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When was the last time you took a stand for your idea in the face adversity or doubt from a boss or client?

We recently attended the Un-Conference: Brand Leadership in the Age of Disruption in West Hollywood, California. Among the presenters was Rob Siltanen, a former creative director at the agency that created Apple’s “Think Different” campaign. He told us how he and his boss, Lee Clow, were summoned by Steve Jobs to talk about the future of Apple. Apple had just brought back Steve as CEO and was facing tumultuous times. Jobs was looking for help bringing the company back from the nearly dead. As Siltanen explained, Jobs had settled on creating a series of trade ads to get Apple moving in the right direction. Rob describes how the agency adamantly challenged this perspective and suggested that it was going to take a transformative idea to turn the tide.
As history can attest, Apple’s “Think Different’ campaign is one of the most iconic advertising campaigns in history. Yet the idea was originally killed by Jobs. The agency continued to work hard to ultimately get the buy-in they needed.
Here are some of the traits of true “gutsiness” that can help you create your own glory:

  1. It’s the idea that pulls the media wagon not the other way around. Never forget it. Spend your time chasing ideas that can change human behavior not the next media fad.
  2. Even smart clients can be short-sighted and think tactically. Don’t be afraid to take a stand for an idea that can “put a dent in the universe.” Small ideas probably won’t produce big results.
  3. Sometimes it’s smart to disagree with the client. No one knows the right answer early on. It pays to challenge pushback if you believe in your heart that the idea is right. Put the work in. Listen. Go for it.
  4. Understand the power of visuals. Visuals can create the emotional impact you need to stand out.
  5. Sell the idea through the system. Every great idea needs champions to get to the finish line. Great ideas are partnerships with the client.

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