Let’s pause for a moment to think about the amount of time spent on coordinating and executing a campaign. Okay, now let’s think about how important it is to organize the content of that campaign to ensure the most efficient and effective outcome. It’s a little overwhelming isn’t it? Well don’t fret! That’s where the creative brief comes in hand.
A creative brief is a document generated from initial meetings and discussions with a client that outlines the goals of a campaign or project. The brief will unveil any questions, drivers, the target audience, the key message, company background and any details in between. So, essentially this creative “brief” isn’t so brief at all, considering the amount of information that is gathered from it.
When working with multiple people, in multiple departments on a campaign or project, it is imperative that each individual has the same information. Having the same knowledge of the project establishes structure and direction and allows for a more fruitful campaign as an end result. So, let’s discuss some of the key ingredients to a creative brief, shall we? Here at five topics you should always include in a creative brief:
- The Big Picture
First and foremost, you need to introduce the project to your team. Give your employees (who are so diligently going to be working on this project) an idea of who the company is. What’s their mission? What do they sell or what types of services do they offer? What are they best known for? Then give an overview of the project itself and how you’re going to execute it for them. Why are you running this campaign or project? What needs to be done in order to accomplish success? How will the campaign be distributed?
Next, discuss the objectives of the project. This is where the goals of the client come in. By addressing the objectives of a project, you are able to set expectations for the project. Explain what type of content you are going to be creating (i.e. a web video, an entire campaign, a print ad, etc.) Tackle these questions for your team: What are the key deliverables? What are the deadlines?
What are you trying to achieve and what is the purpose of your work? For example is the purpose of this particular project to increase sales? Bring awareness to a cause? Boost the actual brand itself? Hire new employees?
- Target Audience
Audience is obviously important. The creative brief is where you define the audience of the project. Keep in mind that your client’s audience may be different for each project or campaign you’re involved in. It’s important to know whom you’re reaching with this project because the entire scope of the project could change depending on audience. For instance, an educational video for internal employees will contain completely different content than an educational video for potential buyers. Why? Because the audience is different!
- Key Message
What is your single-minded proposition (or unique selling point)? What is your key message? In the end, you are trying to leave your audience with a takeaway. Whether this takeaway is to purchase a new product, try out a new service or simply have your brand in mind for future needs, it is your goal to make this message powerful.
- The Details
Now that your team has a basic understanding of whom the project is for, what audience you’re targeting and what takeaways you’re trying to get across, fill in the details. Some of this is covered in your project objectives, but make sure you firm up who is doing what, when deadlines are required, address any questions that still need to be answered by the client, and give references or examples to the creative on your team.
Core Creative puts it this way, “At the beginning of a new project, or a new campaign, how many times have we heard, ‘The sky’s the limit. Be creative. Anything goes.’ We’ll think, ‘Hey, cool. We can do anything we want. We can go anywhere with this. There are so many places we could take this! Ok, where do we start?’ And then paralysis sets in” (Higgins).
A creative brief helps to guide all individuals involved—presenting the situation at hand and finding a solution for the campaign. Throughout the project, you can reference the creative brief to ensure that you are keeping the original goals and objectives in mind. This allows for an overall desired result for the end project or campaign.