How are your briefing skills?
If I were to interview your creative
teams, what would they say about your
Are you undaunted by this question…or
do you have a nagging suspicion that
their answers may not be to your liking?
Tell tale signs you’ve provided a poor brief
You’re shocked and dismayed by the
first draft you receive, because you
don’t like it at all
You don’t like the results or the
amends, but you don’t know why
You need to go back to your creative
team with endless rounds of
expensive, time-consuming amends
time after time after time
Bad briefers are everywhere
If you are a bad briefer, then you’re
certainly not alone.
There are a lot of them out there -
and bad briefs hurt everyone.
Writing excellent creative briefs will…
a lot of
a lot of
READ ON TO FIND
OUT WHAT MAKES A
Tip #1: Start with a fully formed idea
This is the step most people leave out.
If you haven’t fully imagined your idea, it’s
difficult for your designer or creative agency to
understand what you have in mind…and you
almost certainly do have something in mind,
even if you haven’t articulated it clearly.
This is likely to result in loads of amends as a
way of getting closer to what you want.
Avoid this by “frontloading” your brief
Include details of what you like or find inspiring
with images or links to examples, along with an
explanation of why you like them
Include a functional element (what form the
piece will take) and details of the look and feel
such as the colour palette or tone of voice
If you come up with several ideas you’d like to
combine, that’s great – explain it in your brief
Have a go at drawing your idea on a bit of
paper. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw – the
very act of imagining what you need will help
your creative team get a clear idea of what you
Tip #2: Put yourself in the shoes of the people reading your brief
Once you’ve finished writing your brief, set it
aside for a while – 12 to 24 hours, preferably –
then come back to it and pretend you’re the
account manager who will be reading it.
Have you omitted anything that only you
know needs to be taken into account?
For example, one the senior stakeholders
hates orange or loathes a particular font, or
the fact that all artwork should be based on
Tip #3: Supply all the details
That’s the who, what, why, where,
when and how.
Yes, it’s the least interesting part of
the brief, but it is crucial.
There are even hundreds of checklist /
briefing form templates out there help
you work through these questions.
At the very least, your creative team needs to know…
Who your main stakeholders and audience are
Who will need to sign off the final design
What outcome you are hoping to achieve, and by when
What action your audience should be motivated to take and why
Why the content is being produced
Where the content will be seen
When the final piece needs to be delivered and whether your outputs impact on – or
are impacted by - anything else that’s going on
How you require the end results to be delivered i.e. what format and through what
If you’re a messenger delivering this brief on
behalf of a large internal group, or an elusive
leader who never has time to talk to you, the
same rules still apply.
It’s no use passing down a vague Chinese
whisper of what’s required to the delivery team.
If you’re stuck in the “messenger” role, you’ll
have to do all of the above and then give your
brief back to the large group / elusive leader and
insist they review it and sign it off before you
pass it on.
Will they make changes to it?
Will you get tangled up in their
ideas and thoughts and have
to navigate how these can
realistically be incorporated
into the overall idea?
Will it take much longer than you realised?
Indeed it will.
You’ll get through it, and when you do, you will emerge with a signed off
collective vision that’s ready to be finessed by your lovely and grateful creative
And – because you’ve done all the hard work of frontloading the brief and
engaging all the stakeholders early on, the actual creative bit should be a lot
quicker and relatively painless.
But you’ll be OK…
Put it to the test…
Don’t just take my word for it…