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Creative Briefs for Advertising and Marketing

The Importance of the Creative Brief

Some people may call it a project brief while others label it an experience brief, but whatever the name may be, the document known as a Creative Brief is what smart advertising agencies use to distill the essence of a brand, an ad campaign, a website or just a simple ad.

1. The Creative Brief should state a purpose that is simple and achievable by being clear and specific.

2. The Creative Brief communicates the strategy – whether that is for branding or creating a new website, the positioning of the message is what is most important.

3. The Creative Brief serves as a roadmap that outlines the who, what, where, when and its purpose, such as creating a new brand, going after a new client or designing a new ad campaign, the Creative Brief is the synthesis of research findings. It is a summary of formal or anecdotal research (and often both) and, in most cases, includes in-depth information about the target audience and what makes them the prime consumer. As soon as an agency assembles this crucial information we discuss its relevance and what it means to the campaign or project at hand. How are we able to analyze this information and connect it to the messaging, the creative look, the offer or a call-to-action that will persuade the audience to act. Of course, there is no magic answer at this stage, but without the benefit of a detailed – yet concise – Creative Brief, the chances of going off the rails or being distracted by non-relevant or inconsequential information is large. That’s why a well-conceived Creative Brief helps drill down to the essential elements that make up a brand and serves as the launching pad for the creative team to develop compelling reasons for the target audience to act.

Build Consensus

4. The next step is to present the Creative Brief to the client for their input and, most importantly, get their approval and sign-off. The reason why it is imperative to receive this client blessing is because the Creative Brief, from that point onwards, acts as the basis from where to draw the project’s core principles. The Creative Brief is the device that builds consensus with the client and is a vital source as the project progresses and any disputes or changes are requested – for it is this document that also allows an agency to create a scope of work. Any client-directed changes to the project that conflict with the agreed upon Creative Brief may mean more time needed to complete the project and in many cases also requires further investment. It is also a great document to have on hand as a reference while the project is moving through creative rounds and where a series of subtle changes begin to add up collectively as big changes that need to be reviewed and checked to make sure we’re still on “Brief.”