It’s not new but it’s true: the brief is the essential tool needed to kick off a project. It will serve as an important reference point for defining a strategy, the structuring of ideas and, of course, orienting of the creative.
What is the brief really used for?
The brief can often become a neglected or even forgotten element of the campaign process. Nevertheless, if it is well structured, the brief will allow information that is important to the development of the project to be highlighted. For all partners.
The impact of the brief
To efficiently build a campaign and allow everyone to get off on the right foot, it’s important to understand the impact of a brief.
To come up with a solid strategy and good creative, we have to equip the teams that will be present for the brief with the best knowledge we have. A brief often arises from a need that hasn’t been properly evaluated previously. We can therefore infer that there has been a lack of recognition of this need, a lack of preparation, perhaps, in mandating a partner to perform a certain task, and a lack of context for the problem to be resolved. Hence, we risk creating a brief lacking in information, that clarifies little and that won’t help the teams work effectively. A good brief will also serve as a reference for every step of the project.
On the other hand, a good brief will allow the teams on your project to respond appropriately to your objectives. You mustn’t be afraid to open certain discussions during the brief: your questions about specific issues will help us better respond to your expectations. The client-partner’s role will also be to help us identify them.
Standing out by the quality of the brief
Even if it isn’t the first mandate with a given partner, you can’t take anything for granted. Putting into context the problem to be resolved will allow us to set the table from the very beginning.
Attention: even if it’s important to define the bases of the mandate, don’t get caught not seeing the forest for the trees. Here are three key elements that are essential for a succinct and inspiring brief:
- Precision: call a spade a spade. It’s crucial to highlight what is working well and what is not working well. Your partner is there to see the situation as it truly is.
- Efficiency: get quickly to what is essential. Give a context, sure, but don’t devote more than a paragraph to presenting it. More is too much. Remember the old advertising adage: if I’d had more time, I would have made it shorter. Take the time.
- Expectations: whether they concern strategy, creative or media, point them out!
When writing a brief, it’s wise to use words that speak to you. Avoid using words that are too technical, or empty expressions such as “a wow effect”. Or “a breath of fresh air”. Or worse “a wow effect that is a breath of fresh air”. It will be the role of the person being briefed to inspire you to clarity.
An important thing to remember: plan the brief in advance. This will facilitate a better reading of the mandate and thus the optimized management of resources and time. As well as the communication of critical information such as key dates: (taking into account overloaded agendas, vacations , deliveries, etc.), the budget (a fixed fee, a budgetary range, etc.), or even the brand’s ambition for the campaign (brand recognition, client acquisition, etc.). You must remind yourself that your client-partner is there to help you in making the story take form.
Again attention: even if the information must be complete and pertinent, it must also be concise and direct. To conclude, we want to get to the end of the project successfully, but in the most efficient way possible. This will allow you to stand out as a great partner.