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How to write a creative brief

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  • 1. How To Write A Creative BriefCreative Brief Shouldnt Depend On Your PerspectiveI was with my team a while back interviewing a non-profit to help them with their marketingefforts. My team is made up of mostly designers, and I asked them to show me a typicalcreative brief. What I found interesting was a designers perspective was different than amarketers on a creative brief. For example, one of my designers had listed, listen to the client,they are your audience. On the surface that sounds correct, but if you think about it a little, arethey really your audience? Are you designing pieces to appease your client or to actually targettheir customers? I told my team I disagreed with them and when you do a creative brief with aclient, yes it is important to be a active listener, but also remembering that the true audience isTHEIR client, not them. Most importantly do not get off track, and once in awhile repeat littlenuggets of their wisdom back to them, so they know you are listening and are actively engaged.Below is a sample creative brief I handed my team with notes to them. This was meant fortheir eyes only, not the clients. I typically do these as a personal interview. I do not hand theseout to the clients to fill out unless asked to do so. The reason is two-fold. One, if you handsomething out to a busy executive expecting a response, you almost never get it back. Second,personal interviews can ask leading questions to help get a client a more focused answer.
  • 2. Creative BriefThis will be our project description. A brief summary of what we are doing and why.Overview  General Project Description  Goals/Project ObjectivesExamples§ Position as a premium non-profit organization operating in a niche market§ Attract interest and reputation  Deliverables Needed  Measurable Objectives- 10% increase in donations? 10% increase ticket sales? 10% overall revenues?AudienceWe need to understand who the audience is. Let the client guide us. DON"T ASSUME YOUKNOW THE AUDIENCE or WHAT IT IS LIKE. Remember the first audience is our clientthemselves, their employees and volunteers. Need audience demographics if possible.Examples  Organization: non profit  Core Target: ex- donors, strategic partners-get a profile or two including occupation, age range, gender, likes, etc.  Secondary Target: Customers- same thing, need profiles  Tertiary Target: ex- private and business sectors potential donors
  • 3. How will our audience(s) use our recommendations, brochures, website, mailers?What should we avoid when targeting/talking to these audiences?Tone, Image, and MessagesWhat story is their message currently telling? Look at branding, logo, website, what intangiblesis it conveying? Is it a vision, attitude, or feeling. For example in clothes a black pinstripe suitesays something different from jeans. We need to write everything down we imagine, ouropinions, how their brand makes us feel,. This is the artistic step for us. Their brand what wordsalone cannot.Examples  Convey fun, family, trust, safety, credibility, formal  Project growth, stability, trust  Timeless/ not trendy  Outgoing, liberal, colorful  Feminine, girly, or masculine, or both  Welcoming and approachable  Lively, sophisticated, but not too rich, though. Some things might be too extravagant for a nonprofit.  What do the audience believe or think, before you start communicating with them?  Are there some specific visual goals  What tone should be use when we engage them?
  • 4. Messages: Features, Benefits and Values  List top features and/or facts about XXXXXXXXXX, and its value to target audiences  How do these stack up against the competition?  If you could get one sentence across, what would that be? How would you prove it?  Other major points?Budget and Schedule  What are the parameters?  When must the message get to the audience for greatest impact (e.g. service introduction date, conference, special event, calendar date)?  What is the due date for the finished work?Process  Who is the point person (on the nonprofit side)?  Do they want meetings during process to help guide us?ApproachesThis is a more mechanical step than artistic. We need to write down what can and cant bedone. This helps us and XXXXXX approach the conceptual stage (or at least ourrecommendations) with better clarity and focus.Examples  Does the brand visually relate to learning, entertainment?  Do they need a minimalist, simplistic approach?  Maybe two-pronged approach- one with donors, one with clients  Can we use different colors, as they evoke different emotional responses  What has been tried, what has failed, why?