The Power of a Creative Brief

Photo by jeshoots.com on Unsplash

Marketing and advertising seem to overlap more and more each day. Now marketers are expected to not only develop and execute marketing strategy, but they must also be copywriters, and at times provide creative direction. In other words, marketers are like utility players, which requires them to move from a creative mindset to a strategic mindset seamlessly. Those that are successful have found a way to balance the alternate thought processes by recognizing the differences, finding commonalities and utilizing standard processes to delineate between the two worlds.

What hasn’t changed is that marketers work directly with the creative team to execute marketing/advertising campaigns and one-off tactics. As one would expect most marketers think and communicate differently than creatives (and visa versa). Therefore, it is critical that the two parties find a way to effectively communicate with one another to ensure a successful outcome. One of the best ways to set the ground work is to write a creative brief that includes the items that are important to you from a marketing perspective and the elements will help the creative team translate your vision and words into a visual or audio presentation.

When writing the brief, you should be sure to include as much information as possible, but in a concise manner. The document shouldn’t exceed two pages, remember quality over quantity. Your goal should be that the brief is so complete that someone off the street could pick it up and know what to do. Below are the elements that should be included in every creative brief:

  • Assignment
  • Background/Overview
  • Goals
  • Objectives
  • Channels
  • Target Audience
  • Customer Insights
  • Key Messages
  • Considerations
  • Tone
  • Look and Feel
  • Mandatory Items
  • Call to Action
  • Links
  • File Format Requests
  • Ad Specifications
  • Tracking Codes
  • Competitors
  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Metrics
  • Team

Depending on the size of the project, you may not to include all of the elements listed above. As you develop your relationship with the creative team, you likely will tweak the brief to fit the needs of the creative team, your client, and yourself. This blog post is here to help you get started and provide guidance.

Another benefit to the creative brief is that you can share it with your client (whether that be internal or external). By giving the client the opportunity to see the creative brief before it is given to the creative team, allows you to make sure you have accurately and comprehensively communicated the assignment and its details. By taking this step, you could possibly eliminate several rounds of revisions, the potential of going over budget and scope creep. Taking this step will add to the timeline, but is time well spent. In addition, it will give you a chance to meet with your client and further foster the business relationship.  

Once the creative brief is written and approved by the client, now it is time to share it with the creative team. If it is a pretty simple request, sending an email will likely suffice. However, if the brief is complex, high profile, or comes with a hefty budget, it is best to meet with the creative team. During this meeting you should walk them through the creative brief, answer their questions, make edits, and agree on the timeline and budget. After this step is complete, it is critical that you maintain frequent communication with the creative team to ensure all the stakeholders are on the same page throughout the development of the assets. By communicating frequently throughout the process, you will likely eliminate or at the very least significantly reduce unnecessary delays to the project.

Click here to download a free creative brief template from Hubspot.

What tips do you have for writing a comprehensive and useful creative brief? Share your tips in the comment section.

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