These are the slides from a workshop I delivered for the CIPR Scotland. It was a PR professionals workshop, meant to give them the skills to take a proper creative brief in order to, in turn, brief a designer to produce the creatives.
A BRAND IS...• Integrity• Knowledge• Expertise• Reliability• Low cost...how people feel about your company. Its a set of values that a companywants to attach itself to, e.g...You’re asking for an emotional investment from your clients so in thatrespect, a brand is much more akin to a reputation because if you don’tengage them on some emotional level, you probably won’t get them as aclient.
“YOUR BRAND IS WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUTYOU WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE ROOM”JEFF BEZOS, CEO, AMAZON
WHY A GOOD BRIEF ISESSENTIAL• Knowledge - Clients will always know the most about their businessso their insight will form the cornerstone of your brief.• Reputation - You’re responsible for your clients brand so a good briefis essential to maintain their reputation. In doing so, you’reenhancing your own reputation with them,• Speed - Ensures the project can move along with minimal hold ups.• Education - Leading your client through this in a structured mannercan be an eye opener and demonstrate your added value to them.• Protection - A tight brief that everyone adheres to is your protectionagainst those clients that always try and get something for nothing.
THE BRIEFING PROCESS• Record everything - No matter how trivial you think it might be.• How long should it be? - No more than 3 pages at most• T.E.D. - Use Tell, Explain And Describe questions to get the bestinformation.• Be bold! - Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions in order to findout the pertinent information.• Progress through it in a specific order - By keeping a tightstructure, you make sure nothing gets missed.• Questions should be needs based - Always focus on discoveringyour clients needs as the project they are briefing you on needs tohave some an end result.
SECTIONS• Overview• Inspiration• BackgroundAt Brightspace, we look at three main areas...
OVERVIEW• Full contact details - You MUST get all of these.• Set project milestones - This ensures everyone involved knowswhen specific milestones need to be hit, keeping the project ontime.• Project description - Get the client to tell you, in their own words,exactly what they want you to do for them.• Measuring effectiveness - What will success look like to yourclient?• Deliverables - What are the specific elements that are to bedesigned, e.g. website, brochure etc.?• Resources available - Do they have any existing images, copyalready written etc. that you can utilise.
INSPIRATION• Brand voice - What values and tone of voice do you need tocommunicate?• The client / service - Get the client to tell you, in their own words,about their service / product, more about their company etc.• The project goals - What, specifically, do they want you to achieve?• The audience - Your client SHOULD know about their audience andbe able to tell you all. If they don’t, you might have to look at gettingsome market research done.
MORE INSPIRATION• How do you want the viewer to feel? - Moved? motivated? scared?warm and fuzzy?• What do we want them to do as a result of this? - What action doyou want them take? Be mindful of all the calls to action.• Messages to communicate - Is there a single message thats moreimportant to communicate than any other?• Secondary messages? - Are there any? What are they?
BACKGROUND• Is this project part of a bigger marketing campaign? - What othermarketing activities are they engaged in? What stage are they atwith other activities.• If yes, how does it fit in with the other activities? - Asking this canopen dialogue that allows you to sell other services to your client.• Current website and any social media links for reference• Client / Competitors websites / social media links - Who are theircompetitors? Get the client to tell you about them in their ownwords.• Budget - Hopefully the client has a budget in mind. They possiblywon’t but try and get a figure from them though as this is aboutmanaging expectations (what they want) against reality (what theycan afford).
ADDITIONAL INFO• Do they have corporate guidelines? - Its important to know as yourdesigner doesn’t want to get halfway through the project to find outthey have to start again because there are existing guidelines tofollow.• Are there any technical specs? - Same as above, there may bespecific technical guidelines they have that need followed.
WHAT NOW?• Type up the brief carefully• The client MUST sign and date it! - Remember, this is the clientsacceptance of YOUR brief and before the project proceeds, theyMUST sign it off.• Give it to your designer to produce some amazing work! - Goeswithout saying!• Follow it religiously - The signed and agreed brief should provide anumber of touchpoints throughout the project that everyone shouldbe aware of and adhere to.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?• Seth Godin - www.sethgodin.com• Win Without Pitching - www.winwithoutpitching.comWebsitesBooks• Design is a Job - Mike Monteiro• How to Write an Inspired Creative Brief - Howard Ibach• Six Thinking Hats - Edward de Bono