organizational chart representing stakeholder relationships

I’d like a viral video, tomorrow

WE Communications Blog: Transformative Storytelling

— Jarred Du Plessis 

“Please can do. FYI. FYA. I’d like a video that will go viral…”

We’ve all received frantic and incomprehensible briefs from clients who want a concept and quote for a campaign, and they want it today.

I was recently asked to compile a video that would inspire the whole of Africa – where people all over the continent and beyond would be compelled to share it, and love the brand for making it.

These somewhat irrational briefs can be discouraging; however, you can guide your client by asking three simple questions:

  1. What is the business objective of this campaign?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. What is your budget?

Once you have these answers, it’s easier to provide strategic counsel, and get the client to think about the bigger picture.

Below are a few learnings I’ve gained in my experience developing and implementing client campaigns.

Put the cards on the table upfront

It’s key to have all the information you need to be able to put together a suitable project concept, timeline and budget. Clearly state what is feasible given the budget, audience and objectives at hand – and provide options. Clients love having different ideas to work with. It’s also worthwhile pointing out what you need from the client in order to achieve the goal. At the end of the day, it’s a partnership, and neither of you can function without the other. Always strive for open communication and realistic deliverables.

See it from the client’s perspective

Remember that our clients have many stakeholders they need to appease. Our job is to make them look good, giving them counsel on what will and won’t work. Beginning sentences with: ‘In our experience’ is a great way to build trust with clients – as long as you can back up potential problem areas with examples, and provide at least two solutions.

Report back throughout the campaign

The biggest mistake we can make is not updating our clients once the campaign has been implemented. Sending daily/ weekly highlights will keep the peace. When a problem arises, don’t wait for it to blow out of proportion – communicate it to the client (once you’ve come up with viable solutions).

Optimisation and reporting keep campaigns ticking – they also ensure that there are no surprises at the end of the project. On completion, it’s always valuable to include a few insights in the final report regarding key learnings and recommendations for future campaigns – to showcase what we understand and will adhere to in future.

Have fun

We work in a fast-paced, dynamic industry… so ride the wave – and maintain a sense of humour throughout. Have fun, and remember, as important as our jobs are, we’re not (always) saving lives at the end of the day…

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