Date26th Apr 2016
CategoryMarketing Strategy/Marketing tips/News/
AuthorBoxed Red

Creative briefing: 8 questions to help you get the best from your next project


At the beginning of any project, almost everyone is ready to see the finished article. As a customer you’re conscious of your deadline and wider objectives, and as an agency, we’re raring to go on the creative aspect that brings your project to life.

But there is one, absolutely crucial part of the process that is often skimmed over without much thought to its importance in getting the results you’re after.

Of course – it’s the brief!

A great brief:

  • Outlines the deliverables required
  • Aligns our expectations on delivery and outcomes
  • Gives the creative team scope, direction and a little freedom
  • Saves time and money by minimising revisions
  • Achieves better quality work by providing direction

When you put this amount of importance on the brief, it can sound a little daunting – but never fear! Ask yourself the following eight questions when writing your next brief, and you’ll really get the best from your next project.

1. What’s the background?

Even if you’ve been working with your agency for a long time, it’s worth having a recap of the activity leading up to this particular project.

A quick chat or list of bullet points about where your company is now, and what has happened in the recent past can provide vital insight into how this new project fits into the bigger picture.

2. Who is the target market, and what problem do they have?

Again, you might already have covered this with previous projects, or assume your agency know this information already. But it’s worth covering again to make sure we’re communicating with the right customers, in the right way.

Any nuggets of information that helps us zone in on your target market can help steer the strategy of your project and deliver results.

3. What is the objective?

This is something that is likely to change for every project, and should have priority in every new brief you create.

Is the goal to develop a new brand identity that reflects your company’s core values? Or build a striking email campaign that generates sales for your new product or service?

Knowing the goal will help our team come up with new ideas and concepts that really drive the message home to your customers.

4. What are the deliverables?

This is where you can begin to visualise the finished product. Are you expecting a new brand identity with accompanying guidelines document and corporate stationery? A series of completed adverts ready to send off to a publication?

We need a really clear picture of what it is you want to see at the end, so we can all work towards it at every stage.

You don’t have to get the colouring pencils out and start designing, but an idea of whether you’re after a flyer or 48-page brochure is enough.

5. What is the budget and deadline? And are they flexible?

Do you have flexibility with your deadline, or are we facing a print deadline set by a national newspaper that simply cannot be moved?

Assigning a budget can also give us an idea of your expectations. Do we have flexibility at the top end of your budget to explore new concepts and innovative ideas? Or are we tied to an agreed price and timescale to get the job done?

6. What is non-negotiable?

This is where we discuss the deal breakers. What absolutely must make an appearance in this project? Think about logos, straplines, colours, photographs and brand elements that must be adhered to.

You can also use this time to think about what you don’t want to see. This may seem counterintuitive to discuss what you don’t want, but your agency can’t read your mind and might think the colour pink is ideal, when you absolutely can’t stand it!

Take some time over this part of your brief, and mention everything that must, or must not, make an appearance in the final draft.

7. Is there any additional information the agency might not know about?

The answer might be ‘no, there’s nothing extra to share’ and that’s fine. But there could be some pieces of information that will be useful as the project goes on.

For example, when briefing for an advertising campaign, have you seen an advert that you love, or one you hate? Are your competitors using a certain strapline that you think is getting great results?

This is the time to think about the eventualities, as far as possible. Any insight shared now could help prevent revisions and delays in the future.

8. Am I happy to sign this off?

Once the brief has been considered and reviewed, it’s time to commit. Are you happy to set this brief out with our creatives to let them work their magic?

If there are any niggles, gaps or grey areas, get them cleared up now before the work begins and it becomes harder and more time consuming to make changes down the line.

It’s time to get cracking!

Writing the perfect brief can be a challenge for both clients and agencies alike, but these considerations can really streamline the whole process and vastly improve the quality of work you get at the other end.

Let us guide you through the process of writing your next brief, and see the improvements for yourself!



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