A good creative brief can be therapeutic. Bear with me here. You walk into a meeting thinking you know exactly what your brand challenge is and how to fix it. You just need the agency to execute. Then, you get to talking.
You realize that your brand challenge is stickier than you thought. Or, that you really havenâ€™t mined all the cracks and crevices of a particular opportunity before plunging into a plan of action.
Hereâ€™s where a stellar creative brief comes in.
Ideally, the creative brief is a conversation, not an email. You sit in a comfy swivel chair and talk about big, hairy brand challenges and audacious dreams, not headcounts and budgets. You say to your agency, â€œI want my peers and customers at this industry event to want to have a long-term relationship with my brand. I want them to call my brand late at night just to talk. I want them to hang out with my brand in the cafeteria. I want them to see us and want to be or work with us.â€
This is vague, but a good start. A good agency will listen carefully, nod and jot down notes. Then, get to the core of the challenge or opportunity.
Theyâ€™ll ask probing questions that will uncover new insights. â€œWhy donâ€™t your customers want to call your brand just to talk and who are they calling instead? Why do you want these particular peers to sit with you in the cafeteria? What tangible or intangible benefits can you offer peers and customers at this event? Whatâ€™s the first thing you want them to think, feel and do when they see your brand? And, when they leave the event, what do you want them to remember about your brand?â€
These questions will lead to healthy conversations about your brand. Each and every creative brief â€” no matter how large or small the project â€” is an opportunity to dream (and plan) big. Unfortunately, most creative briefs get bogged down in logistics, scope, budgets and timelines. They leave little room for fearless dreaming.
But the creative brief can, and should, be more than a Word template. It should give the client clarity on a specific brand challenge or opportunity. It should also remind the agency of its Hippocratic Oath: We vow to do what is creative and right for your brand.