The Really Test
Otherwise known as the Brian Giesen Rule.
When I was a newly minted digital strategist, my manager was one Brian Giesen. He had just transferred from the Ogilvy Washington DC office where he had been one of the founding members of 360 Digital Influence (yeah, remember that old thing?). I was quite lucky at the time because the team was quite small, which afforded us a lot of coaching time with him and he was a very good mentor.
One of the many things I learnt from Brian was the "Really?" test and I still use it to this day and I have passed the lesson on many times. The test is simple. For any strategy or program you create ask yourself "Really?" And you have to say it with that skeptical tone (one that Brian does really well).
When the deck is written read it through, make sure you've applied the clarity rule then ask yourself:
Do I REALLY believe that producing a funny video of cat will grow market share for pet food by 12%?
It does something very interesting psychologically, it forces you to regain your perspective and challenge potential confirmation bias. Often when we're neck deep in our own research, pitching to our own teams, drinking our own Kool-Aid we rattle off these ideas and want so hard for our work to bear fruit, we don't check ourselves.
The "Really?" test puts the breaks on that and ensures that there is sanity check.
If you cannot pass yourself on the "Really?" test, you must go back to redo. If you don't believe in your work, you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT GIVE IT TO A CLIENT. It is much better to ask for more time than to fail the Intellectual Honesty rule.