5 ways to write a ‘meaningful’ creative brief

by Katie Leeman.

14 August 2020.

What if you considered the creative brief to be more useful than you originally thought?

“A briefing document identifies a particular problem, with the goal of getting others to also address the issue.”

That’s the Wikipedia definition but I consider the creative brief to be more than just a form you fill in – it’s the day-to-day creation of building a successful and relevant brand. It’s the starting point of the creative journey for your agencies, where the magic happens and the first step to ensuring your project is on the right track.

Everyone and anyone who works on a brand are responsible for its daily growing pains, its general ups and downs and the occasional identity crisis. However, as a Marketing Executive, your job is to make sure your brand is fed, watered and loved unconditionally. You are responsible for ensuring that it’s consistent, relevant, and behaving how it should. The humble creative brief can help you with this.

Imagine that your brand is made up of numerous blocks and each one of these blocks is a creative brief. If you’re a big brand then that’s a lot of blocks (creative briefs) going out the door on a daily basis to maintain your brand awareness – from social comms, seasonal campaigns, video content through to product launches and press ads.

With that in mind, to build a strong ‘Brand Wall’, all of these creative briefs should be written with the same passion and enthusiasm. Regardless of who these briefs are for, all should be consistent. It’s this consistency that allows you to build and expand your ‘Brand Wall’ higher and wider each year.

Now I know creative briefs aren’t that exciting to fill in, especially with the blank boxes staring at you. But this is your chance to actually write and contribute to your brand in a meaningful way because ‘what you put in your briefing sheet is what you get out of it’.

Here at MYWW™ we have fine-tuned and evolved our creative briefing process to be relevant to our clients. We use it as a tool to unearth the unwritten details of a project and are constantly finding new ways to help our clients creatively translate what they need.

Here are 5 ways to write a meaningful creative brief:

  • Shift your form-filling mindset – You’re not just filling in a form, you’re presenting your agency with a creative challenge. This challenge should inspire and bring out the best in your agency – make them think differently about what you are looking to achieve.
  • Avoid using marketing jargon – Use your words to communicate what is needed, after all, you know the brand better than an agency will. By explaining the problem as if you were talking to an alien can help you have clarity on what is needed from your creatives.
  • Little decisions make a big difference – Think strategically about each brief and the role it plays in building your ‘Brand Wall’. How will this project benefit the brand? How does your brief align with your business goals? By having an overview of your marketing activity for the year, you can recognise patterns that can inform your day-to-day briefs and decision making.
  • Implement a bravery scale approach to your projects – Applying a bravery scale (from 1-10) drastically reduces confusion between colleagues and stakeholders as to where a project should sit creatively. Some projects call for a simple translation of the brand (2-3) whereas an ATL campaign may be much braver (7-8). Attributing a number to your project gives your creative agency a clear space to play in and serves as an indicator of how your projects have performed, helping you to decrease or increase the number (bravery) for upcoming projects.
  • Find your own way to brief – Everyone is unique and we all express ourselves in different ways. If filling in a form doesn’t suit you, how can you mix up how you give briefs? We suggest talking it through or sharing visuals that you like to help get your point across. Analogies and movies or book references are also useful when it comes to explaining creative notions.

So remember, that lovely creativebrief_template.docx that sits on your desktop is the catalyst for all your marketing projects. It’s the key to exploring and communicating your brand’s whims and wishes and essential to successful brand building.

Go forth and brief!­

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