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A practical guide to Creative Briefs and Briefings


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Presentation to the APG Training Network on the practical role of Creative Briefs and Briefings

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A practical guide to Creative Briefs and Briefings

  1. 1. A practical guide to Creative Briefs and Briefings Nick Docherty APG Training Network 14 March 2011
  2. 2. What I’m going to talk about <ul><li>Briefs </li></ul><ul><li>2. Briefings </li></ul>
  3. 3. Briefs and Briefings in practice Theory Practice “ The most important piece of paper in the agency” “ Just the start”
  4. 4. Painting the Sistine Chapel CLIENT PLANNER CREATIVE
  5. 5. The brief in theory The brief for the Sistine Chapel from Pope Julius II to Michelangelo Brief #1: “Please paint the ceiling”: Too open Brief #2: “Please paint the ceiling using red, green and yellow paint”: Too narrow Brief #3: “ Please paint biblical scenes on the ceiling incorporating some or all of the following: God, Adam, angels, cupids, devils and saints”: Getting there The actual brief Brief #4: “Please paint our ceiling for the greater glory of God as a testament to his eternal majesty and an inspiration and lesson to his people” = DIRECTION + INSPIRATION
  6. 7. The brief in practice The brief for the Sistine Chapel from Pope Julius II to Michelangelo Brief #1: I want you to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel Michelangelo: But I’m a sculptor, not a painter. I won’t do it. Brief #2: Yes you will - I’m the Pope. And actually I don’t just want you to paint the ceiling, I also want you to paint twelve large figures of the Apostles to occupy the pendentives Michelangelo: What’s a pedentive? Can’t I just paint the ceiling? To try and avoid this whole mess I’m running away from Rome whilst you’re distracted by that war with the French. Brief #3: OK, we’re both back now. You will do what I tell you to do. Twelve large figures of the Apostles to go. Michelangelo: Fine. But I want to paint the whole ceiling, and it’s my way or the highway. Brief #4: Done. You can do it exactly the way you want. Except that my mate Egidio da Viterbo here will watch your every move and act as your “Theology Consultant” Michelangelo: OK it’s nearly finished. What do you think? Brief #5: I love it. It just needs a bit of gold in it to make all those people you’ve painted look less like gypsies. Michelangelo: Fuck off. I’m not changing a thing.
  7. 8. Dysfunctional relationship (don’t do that) The brief changed The briefs were the briefing The process was messy Tempers frayed The outcome was uncertain
  8. 9. 1. Briefs
  9. 10. What the creative brief isn’t What’s the single thing we want to say? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
  10. 11. information insights marketing objectives brand strategy communications objectives creative brief What the creative brief is
  11. 12. It’s called a ‘brief’ for a reason
  12. 13. The brief is just a conversation-starter
  13. 14. Four types of brief Blank Kitchen Sink Pared-down Post Digital
  14. 15. Different Creatives prize different areas of a brief “ The problem, the problem, the problem” “ Just tell me what the brand is” “ An interesting proposition” “ Keep it as clear and simple as you can”
  15. 16. This is not a format debate or a box-ticking exercise
  16. 17. Why your brief should tell a story <ul><li>Everyone likes a good story </li></ul><ul><li>Stories can be told in lots of different media </li></ul><ul><li>Stories are a way of guiding people in their actions </li></ul><ul><li>Stories have both an internal logic and an inspirational theme </li></ul>
  17. 18. The four things a Brief needs to tell a good story The beginning: What’s the challenge? The middle: What’s going to help? The beginning of the end: What’s the thought? + the “why should anyone care?” filter
  18. 19. Story 1 – Pot Noodle <ul><li>What’s the challenge? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s going to help? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the thought? </li></ul><ul><li>Lapsing users see Pot Noodle as a pleasurable but trashy experience that leaves them with a feeling of dirtiness and guilt – they are at a life stage when they want to feel more grown up </li></ul><ul><li>These people haven’t entirely outgrown their younger selves and occasionally like to give into their baser desires </li></ul><ul><li>Pot Noodle satisfies an unhealthy urge </li></ul>
  19. 21. Story 2 – Police Recruitment <ul><li>What’s the challenge? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s going to help? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the thought? </li></ul><ul><li>9,000 police officers need to be recruited over the next three years, but the loss of public respect for the Police means that both the number and quality of applicants are falling </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising needs to actively discourage the vast majority whilst inspiring the tiny minority of the most committed </li></ul><ul><li>Make 99 out of 100 people realise that they couldn’t be a police officer but respect the hell out of the one that could </li></ul>
  20. 23. Story 3 – Honda <ul><li>What’s the challenge? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s going to help? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the thought? </li></ul><ul><li>People are put off Diesel engines because they think they’re noisy and smelly </li></ul><ul><li>Honda hated Diesel engines so much that they decided to design one that they could actually like </li></ul><ul><li>Hate can be positive </li></ul>
  21. 25. The ‘Why should anyone care?’ filter is critical <ul><li>Do you care? </li></ul><ul><li>(If not, chances are nobody else will) </li></ul><ul><li>Would your audience care? </li></ul><ul><li>(If not, they won’t get involved) </li></ul><ul><li>Would your creative team care? </li></ul><ul><li>(If not you won’t get great work) </li></ul><ul><li>Would your mum care? </li></ul><ul><li>(If not, the work probably won’t get a broader audience) </li></ul>
  22. 26. Don’t be like Pope Julius II Know your shit Be Churchillian Tell a story Ask yourself why anybody would care Be right – then be interesting
  23. 27. 2. Briefings
  24. 28. The theoretical difference words on paper disciplined rigorous concise point of reference verbal visual personal flexible interactive Brief vs. Briefing Convergent Thinking Divergent Thinking
  25. 29. In practice they can be the same thing
  26. 30. It’s not a strategic presentation
  27. 31. Throw the brief away before you go the briefing
  28. 32. Remember that briefings aren’t just some kind of weird advertising confection
  29. 33. The inspirational speech
  30. 34. The informed conversation
  31. 35. The half time team talk
  32. 36. The bonding chat
  33. 37. The off-siter
  34. 38. ‘ Theatrical’ pitfalls
  35. 39. “ Fuck off. I’m too busy.” “ You want me to wear what ?” “ I don’t want to get Verrukas” “ Isn’t the pub nearer than the swimming pool?”
  36. 40. (Mostly) keep it simple but relevant
  37. 41. If all else fails…
  38. 42. Beware the ‘all agency’ briefing
  39. 43. The briefing is just the start Initial check back Casual conversations Creative reviews Tissue Sessions Feedback
  40. 44. Brief to the team - not to the brief Make an effort Take it outside (if you can) Be relevant – not necessarily theatrical Be inspirational - not technical
  41. 45. Back to the beginning <ul><li>Briefs </li></ul><ul><li>2. Briefings </li></ul>
  42. 46. Why Would Anyone Care?
  43. 47. “ Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish” Michelangelo
  44. 48. Any questions?