Decoding the client brief to satisfy your client

As ambiguous as it may seem, decoding a client brief can be quite simple if you can master the art & science of it. A brief must begin with identifying the problem at hand and allow you to understand where your expertise can play an important role.

The basis of any successful campaign is research, hence you must invest adequate time and effort in diving deep into understanding the client’s objectives, the RoI you will give him/her, who their audiences are that you need to market to, brands that you should benchmark your client against and the overall budgets that would be allocated. While social media provides you with a real-time picture the imagery a brand is trying to create, their website, campaigns, media material and brochures deserve a read too. A good study sets the foundation for impactful marketing campaigns.

If your client isn’t following your briefing document requirements completely, make the most of it with a magnifying glass and look out for glaring keywords, or a suggested direction the client intends on taking. Probe the client to better measure their flexibility or reservations and while you underline the mistakes made in the past, make it a point to note what worked for the brand and its audiences too. Here are a few client categories and routes to decode your brief better-

  • The Budget Buster

Giving you a conservative budget to work with or not mentioning one at all can both be equally scary. It reminds me of times I would go shopping with mom and never knew how much exactly she was willing to splurge. Doom!


Decoded– A budget should always be measured against duration and expected expense of the marketing campaign. A client always knows what his organisations spending capacity is so get an approximate range if not an exact figure and if the budget isn’t mentioned, probe for more information on other marketing initiatives. Budgets are a major indicator of how far you’re allowed to tread and it allows you to pick your plan of action more strategically.

  • The ‘Kim Kardashian’

We all have a client who wants to ‘break the internet’ with a campaign! And now that Kim K is doing it, well, it’s THE thing to do!


Decoded– Even though Kim K makes it look easy breezy, breaking the internet is TOUGH! It’s all about timing and drawing a large audience at a particular time to a particular topic or site by capitalizing on something absolutely fresh. Design a campaign that is the perfect amalgamation of insightful, innovative and probably even topical to increase your chances. Media spends and influencers are great amplification strategies. Throw in a PR plan to amp it a few notches higher.

  • The Trend-o-maniac

You have to make us TREND, trend, trend, trend, trend, trend, trend, trend, trend, trend, and trend!

We WANT to TREND! And the brief ends.


Decoded– Carefully planned and designed, a trend can be created from a targeted contest or a share-worthy topical content plan, putting the Trend-o-maniacs demands at bay. While large gratifications, influencer marketing are tools to help increase your chances of a trend, especially if it is a brand-lead hashtag, beware of such demands as you can never really commit to an organic trend.

The next time you open up a client brief, get out those scalpels and dissect it section by section to arrive at a truly mind-blowing campaign. If you’d like to add on more tips, I’m all ears!