Writing Great Briefs

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A talk I gave to young brand managers at the PANA Brand Camp 29 March 2012

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Writing Great Briefs

  1. 1. WRITING GREAT BRIEFSPANA Brand Camp29 March 2012
  2. 2. As a planner, I read writeand rewrite a lot of briefs
  3. 3. Writing a brief is not simply aboutfilling up a form
  4. 4. Writing a brief is acreative task.It is the first stepin the creative process.
  5. 5. What factors allow top creatives to repeatedly producebrilliant creative performance?
  6. 6. IDEA-FOCUSED COMPANY VISION(prioritizes great ideas and allows a creative work culture)
  7. 7. IDEA-FOCUSED COMPANY VISION(prioritizes great ideas and allows a creative work culture) CLIENTS WHO ENCOURAGE GREAT IDEAS (and are not just open to them)
  8. 8. IDEA-FOCUSED COMPANY VISION (prioritizes great ideas and allows a creative work culture) CLIENTS WHO ENCOURAGE GREAT IDEAS (and are not just open to them) SURPRISING/INSPIRING INFORMATION(deeper insights about the product, target, competition or brand)
  9. 9. IDEA-FOCUSED COMPANY VISION (prioritizes great ideas and allows a creative work culture) CLIENTS WHO ENCOURAGE GREAT IDEAS (and are not just open to them) SURPRISING/INSPIRING INFORMATION(deeper insights about the product, target, competition or brand) A FASCINATING CLIENT BRIEF (defines the problem in a way that is inspiring and exciting)
  10. 10. IDEA-FOCUSED COMPANY VISION (prioritizes great ideas and allows a creative work culture) CLIENTS WHO ENCOURAGE GREAT IDEAS (and are not just open to them) SURPRISING/INSPIRING INFORMATION(deeper insights about the product, target, competition or brand) A FASCINATING CLIENT BRIEF (defines the problem in a way that is inspiring and exciting) AN INSPIRING CREATIVE BRIEF (has a single-minded proposition that is focused and exciting)
  11. 11. 3 out of 5have to do with the quality of the brief
  12. 12. The author the the brief of is owner of the problemWrite it in a way that inspires the best solutions
  13. 13. Great solutions requiregreat problems
  14. 14. “Please paint the ceiling.”
  15. 15. “Please paint the ceiling.”“Please paint the ceiling using red, green and yellow paint.”
  16. 16. “Please paint the ceiling.” “Please paint the ceiling using red, green and yellow paint.”“Please paint biblical scenes on the ceiling using some or all of the following: God, Adam, angels, cupids, devils and saints.”
  17. 17. “Please paint our ceiling for the greater glory of God and as an inspiration and lesson to his people.”
  18. 18. Give the agencythe problem you want to solve, not the solution you want
  19. 19. A brief typically contains:MARKET AND BRAND SITUATIONTHE PROBLEMOBJECTIVETARGET AUDIENCEWHAT WE WILL COMMUNICATEREASONS TO BELIEVECHANNELSBRAND ESSENCE AND PERSONALITYEXECUTIONAL MANDATORIES
  20. 20. MARKET AND BRAND SITUATION This is the background to the brief
  21. 21. Context is everything It puts color and meaning into what the campaign must achieve Are there category issues affecting the brand? Unilab vs. genericsAre there external factors threatening the brand? e.g. Coke and the economic crisis Are there internal factors that pose a challenge? e.g. a price increase Are there new trends that are repositioning you? e.g. herbal medications
  22. 22. The background to the brief should be written to set up the problem thatthe campaign needs to solve.
  23. 23. THE PROBLEMArguably the most important part of the brief
  24. 24. There are different levels of problem Business Eg. Profit margin is too low to sustain share price Marketing Eg. Price premium unsustainableDiagnosingthe right Brand Eg. User imagery is wrongproblem isessential Communication Eg. No awareness of the product range Channels Eg. Can’t afford TV Creative Eg. People don’t understand the advertising
  25. 25. How you define the problem defines the solution
  26. 26. BackgroundPizza Hut wants to grow its non-pizza business because this helpsattract people to dine in more frequently (which will help grow revenue)To do this, it will launch a pasta line called Pasta PerfettoThe pasta line was launched (and failed) twice in the past 2 yearsKey competitor is a specialist pasta chain called Pastamania!The Problem as stated in the original brief:How can we excite peopleabout the new and improvedPasta Perfetto line?
  27. 27. The Real ProblemSkepticismSingaporeans refuse to believe that Pizza Hut can make good pastabecause the brand name suggests it’s good at pizza, not pasta
  28. 28. The Real ProblemSkepticismSingaporeans refuse to believe that Pizza Hut can make good pastabecause the brand name suggests it’s good at pizza, not pastaHow do we prove to skeptics thatgood pasta can actually comefrom a place like Pizza Hut?
  29. 29. The Real ProblemSkepticismSingaporeans refuse to believe that Pizza Hut can make good pastabecause the brand name suggests it’s good at pizza, not pastaHow do we prove to skeptics thatgood pasta can actually comefrom a place like Pizza Hut? The Solution Remove the brand name from the picture, and let the product speak for itself
  30. 30. Tips in writing a great problemDescribe the problem inthree sentences or lessIf possible, reduce theproblem to a challengingquestionState the problem,don’t prescribe the solutionMarket research is usefulfor problem definitionBe excited by the problem
  31. 31. It is a universal misconceptionthat a wide, unspecific briefing is better because it does not limit creative people
  32. 32. THE OBJECTIVE
  33. 33. Many briefs start witha poorly stated objective
  34. 34. “Generic objectives” (not wrong but not specific enough either) To create awarenessTo increase sales and/or increase market share To steal share from the competition To grab share from Brand X To encourage switching To generate trial To increase brand loyalty To strengthen emotional affinity To increase consumption frequency To recruit new users
  35. 35. Metrics are not necessarily thesame as campaign objectives
  36. 36. Campaign objectives are moreactionable if they are stated in terms ofhow we want the target to respondAttitudinal change?Behavioral change?Perception change?
  37. 37. GOODobjective? or BAD objective?
  38. 38. Explain BPI’s new housing loan product to first-time home buyers
  39. 39. Get moms to cook dishes using Nestle Cream at least once a week
  40. 40. Remind teens that Coca-Cola is about happiness
  41. 41. Encourage more frequentbreak time consumption of KitKat
  42. 42. Convince office workerswho endure headaches totake Biogesic at the onset of a headache
  43. 43. A useful way of expressing objectives FROM TO(it also makes it easier to judge ifthe creative work meets the brief)
  44. 44. FROM TOFamous for cakes Famous for cakes and pastries
  45. 45. FROM TOFor celebrating my For celebrating mychild’s 1st and 7th child’s birthday birthdays only every year
  46. 46. FROM TOThe drink for special The drink that goesmeals with the family well with everyday food
  47. 47. TARGET AUDIENCE
  48. 48. People, not statistics
  49. 49. “Classically bad”Males and Females 18-34 y.o., ABC socio-economic classCD moms in Metro ManilaOffice workers 21-45Devoted mothers who want to give their kids the best
  50. 50. A good target audience description Demographic description (important but not defining) Relevant psychographic profile: Habits, attitudes, desires, fears, aspirations, motivationsThe target in relation to your brand or category
  51. 51. Skelan Arthritis stricken life enthusiasts.They are 50+ adults from the CD SEC. While they acknowledge pain, anxiety and incapacity are part of the arthritis experience, they remain positive and optimistic. In fact they want to continue being able to fully participate in life. They’re not ready to stay home and do nothing.
  52. 52. WHAT WE WILL COMMUNICATE
  53. 53. There are different ways to state what we want the campaign to communicate A benefit; rational or emotional A product feature, characteristic or attribute A feeling A brand belief or philosophy A mission or advocacy
  54. 54. Tips in writing what to communicateMake it clear and concise; If you can’t say it in a sentence, youcan’t say it in 30 seconds or lessHas to be true so that it connects with peopleIdeally, differentiated from others in the category
  55. 55. REASONS TO BELIEVE
  56. 56. This should support what is being communicated Not a list of product features that are irrelevant to what isbeing communicated but you want to see in the advertising
  57. 57. Do not underestimate the power of the product to inspire Creative Ideas.Provide technical information; Interrogate the product until it confesses. Examine the product with the eyes of the target audience Look at the history of the product and the brand Look for a personal truth in the product
  58. 58. CHANNELS
  59. 59. Best to not be prescriptive about specific touchpoints to use unless it is a givenBetter if you can provide information on how thetarget audience engages with different channels
  60. 60. BRAND ESSENCE AND PERSONALITY
  61. 61. How a brand behaves it just as important as what it says Keeping the brand essence and personality in mind helps ensure consistency, from campaign to campaign
  62. 62. EXECUTIONAL MANDATORIES
  63. 63. Avoid this if you can.Stick only to the real non-negotiables, not a laundry list of things that you will look for in the execution.
  64. 64. IN CLOSING
  65. 65. TO WRITE GREAT BRIEFS DO DON’TDefine clearly the problem to Set an objective that the be solved campaign cannot solve Put in surprising or Be prescriptive more than interesting information - inspiring about the problem, thebrand, the target or channels Overload it with informationBe concise; It’s called a brief for a reason
  66. 66. The brief is a starting pointAllow room for conversation, for debate
  67. 67. Demand courageous ideas, instead of correct ones
  68. 68. Don’t fix a mediocre idea.It’s better to start with a new one.
  69. 69. Let’s start problem solving. @manilapaper

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