Once your brand is defined and you’re ready to take that brand to market with an advertising campaign, direct marketing, a new website, social media content, paid online media, and any other element of outward-facing marketing, a creative brief helps you define the purpose of each particular piece of marketing communication underneath your brand umbrella.
When writing a creative brief, these are the questions that need to be answered:
1) Define the project deliverables.
What will be the result of the brief? Will it be a video? A website? An infographic? A whitepaper? An email campaign?
2) What is this effort expected to accomplish?
What is the goal of this particular creative project? What do we want to happen after the intended audience sees this piece of creative? What action do we want people to take?
3) Whom are we talking to?
A clear description of the intended audience, which should include demographics, psychographics, as well as how the audience currently thinks and feels about the brand or product in question.
4) What’s our message?
This is derived from your brand position and should include a statement that encapsulates the single most persuasive or compelling product benefit.
5) What do we want them to think or feel?
This is derived from the “Essence” step of the corporate identity process, and should describe the emotion you want your audience to feel after seeing this work.
6) What justification are we providing as support?
Explain why the audience should believe your claims. Here, you can detail the benefits of your product or service, why your offering is better than your competitors, and how these benefits substitute the claim you made in #4 (“What’s our message?”).
7) How is that different from other brands’ messaging?
Here you want to set yourself apart from the competition by clearly pointing out why your offering better serves the needs of your audience. Are you faster? Are you less expensive? Are you easier to implement?
8) How does this contribute to the brand’s positioning?
Every piece of communication you create must tie back to your brand identity. Here you can explain how this singular effort supports the greater brand promise.
9) Which practical considerations or restrictions are there?
The nuts and bolts of your campaign are explained here. If it’s a video, are there length preferences? Are there words or phrases that must be said? Are there things that you absolutely can’t say? Are there cost considerations or time constraints?
A creative brief becomes particularly handy, it concisely provides the direction needed to create the work, and it ensures everyone’s on the same page before resources are expended.