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The Creative Brief: An Introduction


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The creative brief for advertising students studying strategy and creative. Intro lecture to CM417. Advertising centric for a beginner class.

Published in: Technology, Business

The Creative Brief: An Introduction

  1. The creative brief CM417.5 Edward Boches, Professor of Advertising
  2. If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad-writing business. Leo Burnett
  3. You have been Looking at lots of work Exploring annuals and online sources Evaluating good and bad work Collecting sources of inspiration Thinking about what we’ve been talking about in class Preparing for the real event
  4. Questions What do you need to do and know to create great advertising?
  5. Your product: The magic is often in the product. Client’s business: Chance favors the prepared. The customer: The path to relevance starts here. The market: A good way to be topical and tap into culture A tight strategy: Small rooms discipline the mind.
  6. What is strategy/brief? Why is it important to the creative development? Where can the strategy come from? What are the elements that comprise the brief? What questions do we have to answer? What are the biggest mistakes?
  7. What is the creative brief? It is a blue print, a guide, even a source of inspiration. It details our objectives, audience/community, message or utility, the context in which we’ll engage, timing and budget. In short, the what, who, where, when.
  8. The brief is the what we are doing. The creative is the how.
  9. Product or Service: What is the product you are advertising? Where is it sold? What is its status in the marketplace?
  10. Problem/Challenge Snapshot: *Objective: What is the problem you are trying to solve or the challenge you need to overcome. Describe in a few sentences. Need to introduce a new product and get attention. Want to leverage a new feature to drive trial. Want to reposition a product so that a new user will consider it. Want to get current users to consume more. Etc.
  11. Role of communication: Is it awareness, trial, to drive traffic? Is it to connect at the moment of purchase? Is it to earn market share, change opinion, or capture data? Is to mobilize existing customers? Get influencers to advocate? What action are you striving to inspire?
  12. Target audience/community: With whom are you engaging? Demographic – age, sex, income, marital status. Psychographic – interests, aspirations, lifestyle, habits, tech-savvy, other.
  13. *Current beliefs: What do they think about our brand now? Desired beliefs (or outcome or action): What do you want them to believe or to do? Do we need to change perception, opinion, frame of reference?
  14. *Insight that reveals how we can motivate them: What insight do you have that you believe will motivate them to take the action we desire? Is there a frustration, aspiration, related life need, emotional connection or shared belief you can tap into and leverage?
  15. Relevant topical cultural trend or tension: Under this subhead answer the question: What is happening culturally that might be useful to consider. For example, concern about the economy is relevant to buying a car and taking out a car loan. The over dependence on our smartphones and the time we spend on screens might be relevant to selling a vacation or amusement park that promises family time together. The rising cost of college education might be relevant to a condom brand.
  16. *What category conventions can we challenge: How can you use category style, language, standard approaches against them to garner attention and provoke?
  17. *Driving brand idea (or catalytic idea): What can you say or do that will achieve our objectives and affectively drive action? This could be a message based campaign, a digital experience, utility, on-going “project,” or even a platform.
  18. *What is the context: Where will you engage and why is it the ideal place/media to connect with your audience/community?
  19. *What could you DO or MAKE or BUILD to demonstrate your idea? Under this subhead answer the question: What could you actually DO rather than SAY. For example, Honest Tea creates a truth index and experience with its honor system tea displays. Tesco replicates a supermarket digitally with its subway system. TNT demonstrates its expertise in drama with a live real-time performance in a small town square. Think about marketing as service and the outcome being a utility or platform that supports customers and builds loyalty. See Nike +, Tesco, Sit or Squat.
  20. Igniting a conversation: Under this subhead answer the question: How will you get people talking about your product and/or idea? What makes it shareable, spreadable, and interesting enough to overcome indifference or have people seek it out. It might be the creative idea itself. It might be what you do/make/build. It might be the way in which you encourage and/or inspire sharing. It might be an idea, concept, social utility that inherently invites the co-creation of content. See the True Blood launch, or the Oreo Daily Twist.
  21. Community and or content creators we can leverage and how. Beneath this subhead answer with what content creators (Twitter forces, Pinterest influencers, bloggers) do we have mutual interests that are worth leveraging to either curate content, co- create content, or spread content to users who share that interest. What might we create? How might we engage?  What metrics (KPI's) might we consider. Please do not use likes or follows as a KPI.
  22. *What is the press release that describes the outcome? Toyota USA today announced that its Sienna minivan has gained 8 points of marketshare in just six months. The increase in sales is attributed to the fact that more and more young parents are happily trading in their SUVs and sports cars for a vehicle that reflects their “awesomeness” as parents.
  23. Examples
  24. Most often the creative comes out of the driving brand idea (message)... The driving brand idea. The single thing you are going to say or do.
  25. Essential equipment for life’s daily adventures.
  26. The most precise office organizing system you can buy.
  27. Low speed crashes hurt more than you realize.
  28. Charmin’ makes your bathroom experience more comfortable.
  29. Samsonite luggage can withstand the rigors of airline travel.
  30. Well what are the rigors? It’s Hell for a suitcase out there.
  31. Our glasses make it easier to read the fine print.
  32. Our dust rollers pick up all the fur.
  33. Oreo is 100 years old.
  34. Harley Davidson sets you free.
  35. You’ll never use it up.
  36. But, the creative idea can come from other parts of the brief, too.
  37. Product or Service: The Toyota Sienna mini-van. It is competing in a much-maligned category and losing market share. TS share has gone from 29 percent to 19 percent in one year. With more category competition, TS needs a significant idea to regain share.
  38. Problem/Challenge Snapshot: Overcome lost marketshare. Make the TS a purchase that is not embarrassing for younger parents. Significantly increase consideration among target audience.
  39. Role of communication: To get people excited about the TS and to generate buzz about the product. Achieve a lift in “aspirational” imagery for the product -- get people to think it is stylish and distinctive.
  40. Target audience/community: InSync Traditionalists.
  41. Target audience/community: InSync Traditionalists. Moms and Dads with attitude. Proud and happy to be parents, subscribe to family values, but they were professionals before they became parents. They are hip, smart and in sync with the new techno, connected, media hub and pop culture.
  42. *Current beliefs: The currently think product is functional and reliable, but not in line with their personality. Desired beliefs (or outcome or action): Believe that the TS is actually cool enough and stylish enough for them -- the parents -- not just designed with the kids in mind.
  43. *Insight that reveals how we can motivate them: Today’s young parents are no longer isolated at home with babies and toddlers. They can and do reach out to the broader world – almost constantly. Social media is their lifeline and sharing information is a consistent activity throughout their day. We knew from this that we could enlist them to become our collaborators – not only in distributing our message but in developing it as well. Because this target is so consistently and actively on Facebook and YouTube, we kept our ear to the virtual ground. We picked up on what they were saying so we could elevate the fun for the follow-up launch of the even sportier SE grade. We knew that they joked about and would get the joke about stereotypical minivan parents.
  44. *What category conventions can we challenge:
  45. *Driving brand idea (or catalytic idea): Awesome parents drive the Toyota Sienna
  46. *What is the context: TV, print and outdoor to the tone and provided the high level of awareness we needed. On line and YouTube to up the fun quotient and because InSync Traditionalists live there and share content.
  47. *What is the press release that describes the outcome? Toyota USA today announced that its Sienna minivan has gained 8 points of marketshare in just six months. The increase in sales is attributed to the fact that more and more young parents are happily trading in their SUVs and sports cars for a vehicle that reflects their “awesomeness” as parents.
  48. Where in the brief did the creative come from?
  49. The way Toyota defined the target and brought them to life.
  50. Awesome parents drive the Toyota Sienna.
  51. Context (where)
  52. Technology
  53. Moment
  54. Moment
  55. Enemy (or status quo)
  56. Social media trends
  57. Questions?