How to write the perfect brief

Following the article we wrote for The Drum recently, here we distill the 12 points it takes to write a cracking creative brief for your marketing agency or team.

First of all, don’t make it too long. But don’t be obsessed with making it too short either. Include the information you need to include. Each client and project is unique and will likely require a different amount of information than the previous brief. Ignore the people who bang on about always wanting a one-page brief, it’s horses for courses.

So what should the brief include? There are always fundamental pieces of information that give us a fantastic basis to get started:

1 – Task

What problem are we trying to solve – what’s the focus?

2 – Deliverables

What actually needs to be delivered? Flesh this out in as much detail as possible in as clear an order or format as possible. Bullet points are good here.

3 – Background

This is a depository for relevant information. It can be communicating what you do in a bit more detail or explaining what has lead up to you writing the brief, such as business decisions supporting the project, context for the project and reasons that have led to this project’s emergence.

4 – Objectives

What do you want to achieve? What must the project do or communicate?

5 – Audience

Who are we talking to? And what do we know about them? Who are the specific audience profiles to be considered?

6 – Channels

What channel will this work live in? Is it known at this stage? This usually comes last, once we know what you need to say and to who.

7 – Message

What are we saying? This is perhaps the most important section. Answering it effectively can mean a large research programme, adhering to previous brand work/campaigns or simply making a call after some planning work.

8 – Tone of Voice

How should we talk to your audience? How do we communicate as this brand? If this hasn’t been defined you can’t just leave it blank – it’s crucial – take time to get this bit as right as possible.

9 – Budget

It’s easy to say “how long is a piece of string?” here but ultimately, no-one wins. Any indication of the affordability from client side will help you to scope out the project in the most cost-effective way. Give a ballpark if an exact figure not known – and give an indication if there may be a second phase of investment.

10 – Measurement

How will success be measured? The objective/s should be so closely linked to the idea and he work.

11 – Mandatories

There will always be some things that must be avoided or included in the work. This is such a crucial, directional section. Give direction, failing to mention some preference here can be critical. It can be as crucial as you have to include X, Y, Z or we don’t like the use of capital letters.

12 – Possible Routes/Ideas

Don’t be afraid to give some starters for ten in terms of what the solution could look like. A creative who is confident in their own ability will not be afraid of taking a good idea and running with it. It can also help spark a different idea.

Nothing is final until the work is produced and nothing should be sacrosanct. So let your creative team challenge it if it needs challenging.

We are huge believers in the value of a brief and delivering against it is always our goal. Our proposition of Beautifully Effective overarches everything we do – and this helps us to achieve success.

Please get in touch if you have a brief to discuss or to find out more about our brandidentity or digital services, we’d love to hear from you.

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