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I think the link between strategy and execution is so interesting. What I’ve found particularly interesting over the past week, and much longer if I really think about it, is that it’s difficult to find examples of stellar execution of a weak or uninspiring strategy.

Why? Well – and this is strictly my opinion – my gut tells me that great strategy is just that much sexier than great execution. Agree?

To continue using the architect and builder concept from Part I, let’s consider this: Imagine that your architect comes up with a cube – no, no… nothing fancy, JUST. A. CUBE. Well, honey, you can get the most amazing, safest, quickest, most efficient builder in the world and what do you get. STILL. JUST. A. CUBE.

So, I got to thinking – how do you demonstrate this? And, I got to solving… how ‘bout a little T-dot (aka Toronto) controversy?

Recognize the building in the pic up there? If for no other reason, I would hope most of you Torontonians (or GTA-residents) would recognize it from newspapers: It’s the Michael Lee Chin ROM Crystal (Royal Ontario Museum). The design is from a Polish-born, US architect: Daniel Libeskind. According to Libeskind himself:

“Why should one expect the new addition to the ROM to be ‘business as usual’? Architecture in our time is no longer an introvert’s business. On the contrary, the creation of communicative, stunning and unexpected architecture signals a bold re-awakening of the civic life of the museum and the city.”

– Daniel Libeskind

An absolutely robust structure gracing one of Toronto’s most revered neighbourhoods (edge of Yorkville), the new face of one of Toronto’s (heck, one of the world’s) most prestigious museums. So, what do you think?

Well, according to VirtualTourist.com, the ROM Crystal is the 8th Ugliest Building in the World. I’ve also heard lots of fodder from my fellow GTA-ers that the ROM is a real eye-sore, clashing so badly with the previous heritage building that was the face of the ROM. I think it’s fair to say, based on these reviews, that this is a pretty solid demonstration of how great execution will not save a poor strategy. (And, sadly – even if you thought this was a great piece of architecture, a great vision, a great strategy, the groundswell of negativity – the perception – is enough to make the strategy look like it failed. And, we all know: perception is reality. Just a note, though – the building itself is a pretty impressive feat of mechanical structure!

I propose, therefore, that like architecture, marketing is both an art and a science – requiring both to succeed: Will great execution in the art of marketing save poor strategy? Can an awesome strategy stand proud through poor execution?

To all my marketing peeps, this is one of those clichés that is irrefutable: “Great Strategy + Great Execution” is the ONLY way to have GREAT MARKETING.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!