How to Write a Good Creative Brief
Recently, I was trying to explain to people who didn't work in marketing the project I was working on, which was writing a creative brief. I worked at advertising agencies for over a decade and creative briefs were the start of most projects. I grew up in my career knowing the importance of a strong brief. It was just part of the process towards developing advertising campaigns. It wasn't until I had to explain it to an outsider that I realized how abstract this written document is.
What is a creative brief?
A creative brief is a one-page document that succinctly outlines an assignment that a creative team (art director and copywriter) work on. It includes information like:
The goal for the advertising
Who you're targeting
A description of the brand or product you're selling
Why the people you're selling to should care about your brand/product
The one main message you need to get across
Proof you have for why people should believe your main message
Why do you need a creative brief?
There are two main reasons for a creative brief:
1. It is a way to make sure that the agency and the client are on the same page. Most times, the client either provides too much or too little information about the project so the agency will need to fill in the gaps. Reviewing the creative brief together ensures that both sides are aligned before spending time developing the advertising.
2. It inspires the creative team. Marketing plans and strategy documents that talk a lot about the company and its products won't generate advertising that stands out. The creative brief takes the marketing strategy a step further by telling a story about the product that the creative team can work from.
Here's how to write a good creative brief:
The most important step to take when writing a good creative brief is to not focus on the product you're selling. Instead focus on the person you're selling to. For any creative brief, at the end of the day, the goal is the same no matter what the assignment - you are trying to get the attention of a group of people. The creative brief needs to illustrate who the customer is, beyond just their demographics. What are their characteristics? What motivates them? What are their pain points? Study who you are targeting and find a connection between who they are and what the product you're advertising has to offer. That's the core of the creative brief.
A thoughtful, strategic creative brief takes time to develop but a strong brief to start the project produces better creative that everyone gets excited by, including the people you're selling to.