With over 23 years of experience grafting with scalpels, drafting tables, manual paste-ups, galley text, PMT machines, Cow Gum, hairdryers, toilet roll, lighter fluid, Rotring pens, LC11s to MacBookPros, email marketing, websites and social media..... you could say I've seen a fair few creative briefs in my time. I've always wondered what it would be like if I was in my clients’ shoes and I had to write a brief to 'the designers' - how easy or hard would it be? Especially if I was personally responsible for the ROI. Gulp.
Seriously, just how much information would I include? Would I be uber efficient and write every single bit of detail down? Just to make sure the designer has everything he needs. Or would I try to distill it all down and be concise? Well maybe that day will come when I put away my designer's pencil, move across to the client side and write my first brief. How would I do? I'd seriously like to have a go, as I do believe (after all these years) I know what a good brief looks like.
Have you ever wondered if you're doing it right? Well here's a little thought and input from me that I hope may help on your next project briefing.
- Keep the brief short. Some of the best briefs I've ever seen take up no more than two sides of A4. That's not an easy task.
- Give an overview of the company, but keep it short as well. Designers by their very nature will do their homework and will find out everything they need to know about the company they are working for.
- Explain the product or service you are offering in detail but don't go overboard.
- Do get to the point quickly, spell out what result you would like to see.
- Above all else, have a single-minded proposition or a unique selling point. What is it that makes your product or service better than your competitors?
- Provide your research on the state of the market place, your competitor analysis. This is all too often overlooked and yet really important for the designers.
- Do get your brief signed off by all parties who are likely to have an input on the decision.
- Do be honest and let us know who in the company makes the final decision, be it a collective, the MD or even the Head of Sales (seen that one a few times).
- Do give us a historical overview of the work you've done in the past and the outcomes.
- Be prepared and have the assets ready for the agency to move forward.
- If you have corporate guidelines, make sure you pass them on. Oh, and don't forget to let us know if they are truly binding or we have room for a little play.
- Do leave a healthy amount of time for a considered agency response (but we understand that isn't always easy).
Hopefully some of you may find this useful. However, is there a better and more productive way?
I'd like to offer an altogether better suggestion: Let's TALK!
Write your brief, get it signed off, then why not come down and have a proper briefing session where we can all talk. This is my idea of a perfect brief as it gets the designers and client together, the media planners, the PR wizards, the account handlers. Put the right people in the mix and the results usually pay dividends.
As it’s the New Year, why not give it a try and hopefully you’ll see great results.