Good communication is more important than creativity. Even if we had the best ad campaign in the world in our head, but couldn’t visualize it to our exec, then we’re in for a tour of all the negative emotions, including a finale with an ad we didn’t have in mind at all. That’s what a brief is for.
What is a brief?
Brief is a short, usually 2-page document presenting the strategy of a creative project. It is a bit like a map that will guide the creative team to achieve the goal of the assigned campaign.
You can – and should – include anything that will help the creative team better understand your brand and product.
Most briefs include the following
- basic brand information,
- a brief overview of the campaign objectives,
- the key challenges the campaign is designed to address,
- the target audience for the campaign,
- main competitors,
- core message describing the brand values and its position in the market,
- communication channels in which the campaign will be conducted.
Why is the brief necessary?
There is a long list of reasons why a brief is worth creating. The most important reason is the simplest: it is a standard practice to understand the client’s needs.
It allows the creative team to become familiar with the brand and product. It spurs inspiration and provides an opportunity for the team to start brainstorming. Provides external collaborators with a quick understanding of the brand and its origins. Reduces conflict between the principal and the creative process by making sure they are on the same side of the barricade.
Who is the brief intended for?
It may surprise you, but the final audience is not the person reaching for your product, but the creative team. So your job is to interpret your brand and product vision in a way that is accessible to the creative team. This means no jargon or “marketing speak”. Write the brief in a way that the designers can understand it.
What are the key elements of a good brief?
Seemingly one or two pages, but the effort put into creating this simple document is enormous.
To write a good brief, you need to state the most important aspects of the campaign:
A creative campaign starts and ends with the product. Your goal is to map the current brand perception of the product. After all, that’s what it’s all about. If you don’t present the product well, don’t expect your creative team to figure everything out, much less advertise it well.
Ideally, you should try to answer the following questions in your product description:
- What product are you advertising?
- What category does it belong to?
- Where is it currently sold?
- Where is it currently being advertised?
- Where will it be advertised in the future?
- What is the product’s current status in the marketplace?
- What are the existing brand values of the product?
- What is the price of the product?
- How many variants of the product are currently available?
That is, a description of the brand’s background, what its competitors are, whether our campaign might have some cultural context. In the era of “activist brands,” companies are increasingly aligning their products with social and cultural movements. Think about how you can use the spirit of the times to create a better brand message.
If we answer the following questions, it may help us create a new idea, something completely different from what the competition is proposing:
- What are the main competitors of the product and brand?
- What is their market share?
- What is the competitors’ marketing strategy?
- Where do they advertise?
- What type of message and tone does the competition use?
- What customers are buying the competitors’ products?
- How does the market currently perceive the product?
- Is there a cultural moment right now that you can use to promote the product?
- What cultural values, ideas or events can you align the product with?
- Is now a time for optimism or perhaps for reflection?
They’re the most important sub-point – a deep understanding of your target audience, their desires and tastes, is crucial to writing a good brief, and further, creating a great campaign.
To do this, start by describing the following:
- demographics (age, gender, income, marital status),
- psychographic data (interests, aspirations, lifestyle, habits),
- what they think about the product and brand right now,
- what you want them to think about the brand,
- frustrations, aspirations, life need and common beliefs that you can address.
The goal of all this data is to find a trigger that will motivate potential customers. This trigger should align with your campaign objectives.
Every campaign has a specific goal, message and audience
The creative team’s job is to understand the campaign’s goals and find a way to achieve them. Therefore, you need to define its strategy, simply explain why you actually want to advertise the product.
To do this, answer the following questions:
- What do you want to achieve through the campaign?
- Increase awareness? Increase website traffic? Get more shares? Provide as much detail as possible.
- What customer action would ensure the success of the campaign? Filling out a form? Clicking a link? Calling the company?
- What specific challenge is the campaign trying to address? E.g. “our nutritional products have always been dedicated to men. Now, with the launch of products targeting women, we would also like to change our message’.
- Where will the campaign be conducted?
- What is the main message of the campaign?
In conclusion, if you value your time and prefer to avoid nerves and misunderstandings, it is worth taking a moment to write a solid brief. It is very likely that during the writing process you yourself will come up with great ideas that you can suggest to the team. The effort you put into preparing a brief for a creative agency will definitely pay off.
Main article photo: photo by Campaign Creators, source: unsplash.com