Lewis Carol wrote a line that is now quite familiar and perhaps a bit overused, but it is still a suitable warning to those about to embark on a creative marketing project: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Most clients have a clear vision for their intended communication, but it is often surprising that many do not. David Ogilvy captured the task best when he said: “Give me the freedom of a tight brief.” The point of course is that the more specific the brief, the more focused the process and the more targeted the results.
In the absence of a tight brief, confusion can set in when too broad a universe of creative solutions is explored. Much has been written about detailed examples of creative briefs, and if you are interested you can download sample templates, but here is my take on how to write a “brief –brief.”
THE CONTEXT: How did we get here? What is the relevant background about the company and or product, in a competitive context, that is critical in defining the current and future market opportunity?
THE PURPOSE: What are we trying to achieve and how will we know what success looks like?
THE TARGET: Who is our primary audience and how are we defining them beyond simple demographics into either lifestyle or psychographic segments?
CORE TAKE-A-WAY: If we could talk to people right after they saw our communication what would they remember?
THE SPECIFICS: What are the secondary messages, product offer or other detailed information that needs to be included?
THE TONE: What are the specific brand attributes that will dictate the personality and style of the communication and to what degree do these vary from previous efforts?
THE GIVENS: What decisions have already been made about media scope, timing, budgets, format, etc.
WHAT ELSE: What other considerations need to be addressed including, operational implications, geographic scope, client management process or internal communications requirements.
It usually takes a couple rounds of revisions to nail the brief, but once you are completed the rest of the creative process should run smoothly. And remember, when you are reviewing the creative work, keep your comments “brief.”