I’ve been writing a lot of creative briefs lately and thought it would be helpful to share what I’ve learned over the years. First, let’s all agree on the benefits of a Creative Brief. A creative brief provides the vision and guardrails for all work to be done on a creative project. The brief summarizes marketing touchpoints and makes it easier for both client and agency side representatives to keep track of their progress.
Please use these questions below as a template to develop a creative brief that gets your creative team excited. By the way in the title, you should have pronounced “killer” as “Killa” as in Ghostface Killa. Take it from someone who grew up in Boston, pronunciation matters.
10 Questions the Creative Brief Answers
The ideal creative brief will document the partnership between client and agency throughout the project in a way that informs and guides the process. To craft your best brief, be sure to consider these 10 important questions.
1. Why is the project necessary now?
Start with Why (hat tip to Simon Sinek). Consider what opportunity is driving the project now or what challenges may have motivated the client to partner with your agency. This awareness can help shape what is done, how it’s done, and how the project output is used.
2. What are the goals of this project?
Focus on just a few overall objectives to keep the brief focused and the project manageable. Ideally, focus on S.M.A.R.T. goals, but that’s between you and your client.
3. What are the project parameters?
Identify what must be included, and format limitations or restrictions, the agreed upon deliverables as well as the project timeline and budget.
4. Who is the audience?
Know the audience the project is intended for and what they see as the product, service, or brand’s strengths or weaknesses.
5. What are the roles?
Outline who is responsible for what tasks as well as who the client and agency contacts are, who should be consulted for approval along the way, and who needs to be informed of progress or new pressures.
6. How does this project differentiate the business from its competitors?
Awareness of market conditions and industry competitors and how the work at hand will help the product, service, or brand stand out can help focus both creative and client teams.
7. What is the key message?
Position the project’s tone, message, style around the brand voice and objectives, whether the aim is to identify a new message or find a new way to communicate an existing one.
8. How will the message be communicated?
Narrow down the many communication channels (or not), but be sure that both agency and client are clear on all the ways that the message will be delivered to the audience.
9. How will the work’s success be evaluated?
Establishing in advance the criteria for evaluation can foster stronger client-agency relationships long-term. In other words, make sure there are agreed-upon metrics so everyone knows whether goals have been reached.
10. What is your agency adding?
Offer a fresh perspective, have an opinion, innovate, or find a solution to an old problem for the client. Don’t settle for doing only what they asked of you. What keeps a client coming back is the sense that you’re able to provide them solutions they didn’t even know they were looking for before you were so smart to show them what a difference it could make.
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