SPECS top 5 thoughts for better briefs!
On the back of the 'Better Briefs' research which identified that 33% of every Marketing Budget is wasted on poor briefs and misdirected work, we thought we would put together our top 5 tips for a great brief, and even better creative work! Enjoy
1. Make sure you are speaking the same language. I’ve spoken about this before, but it is crucial, especially when you are briefing an agency. The number of times that I’ve seen clients think one thing, and the agency think the other is countless. For instance, something as seemingly unambiguous as ‘brand proposition’ I’ve seen some clients use it, but actually be referring to a brand platform as opposed to what I think the general understanding of what a brand proposition is. Irrespective if there is room for ambiguity, make sure you both know you are talking about the same thing, and you will prevent misalignment from the off.
2. Don’t jump into the creative solve – leave room for the ‘craft’. Throughout my career I’ve always thought Marketeers (and arguably myself) don’t enough bandwidth to the creative department to add their magic to a creative brief. Having worked both sides of the fence – I can see how it stifles the creative process. The majority of briefs I read resemble a join the dots roadmap to the creative that the Marketer has subconsciously already sold themselves. Instead, when you are briefing, brief what business metrics you want to shift, what your ambition for the brand is, who you are targeting and what change you want to elicit. That way you will fully extract the valued experience out of your creative departments – you do after all pay them a significant amount for their thinking!
3. Be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable – Linked to the above, I think Marketers have a rather risk adverse approach to creative. It’s not massively surprising given the pressure, and broad remit that modern marketers must bridge. I would however say that if you haven’t locked down a brief, and subconsciously just briefed a roadmap to the brief you want, then you will get work back which will be slightly outside of your expectations, and I think that’s a good thing! Feeling slightly uncomfortable when you review first scripts / creative shows you are pushing boundaries and questioning the status quo of what’s gone before.
4. Media Agnostic – unless you’re briefing a very specific agency for a specific project, a brief to a creative agency should always be agnostic. Seemingly for as long as I can remember this has been the case, but I’ve seen more briefs of late stating ‘press ad’ and more and more ‘Digital’. There are so many ways to activate a creative idea – putting a constraint on the way it is expressed from the outset again restricts the ultimate creativity of the idea, and again the experience of your creative team could find a better more disruptive way to execute the idea.
5. Less is more. It’s always very tempting to add more detail to a brief. Seemingly every word you add is an opportunity to further clarify the brief, but it’s another opportunity to further constrain the creative process and prevent your creative team delivering something truly unique.