A briefing on briefs
The creative contract
The creative brief is the most important document in any project. It’s a summary of all briefings, research and meetings up to that stage, usually written by the agency in consultation with the client. The brief is our guide, establishing the boundaries and defining ambitions. It ensures everyone is on the same page. Most importantly, it’s a contract agreeing the strategic direction and key message.
So how do we turn your brief into compelling communication? Quite simply: we read the brief, re-read the brief and then after that, read the brief again (and again). All the time checking our ideas against your goals. It’s the yardstick to evaluate all creative work, the crucial question being, ‘Is the work on brief?’
Identifying a good creative brief
The clue is in the title: it’s called a brief, not a ‘long’. A brief should ideally cover no more than one side of A4. What is relevant to cracking the problem? Cut out the unnecessary. Discard the irrelevant. Don’t try to cram in everything but the kitchen sink. Ensure it flows, makes sense and contains no conflicting points.
A good creative brief is:
- Inspiring – immediately suggesting creative opportunities
- Concise – neatly encapsulating campaign goals, objectives, timings and budget
- Clear – stating criteria against which the creative output should be evaluated
The single-minded proposition
This is the most important sentence on the brief. It’s what everything boils down to. Imagine you’re a 1930s door-to door salesman: what’s the first thing you’d say after introducing yourself? E.g. “Hello, I’m John from Hoover. I’d like to talk to you today about an amazing machine that will save you hours of housework.” Find and concisely sum up the single most important thing to get across. All the rest of the information in the brief is important, but secondary. Back up the proposition with history, background, aim of the piece, target audience, type of communication, timings, budget etc.
The Epik brief template
|What are we saying?||· Succinct and specific description of the brand/ service|
|Why are we saying it now?||· Singular objectives/KPIs by which the work will ultimately be judged and measured – usually numerically expressed (Sales? enquiries? Awareness? Clicks? Etc.)|
|Who are we saying it to?||· Avoid demographics and segments. Describe vivid, real people.
· How are our audience different from other people in their demographic?
· Single out a primary target audience, even if you have multiple audiences
|What do they think now?||· What is their relationship with the product/ service?
· What do they like about it?
· What do they think about the competitors?
|What do we want them to think?||· What do we want them to do/think/feel as a result of seeing the communication?|
|The single-minded proposition||· Focus on the most motivating and relevant benefit
· Keep it simple and single minded. One plain English sentence with no ands and commas. Say one thing well.
· Remember it’s not the sexy end line, it’s just the message in layman’s terms that provides a creative springboard
|How can we support this?||· Why should the audience believe the proposition?
· Which facts support it?
|Tone of voice||· If the product/ service was a person how would they speak?
· What are our brand values? (These shouldn’t change as brands aren’t schizophrenic.)
|Executional guidelines||· The fewer you include, the less restricted the creative work.|
|Output||· What do we need to present to the client?|
|Hygiene factors||· Date of the first review
· Campaign launch date (especially if media has been booked and paid for)
· Budget allocated by the client
· Date for legal sign-off etc.
Briefing is Epik
At Epik we’re as passionate about good briefing as good work. After all, one leads to the other. We do all we can to make the process as fun, fast and painless as possible so that we can all get onto the important business of selling. To brief Epik call +44 207 459 4433.