One of South Africa’s Twitter elite, portfolio careerist Sarah Britten has attracted more than 10 000 followers at last count, with her 140-character opinions on everything: The awfulness of Come Dine with Me, cars she likes to drive, her doomed marriage, the joy of creating strategies for clients, and her dreams. It’s this range of observations that attracts fans and haters alike, and has turned her into an ‘influencer’.
A former ad agency strategist, her dislike for hierarchy and process made her realise she was unemployable.
“I wanted to get my ideas out into the world and it was never going to happen there. I was miserable and eventually the reliable income wasn’t worth it.
“I had signed up on Twitter for a job interview in 2009 and became fascinated. I built up relationships and a profile and it grew from there. When I quit my job, I had more time for it.”
In a noisy online world, she brings an academic rigour to bear on social media as a result of her PhD in Applied English Language Studies, specialising in the study of national identity.
It enables her to shine a different light on campaigns like Koo’s quirky Heritage Month celebration, which took a light-hearted approach to educating South Africans about each other’s cultures.
Today, her main source of income is strategy, and she has experience across major brands like Standard Bank, Kulula, Wimpy, Hollard, MTN, Land Rover and SAB.
She also does community management, copy writing, and freelance journalism. If that weren’t enough, she is also an artist of some renown.
“I’m the only artist in the world who paints with lipstick in the way I do, as far as I know, and I combine art with strategy which is quite unusual.” What motivates her? New ideas.
“Nothing perks me up like a new challenge to think through.”
Getting it right
Be persistent. Sometimes, procrastination is a good thing. Don’t react or respond immediately, especially when you’re angry. Clients love people who do stuff without slapping a CE in front of them first. Finding the balance is tough, though, because it’s easy to be abused and you end up giving your work away for free.