubbish. We got told that. The whole experience was rather healthy for us all, I feel.

One of our number said he felt ‘overrated’. I love that sentiment and I feel the same. The dressing down was needed and, once it had been administered, I observed myself to be entirely naked. The criticism was fair and there was no arguing with it.

The reasons for the poor showing were manifold and unique to each of us. For me and my partners (plural on this brief) the problem was the same as one I’ve started to notice in the rest of my work.

Our strategy was solid and – in parts – something we were really proud of. It was on brand, logical and creative. Bar one example, however, the executions didn’t do justice to the preceding thinking. We could not make a successful leap from strategy to execution consistently.

Up to this point, I feel the best work I have produced has been strategic; a goodish amount of logical and educated thought about brand and audience and then a creative proposition or North Star off the back of that.

Or, alternatively, an entirely unstrategic executional idea for a one-day brief plucked out of thin air.

The middle part between good strategy and better execution is missing.

To take a good piece of strategic thought from the nice planner and sprinkle our creative dust over it is the value we supposedly bring to an agency. At this moment I feel deficient in the creative dust sprinkling department.

Reflecting on this has helped me realise a couple of things.

Firstly, I enjoy the strategic part a lot and would love to work in an agency that gives its creatives scope to play with the planners. With more practice, I hope I’d be able to bring something to that part of the process.

Secondly, I need to use creative techniques a lot more frequently. I’ll admit that, in six weeks of working together, my partner and I have not sat down to scamp from a proposition once. Not once. Nor have we used any other creative technique. Or six hat thinking. Nada.

We chat, we think and we build on the ideas of the other. We are doing some of the above automatically, but not deliberately. We test our ideas for stickiness (occasionally) but it is becoming clear that our executions are suffering and this may well be the cause. It is showing in the work we produce.

The above is a lesson learned. I learned it while sitting on the naughty step of a building in Southwark, so thanks for putting me there fellas. It’ll serve me in good stead.

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