What is a Creative BriefIn its simplest term Creative Brief is the bridge between smart strategic thinking andgreat advertising (advertising that involves consumers on both – rational and emotional level, andwhich is capable of affecting a change in both their thoughts and behavior) and is the key toolwith which planners and their account management partners can unlock the talents andimagination of their agency’s creative people.If the Creative Brief is informative, well argued and insightful, then their chances of creatingbetter advertising are increased and the process of doing so is made considerably easier.Main task of Creative Brief is to inform the creative team, and most important to inspire them. Toreduce all the information that has been gathered from the client, consumer research and perhapsmany other sources and funnel it down to a single, potent idea and from that idea to create a senseof possibilities of great advertising just waiting to happen. So it is at the same time an exercise insynthesis and expansiveness.Please note that it is necessary for Creative Team to be active participant along with the AccountPlanner and Account Executive. Creative Teams contribution (thinking) at early stages willimprove the quality of the brief and act as catalyst for the process of creative development itself.PLEASE NOTE: 1. Client should not participate in Creative Briefing 2. If it’s not relevant to consumers, it’s not relevant to the brief 3. The purpose of brief is not to praise the product/services 4. Creatives write from brief, not to it 5. The brief is not an opportunity to show off how hard you’ve been workingThe brief is an ad to influence the creative teamWhat should ‘Creative Team’ look for in a Creative Brief? OrWhat’s an ideal Creative Team?It should be very simple, single-minded idea, which is expressed in the part of the brief termed asthe PROPOSITION.Whoever gives/writes Creative Brief should have the First Creative Ideas.A brief tends to succeed in direct proportion to the level of creativity present in both its ideas andpresentation. If the creative brief is not itself creative, if it does not suggest solutions toproblem/s, present information with imagination and flair, then its authors and presenters have noright to expect anything different from Creative Team. Superficial information will spawnsuperficial advertising, and dull, unenthusiastic presentation of the possibilities will become self-fulfilling prophesy in the final work. A creative team has to believe that a great campaign ispossible before they can begin create it.GREAT BRIEFS: Triumph of Simplicity over Complexity (avoid advertising & marketingjargons i.e. strategy, positioning and proposition in your creative brief).
It’s your ability to operate on a simplistic level and come to decisions that others would think ofas very complex.CREATIVE – (adjective) 1. Having the quality or power of creating 2. Resulting from originality of thought; imaginative.BRIEF – (adjective) 1. Lasting or taking a short time 2. Using few words, concise 3. Abrupt, curt 4. Scanty (Noun) – a short and concise statement or written item.THE BRIEFING ITSELF: It should ensure that the essential information is included. The briefshould attempt to answer the following set of questions.First the very act of posing these questions forces the person preparing the briefing tocome with answers to them. It is important that any briefing at least attempts to providesolutions as opposed to simply listing the problems that creative team needs to overcome.Second, a set list of questions does provide focus and discipline, and ensure that the teamis given the basic information they require to do their job.THE QUESTIONS…Why are we advertising at all?It is the most difficult question to answer.The question begs a terse(succinct) description of the client’s current business situation, and theproblem that the advertising need to overcome, along with the clear sense that advertising canhelp.What is the advertising trying to achieve? (i.e. Objective)It is necessary to be realistic. Because advertising cannot achieve everything. It is vital to be clearabout desired effect, and it is effects, plural, that are being sought. It is important to prioritize.Who are we talking to?Define target audience as precise as possible.It is equally important to decide whom to exclude.In its final execution, the advertising campaign may need to address two quite different groupssimultaneously due to various constraints ( limited budget, etc). Both the groups may be equallyimportant. Then instead of neglecting either of groups, it is necessary to find a commondenominator that explicitly unites two audiences under one thought or at least capable ofinterpretation by each group, in its own way, that leaves each feeling it has got what it is lookingfor.What do we know about them?The answer to this question stems from a real understanding of the target’s lives and minds, andshould provide the Creative Team with intimate understanding of what makes these people tick.If the demographic description is the skeleton of the brief, then this part represents the body andsoul. It should take the description down from relatively abstract definition of a ‘group’ of peopleto tangible level of an individual, with whom the Copywriter and Art Director will be asked torelate as they create their advertising.
The portrait of these people will be qualitative, descriptive, emotional and creative. As it isrevealed, the team should come to understand how they relate to the particular category orproduct in question, whether they care about it, how it fits into other parts of their lives, whetherit is a product that they use where other people can see them, how they feel about it, whether it iseasy or difficult for them to talk about it and what language they use when they do.What’s the main idea we need to communicate?i.e. in plain and simple term ‘what’s the proposition?’ Proposition = Consumer benefit + Reason WhyThe emphasis should be firmly on the message that should be communicated to the people, ratherthan that on what advertising should directly say. In other words, the focus should be on whatpeople ‘take away’ from the advertising, as opposed to what advertising puts in.Of all the questions in the brief, this is the most important, because its answer should encapsulateeverything else what appears and represent the Creative Leap. Ideally it should be a single ideathat is expressed in a single sentence. If it is any more complicated or lengthy than that, thechances are that it will lead to advertising that is equally ponderous.What is this one idea? The one thing that is most likely to make people reconsider their views onan existing product or form new opinions about new product, and take some action as a result. Itcan be based on a product, on an observation about the consumer or even an attribute of thecategory.What’s the best way of planting that idea?It is also called the ‘Strategy’, or how part of the message, as opposed to what of the main idea.Do we know we are right?Where’s the evidence? Is there any support for the points of view that have just been expressed?If there is, than be sure to at least refer to it, but if not and the brief reflects only the guess work,then be sure to admit it.Good Brief cannot be prepared in vacuum?Whenever possible discuss any half-baked ideas with the team or at least one of the teams, whowill ultimately have to write ads from the brief. Make your ideas easier by soliciting the ideas ofothers at an early stage. Once Account Planner has a solution in sight, expose it to the CreativeTeam both to assess its potential and see if the initial thinking can be expanded. If it does makesense, and if they can enhance it, it gives them a powerful stake in the strategy and the brief.Can we have a good Ad please?In an ideal world it would be terrific for every brief to provide a clear and compelling creativedirection. If after all the analysis, interpretations and interdisciplinary discussion is done ananswer still does not suggest itself, isn’t it better to be honest about the fact that you do not have aclue than try to fashion an irrelevant point of difference out of nothing?No Brief at all?You don’t have a good brief until you have a good ad?