How to Make a Creative Brief and How to Use It

By MAD Contributor-Freak Corinne Enright

Have you ever felt like you and your creative partners don’t see eye to eye?

Advertisers feel this way all the time. One of their most common complaints is that clients provide them with a vague description at the outset of the project, then shoot down the final product with a vague criticism like, “I don’t know . . . it just doesn’t pop enough,” or “It doesn’t fit with our vision.” It’s just as frustrating for the client: after all, if you could set down a clear vision for the project in just a few well-chosen words, you wouldn’t need contractors. Fortunately, most advertising agencies (including The MAD House) realize this, and clear up confusion at the outset by making creative briefs.

To make a creative brief, you and your creative partners will have a series of meetings (can be in person, on the phone, or even online questionnaires), making sure to involve all interested parties. In those meetings, you’ll be asked some questions like these:

  • Who is the audience? You know more about their market than the agency ever can. You know how old the average buyer is, how many men and how many women use the products, and the kind of personality the brand appeals to. Also, maybe more important: are you trying to appeal to your current base, or expand?
  • Who is the competition? If you have a competitor, it’s because they provide a similar product or service. What sets their product apart? Why is your product better than the competition’s? The answer may end up as the focus of the ad.
  • What is the message? What do you want communicated? Be as specific as possible. Try to express the tone the ad is supposed to set, and what feeling it’s supposed to communicate.
  • How radical should we be? An amazing number of corporate disasters start with a miscommunication on this score. Explain whether you’re looking for a slightly updated version of your current direction, or a complete overhaul.
  • Who needs to know what we’re doing, and when? Make sure the creative team knows whom they’re reporting to, how soon their deadlines are, and their preferred means of contact. Preferably, there is a single point of contact.

These are just a few examples, most questionnaires are a bit more in-depth. Everything you learn in those meetings will be written down in one detailed, well-organized memo – the creative brief. The brief will be the creative team’s bible for the rest of the project. They’ll check it regularly, and refer back to it whenever they get stuck. Through the brief comes clarity. Hopefully, you won’t have any more trouble with communication.

For more about the creative brief, click through to visit our website. If you have questions about this or any other topic, don’t hesitate to contact us.