Creative Brief – The Starting Point For Marketing

creative brief

The creative brief seems to have gone out of fashion. Sometimes a client needs help completing a brief, which is understandable, but for marketing managers, the creative brief should form a cornerstone of their marketing training.

What’s so important about a creative brief?

Whether you’re briefing a designer, media buyer or marketing consultant the creative brief is the document that should be created at the start of every marketing project.

Sadly, the creative brief is sometimes lacking, sometimes forgotten altogether. Recently I was asked to quote for a social media campaign without any of the detail about who they were trying to target, what their objectives were or…. well any detail really. Obviously, it was impossible to provide an estimate for a project without a brief.

Call it what you will – a campaign brief, project brief, design brief – at the end of the day all marketing needs a brief. This topic is a known source of frustration for creatives in the industry.

The Marketoonist's take on the creative brief process.
The Marketoonist’s take on the creative brief process.

So why is a creative brief important?

It gives essential direction at the start of a project

The brief should spell out the general business context – the ‘why are we doing this’. The context allows your supplier to understand how you have got to this place and why you need a solution.

It will save time (and money)

Clarity from the outset will ensure that the project delivers what you are looking for. Without that clarity, your supplier won’t know that you do and don’t want from the project and it could be that the answer you are given isn’t actually what you were looking for.

Be clear about your requirements in the creative brief and you will get a solution that meets your needs.

It states objectives and measurement

The creative brief will prompt you to think about your objectives and how success will be measured. In today’s digital marketing world measurement and evaluation are integral to any marketing activity. What do you want to achieve and how will you know if you have achieved it?

It questions your customer insight

Do you know what will motivate your prospects to engage with your brand? What insights do you have into the market, your customer behaviours, needs and wants? A creative brief challenges you to document your insights and find out more about your target markets so that you can help shape a solution that speaks to their needs.

It provides a shorter approval process

If the creative brief is agreed on upfront by stakeholders (tip – it should be) then everyone who plays a role in the approval process will be agreed on the requirements at the start of the project. This can literally save days at the end of a project. There’s nothing worse than presenting a finished creative, plan or strategy and an important stakeholder questioning the overall direction of the project.

If you develop a thorough creative brief upfront and circulate it for stakeholder approval before sending it on you can avoid many hours of compromise and additional cost later.

If you are ready to brief a project but don’t know where to start you can use our creative brief template. You’re welcome.

Also published on Medium.

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Roisin Kirby is an experienced Marketing Consultant based in Nottingham (UK), specialising in Education and Public Sector marketing. A Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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