Requiem for deadlines
The deadline is dead, and that is not necessarily bad news
Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Nemanja Raković, BTL Director, CommunisDDB
You were given a task that you have to realize by tomorrow? A two-week job has to be done in just two days? A brief came at 16.30hrs and the first draft is expected at 21.00hrs?
Welcome to the post-deadline world, where the concepts of working day and working hours make no sense at all. Everything has picked up pace, and communication more than anything. Not so long ago, it took weeks for a single address to the consumer. Today, you are expected to interact with them constantly – technology has enabled 24/7 communication over digital channels.
But how does real-time marketing work in real life? Can other channels (BTL, for example) be involved in this instant communication paradigm? We in CommunisDDB believe they can, and it certainly took us time to learn the following things:
1 – You don’t know everything the best – learn fast and grow a network of partners you trust
As in many other things, we learned along the way – and we learned from the clients. One of the major projects, the Idea London Festival, implied closing the main Belgrade street, coordinating dozens of contractors and suppliers, producing countless materials, and ultimately, taking care of 60,000 visitors. It was implemented in 4 days. Mercator-S is pushing forward in its extremely fast and exciting industry, partly because they make the seemingly impossible, possible. This requires a network of partners – a network that has survived the death of deadlines, and in whom you are confident enough to believe that they will produce, brand, build, cook, print… whatever, and that they will do it “yesterday”, and they will do it in a quality way.
2 – “Textbook” management is no longer possible – plan and implement simultaneously
The project life cycle is increasingly shorter, and the time between planning and execution is almost non-existent. Two years ago, when we created a big New Year’s activation for Telenor at the Square of the Republic, we set ourselves a two-week deadline to plan the project, coordinate suppliers from three countries, and implement the project. A devoted client who understands the post-deadline world was a big plus here.
But long-term projects also fall into the crisis of deadlines sometime. For massive P & G sampling activations, when we contact hundreds of thousands of people, good planning is everything. But if suddenly the deadline gets shortened for a month, or an additional stock of samples appears, where do you find 50,000 new women between the ages of 18 and 40? Well, in public spaces. But public spaces require permits, and permits breach deadlines. I recommend that you include municipalities, secretariats, and public administration in your network of partners, because you will save the precious time and nerves.
3 – Plan B will most certainly become Plan A – always have backup options
From one such collaboration of a brand and the public sector, the most important experiential marketing installation was born – the Knjaz Miloš bottle around the geyser on Ada Ciganlija. Months of planning, design and production boiled down to two days in which to do a complicated installation and event organization. And if rain threatens to ruin six-months of your work, then you realize that your planning, which you’re already doing in parallel with execution, must include the worst-case scenario. The probability that you will play according to that plan is inversely proportional to the time for realization of the original scenario.
4 – There’s no new deadline – manage stress instead of managing time
This is something we get to see every year at Exit. Before an event like this – the most significant European festival – you’re always one day short. From such stressful situations, however, the best things are often born. Three years ago, at their first appearance, Heineken came to be remembered. Of the many different branding positions and activations, one was so original and well-received that it was repeated twice more. The Heineken Tunnel, a challenging project in protected space – a cultural monument – became the most shared content on social networks, and a landmark of the fortress and festival, so much so that it entered the talk of the visitors (“let’s meet at the Heineken tunnel”). And it was created a day before Exit 2016, when all but the two greatest enthusiasts in CommunisDDB and Heineken gave up on it.
So, the deadline is dead, and that is not necessarily bad news. Instead of days and hours by when something must be done, at our agency we set a couple of criteria based on which we will know that something is finished. The first two are always “to be good” and “to be different”.