What is a creative brief?CREATIVE: adj. 1. having the quality or power of creating. 2. resulting fromoriginality of thought; imaginative.BRIEF: adj. 1. lasting or taking a short time. 2. using few words;concise: a brief report 3. abrupt; curt. 4. scanty: a brief bathing suit5. a short and concise written statement or written item(source: Webster´s)
The brief is a means to an end.There is only one reason for anyone to write a brief or engage in briefing acreative team, and that is to help make their work better and easier to createthan it would be if they where left on their own devices.1) If it is not relevant to the customer, it´s not relevant to the brief.2) Creatives work from a brief, not to it.3) The brief is not to advocate or proof a point to yourself or to others.
The brief is an adto influence the creative team.A good brief is the first ad of a campaign. It is the creative team´s job to come upwith something better.
Great briefs:Triumphs of simplicity over complexity.
The briefing itself.I personally detest filling in (or reading) forms of any sort.But I do suggest 7 questions that I think every brief should attempt to answer.This is important for two main reasons:1) The very act of posing these questions forces the person preparing the brief to come up with answers to them. It is important that any briefing at least attempts to find solutions, as opposed to simply listing problems that the creative team needs to overcome.2) It does provide focus and discipline, and ensures that the team is given all the basic information they require to do their job.
1) Why do we advertise at all?As stupid as it might seem, more often than you think the answer is: „Because wealways have,“ “because our competitors do,“ “because we have a budget and weneed to spend it before March,“ “we have an empty page in a magazine,“All may have some truth in them, but are unlikely to inspire a creative team.Instead the question begs a succinct description of the business situation and theproblems advertising needs to overcome, along with the clear sense howadvertising can help.
2) What is the advertisingtrying to achieve?In other words, the objectives.It is vital to be clear about the desired effect, and if it is effects, plural, that arebeing sought, it is important to prioritize.
3) Who are we talking to?Generally, the answer is a simple description, and while its primary role is todefine as precisely as possible the group that needs to be addressed, it is equallyimportant for the discipline of deciding whom to exclude.
4) What do we know about them?Apart from any copy and paste demographic description, always try to portrait aspecific group of people in simple words. The team should come to understandhow they relate to the particular category or product in question.
5) What´s the main ideawe need to communicate?The emphasis should be firmly on the message that should be communicated topeople, rather than on what the advertising should directly say. In other words,the focus should be on what people take away from the advertising, as opposedto what the advertiser puts in.What is this one idea? That one thing that is most likely to make peoplereconsider their views or form new opinions and take some action. It can bebased on the product, on an observation about the customer, or even anattribute of the category.
6) What is the best wayof planting that idea?The how part of the message, as opposed to the what of the main idea.
7) How do we know we are right?Where´s the evidence? Is there any support for the points of view that have justbeen expressed?
A good brief cannotbe prepared in a vacuum.Whenever possible, discuss any half-baked ideas with the team.
Can we have a good ad please?Begin these discussions with at least some ideas of your own,to set the ball rolling.
Not every brief will answer all questions.Better one good answer to one question than wasting everybodys time withmaking them read a set of copy and paste deliveries.
No brief at all?The brief is not the end of a planning process. It is the beginning of a creativejourney. Sometimes the finessing of the brief can take so long that by the timethe brief is finally approved, the creative team has already written the campaign.Until the day comes when we put creative briefs online, in consumer magazinesor run them on TV, I think the time spent noodling over detail in a brief is wastedtime. Well, perhaps not entirely wasted, but it could at least be better spent.The bottom line is, you don´t have a great brief until you have a great ad.