Point of view: Brief encounters

Molly Flatt

What is the single common thing that drives every social media strategy? A belief in the power of word of mouth? People? Measurable objectives? Facebook?

Nope. It's the brief. Whether created by a planner or a marketer, whether served to an agency or an internal team, the brief is the genesis of any social media activity, whether that's a short-term campaign or ongoing community management. And if you're not achieving your anticipated results, the culprit – underneath all the cultural resistance, resource issues and problematic metrics – is probably that original brief.

There's a great meme currently doing the rounds on Twitter, called 'client brief vs. client budget'. It consists of two images. The first, labelled 'client brief,' shows a still from the movie The Life Of Pi, with Pi standing defiantly on the prow of his boat while the CGI tiger Richard Parker roars in the foreground. The second, labelled 'client budget', shows a scruffy Indian boy in a makeshift costume posing behind a grumpy ginger cat. It has provoked glee – and homemade spin-offs – from thousands of creatives around the world. It has also, no doubt, secretly enraged thousands of planners too.