• Hillary Hufford-Tucker

The Brilliance of a Brief

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

Storytelling is the springboard for any great campaign, and a vibrant creative brief provides the building blocks for that story. Whether a company is creating a new logo, website, sales promotion, social media campaign or advertising campaign, a brief is the best place to begin a successful project.

Briefs Aren’t Just for the Creative Team

Many creative briefs are developed for internal use by an ad agency or marketing company so that the people completing the project can work from the same information. A more brilliant consideration is in using the brief to gain buy-in from all the client stakeholders – marketing, sales, operations or leadership - about the most essential building blocks for the story or parts of the brief. If stakeholders can provide insights to issues that would otherwise be unknown to the creative team, stakeholders will be more likely to support the campaign going forward and the creative team will not waste time creating a product that is off target.

Quality Information is Critical to the Brief

A brief can still be brilliant even if it’s not visual. A simple, type-only document can provide the same information and should include:

  • Company Description: The “Big Picture” that drives the vision of the company (i.e., history, technology, products).

  • Project or Problem Summary: Provides “The Why” of the campaign.

  • Campaign Objectives: Expected outcomes that help the team determine the structure, methods, and messages.

  • Important Associated Facts: Sometimes a company’s history, products or innovations can provide inspiration to the creative team.

  • Value Proposition and Unique Selling Position (USP): Providing specific, distinguishing characteristics of the product or service will clarify the messaging.

  • Target Audience Details: A simple profile or persona of the target audience that govern tactics and messaging.

  • Challenges and Competition: Understanding issues and differences from the competitive landscape will enhance the creative mix.

  • Details on Tone, Message: Clear understanding of the brand voice and corporate identity will avoid incorrect usage and time-wasting errors.

  • Deliverables and Timelines: Timing and choice of possible tactics are critical to keeping the creative team on track and engaging all the stakeholders.

Brilliant Briefs Aren’t Quick or Easy

Some companies and agencies don’t see the value of compiling this volume of information based on how much time it may take to dive deeper into the details. The reality, however, is that greatness isn’t quick or easy – it’s work. The brilliance of a brief is in the detailed definitions that all stakeholders can agree are the critical components to building the best story and, ultimately, the most effective campaign.

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