Big Ideas and Sweating the Small Stuff

Every Big Idea

Growing up professionally on the brand side in complex industries and often mature models I developed a very pragmatic point of view on strong marketing execution. One that puts customers at the center and the brand in a prominent role.

Which means sweating the small stuff.

In the last few years, with individuals and groups tasked to develop programs for social, many organizations have in fact formalized the idea of the participant-observer role.

Brand View

Take mature industries and brands, mix them with consumer technology adoption and a wide array of choices and options to get the job done, and you quickly find a big idea in creating and reinforcing a direction and purpose.

Movement, who is going where to bring customers on a journey (with flexibility/adaptability and speed in holding the course),
allows you to do several positive things that can help you grow the

  • focus more on creating and energizing
  • capitalize from collaboration with customers, partners, even competitors
  • promote your vision as a way to provide direction
  • see more context-based opportunities along the way

Customer View

A people-centric view, as I learned when running open conversations on leadership, creativity, innovation, the role of technology, and business models (during the seven years of building the social network associated with Fast Company magazine), is the secret sauce in connecting a fragmented and diverse business community.

Digital experiences that work are personal(ized) and bridge what we do in real life with what we say in social networks, including the people who are part of those circles.

The convergence between the stories we make up and tell based on how we see the world and who is there with us, and the stories we buy by supporting, underwriting (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.), and sponsoring (e.g., recommendations and reviews) is the motivation that drives behavior.

See advertising and open systems for some early thoughts on portability in this new environment.

Positioning and Movement

The big idea is about execution and lots and lots of small details that define brands via experiences.

Capturing attention and imagination goes beyond positioning to movement — as in consistently creating a reason to sign up for those experiences (and bringing your friends along).

To me sustainable growth comes down to delivering on your promises in real time and over time. It goes beyond a well functioning shopping cart (though that is a good start), and a feel good campaign filled with rewards (where you get to first base), or even a well executed idea.

While it's a big idea, delivering on your promises means sweating the small stuff. It's not sexy, granted. It's tremendously effective when it comes to having an impact (see worth of mouth referrals, earning projects and programs, developing relationships, etc.).

And indeed I have also talked about small for a long time.

Small that is Big

Maybe we need a big idea that shatters the assumption that if we choose to notice the contributions of professionals from different backgrounds it doesn't mean that the services of agencies are no longer needed. That if we include women it doesn't mean men need to take a back seat. And so on.

When women continue to be edited out — even in references — we miss the very many more different kinds of ideas that can make or break experiences.

Take half the world population and it goes beyond the surface. It's about the erosion of the very fabric of what makes us human — along with our need and desire to make sense of things, to feel loved and accepted, and our aspiration for meaning and purpose.

Then, it comes down to asking better questions and learning to trust the process that leads to producing something from your own resources.

All big ideas worth striving for… by sweating the small stuff.

UPDATE: and there are no free rides.


[hat tip Edward Boches]

[image of every big idea, ever]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and company events on a variety of topics. To book her for a
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