The PLAY Creative process is the framework that lets us build ideas and bring campaigns to life. It’s efficient and effective, but that’s not even the best part.

What’s great about the PLAY process is that it can be used to craft creative solutions to just about any problem, regardless of your operations.

In the second-to-last installment of our six-part series outlining each step of our creative solution-seeking roadmap, we’ll focus on the Execution step. We believe that thorough discovery, planning and brainstorming are just the beginning.

In case you missed any of the first four steps:

Part 1: Discovery
Part 2: Brainstorm
Part 3: Idea Generation
Part 4: Presentation

Measure Twice, Cut Once

In case you haven’t noticed yet, the PLAY philosophy is that about 75% of the credit on a smoothly executed project can be attributed to great planning and communication. It’s why we front-end load things like research, content outlines and building physical mockups to get ahead of as many potential hiccups as possible before we start writing final content, designing graphics, creating ads and scheduling emails.

In developing ads for a campaign we created for TOBA Foods, the execution phase was quick and clean with no surprises. While we didn’t build mockups for this particular campaign, we created sample ads for all channels—Facebook, email, video and digital ads—to give our client a clear idea of what every media would look, sound and feel like once we developed them. 

“I Only Know That I Know Nothing”

Being able to adapt to unforeseen challenges in a project is even more important than planning in some cases. In fact, we sometimes find that the more “complete” a plan is, the harder it is to accommodate fro variables like changing deadlines, vendor issues or even sick days. No matter how complete you think a plan is, you will never be able to predict every potential hiccup in a project. And there will always be hiccups.

Within two weeks of this very blog post being written, we at PLAY have dealt with significant hiccups on about a half a dozen major projects—all outside of our control—but we’ll still achieve our goals and hit our deadlines thanks to the flexibility that we built into our schedules. One video project lost three days in production because a voice actor was out of town. Another direct mail project lost a day of production because someone in our client’s chain of approval was out sick. A third project got hung up on a misunderstanding for a paper pricing estimate from a printing vendor.

Luckily each of these projects had float days built in. This let us absorb all three blows without affecting timelines or budgets.

The Final Countdown

The execution step is where ideas come to life. There’s no two ways about it—this is the sweat equity step. Time to put your head down and work.

It really is as cut and dry as getting to work and realizing the fruits of your labor after all the research, planning and iterating. At PLAY, this is when we hold our final internal critiques and start designing ads, building emails, writing radio ad scripts and more. Our clients get involved again at this point to review the work as well.

This part might not seem necessary with all the planning we do. However, we always tell our clients that no matter how much planning and explaining you do, you can’t truly evaluate a design until it exists in reality. This stage gives our clients a chance to review the work and finally decide if what we created matches their vision. If we’ve achieved that goal, we deploy the media and the campaign is underway.

And this, dear reader, is where the production cycle ends. Your work is created and deployed. The actual start of the project you dreamed up weeks, month, or years ago has actually come to fruition. Depending on the type of project you’re executing, your next step might involve monitoring and pivoting, or you might just skip straight to the celebrating (spoiler alert!)

Looking for a creative team you can trust to execute your advertising campaigns? Or more tips on executing your projects more efficiently? We’d love to talk.

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