With social media, digital advertising and search media, marketing is moving faster than ever. You still need a creative brief; however, you might need to try our mini creative brief. We are seeing things speed up, with opportunities come to brand leaders need quick decisions and even faster execution. If your brand has a solid brand communications plan, you should be able to create a mini brief with a clear objective, consumer target and insight, the desired response, and the main message.
Slowing down will make you go faster.
Going too fast sometimes takes too long. With the explosion of media options, timing is everything. Unfortunately, there are too many “phone call briefs” happening. Even worse, no brief at all.
Without a brief, too many things could go wrong. When you see the creative options, you have to rely on your memory and instincts. When you try to present it to your boss, there is nothing to guide them through their decision-making. One round of rejection by your boss, and you will be wondering why you did not just take the 15-30 minutes to organize your thoughts and write a mini brief.
How to transform your strategy into a creative brief
Let’s look at the seven questions of the brand communications plan
- Who is in our consumer target?
- What are we are selling?
- Why should they believe us?
- What is our organizing brand idea?
- What do we need our advertising to do?
- And, what do we want people to think, feel or do?
- Where will our consumer be most receptive to see and act upon our brand message?
Do the strategic homework you developed through the brand communications plan, and begin to populate the 12 questions of your creative brief.
This should allow you to turn all the thinking into a master creative brief, that should be able to serve your brand for up to a year. For each smaller project, you can opt for the mini brief above.
The creative brief should define “the strategic box” for the creative to play within.
Most great creative advertising people I have met are problem solvers, not inventors. I would describe them as ‘in-the-box’ creative thinkers, not blue sky “out-of-the-box” dreamers. If they need a good problem to solve, then give them your problems, but never your solutions. Never give your creative team a blank slate or blank canvas and ask them to come up with an ad. Use the creative brief to create the right box for them to play in, and to solve your problem.
When I see marketers writing a big, wide brief with too many objectives, a vague target, and cluttered messaging, I wonder if you have unknowingly created too much strategic freedom. While you might think writing a big, wide creative brief provides room for creativity, it does not. Your agency will see you as confused, and will likely just peel the brief apart, rewrite the brief how they want, then provide you with strategic options, instead of creative options. The problem is that you will be choosing your strategy based on which ad you like.
When I see marketers write a big, long laundry list of mandatories, everyone knows you are just trying to control the creative output. Do not create a tangled web of mandatories that almost write the ad itself, or you will trap the creative team into taking various elements in the mandatory list and build a Frankenstein-type ad. If you want great work – and I know you do – give your agency the creative freedom they need.
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