What is Project Briefing? How to write a good Briefing with all components?

By Sam

Project Brief is the outline of the entire ideas for a particular project. It is a very important component to communicate between client and agency.

A project brief is a kind of guideline that will help to construct the entire strategy for the agency as per the satisfaction level of the client. Most of the time as a client we do not give any guidelines to the agency and expect the agency as our mind reader which they are not and ultimately it ended up with again and again a repetition of the job and bitter experience for both sides.

If you search on the web you may find 100 templates on how to write a project brief? Here I try to extract only the important component. This will not take much of your time or anything complicated stuff but covers everything which will help both parties to complete the job on time and meet the budget as well.

 

Creative Brief: [Project Name]

The purpose of writing a Creative Brief is to clarify your thinking upfront and to force you to make decisions at the beginning of the marketing project so that the marketing or advertising agency can start working on it with a complete picture of what you want.

 

This process allows the design and production process to happen efficiently and therefore less expensively. People who don’t take the time to write a creative brief frequently end up making many changes to the requirements of the project during the project and these causes rework and ultimately lead to missed deadlines, higher costs, and frustrated designers and agencies.

A Creative Brief should be so complete that if you handed it over to the agency and disappeared for the duration of the project, the end result should be pretty close to what you wanted.

ProjectProject name
ClientClient company name
DateNovember 23, 2017
ContactContact name at the client
Emailemail
Phonephone
Mobilemobile

Project Description

Briefly describe the project in one or two sentences.

Background

Briefly describe any background to this project that would be helpful to the agency. Why are you doing this project? Is it part of or connected to anything else? i.e this is a new product launch for the company but there are 2 competitors in the market; or you have had this product for years and have just decided to invest in marketing it better. What’s going on in the market? Mention important trends. What are competitors doing?

Deliverables

What are the end deliverables? What will the agency actually provide you?  a functioning website, Social media platform where you can find your audience, writing SEO friendly blog for your site , email campaign or creating testimonial videos.

Requirements

List the requirements of the end deliverables. What are the key specs and requirements.

Mandatory Elements of Briefing

List the mandatory elements. Be careful here not to put too many items as you will tie the hands of your agency as far as the concepts or designs go.  Ideally, you want to give them the freedom to be as creative as possible. Potential mandatory items might include: a logo, a tagline, a website URL. By putting items on this list you are saying “Don’t show us any creative that does not have these things on it.”

 

Advertising Communication Strategy

It is important to include this section below because good agencies need this information in order to produce creative material that is “on strategy” for your brand. If you don’t give them a Communication Strategy then you are expecting them to create one for you out of thin air and that’s not their job. Their job is to take your Communication Strategy and bring it to life creatively in the elements you have asked for.

The inputs to the development of the Communication Strategy are generally research data and analysis using established marketing frameworks.  However, in a small organization, it is often just knowing you have about your organization and stakeholders that you can’t expect the agency to know, combined with some analysis (careful thought) of the options and a sense of where you want to go in the future.

Now in Part- 2 you have to be more specific to get better results on time.

 

WHO do you want to reach?

TermDefinitionExample
Strategic TargetThis is the subset of the total population that you want to target. The “strategic” adjective implies that you have made a definite choice, based on good data, regarding who is most likely to respond to your offering.Women, 18-49 years old
Prime ProspectsThis is the subset of your Strategic Target from whom you expect to get the greatest response in the immediate short term.  They should also be people who are relatively easy to target in clusters of some kind.Women who go to a fitness club or class at least 2X per week

What will you say to them?

TermDefinitionExample
Benefit or Unique Selling PropositionThis carefully chosen sentence or phrase must define what compelling benefit you will offer to your user or consumer. It must be focused on them and what they will gain, not a descriptor of positive attributes of your product or service (which are features). It must be short and to the point.Our Product [Product Name] helps you get the look you want and the protection your hair needs.
­­­­­­­Reason To Believe (RTB)This carefully chosen sentence or phrase must define why your consumer or user should believe that you can deliver your benefit. It is often a backup of your claim and states credentials or deeper explanation to make your benefit promise more compelling and believable. RTBs can be rational or emotional.Our [Shampoo] contains patented silk protein formulas which protect your hair against the damage that blow dryers, curling or flat irons can bring and work with heat to give you intense conditioning.
Brand CharacterIf your brand were a person what keywords about their character would you want to emphasize? (Eg. Fun or serious? Inspiring or chummy?)Beautiful, flirty and aspirational.
FeaturesThese are positive attributes of your product or service that ultimately create or deliver the benefit described above.

Comes in 200ml, 750ml and 1L sizes.

Comes in 4 versions: Normal, Dry, Oily, Permed/Color-Treated.

Widely available at retailers across the country.

How will you communicate it?

TermDefinitionExample
Other Media PlansIf you know what media you plan to use for other elements in the campaign then outline as much as you can here. It will help your agency develop a more holistic execution for you (one that ties in with the rest of your plan and therefore has a more powerful marketing effect.)Email Campaign to 200,000 homes who are already in the list, Target or Retarget strategy through Facebook. Website promotion etc.

You should not expect the agency to use your exact language from the Benefit or RTB statements in their executions. It is their job to be creative and to come up with language, headlines, etc that communicate the meaning of the Benefit and RTB even if it’s in different words.

When you see their creative concepts you should compare them back to this Creative Brief and ask, does their creative version communicate the message you asked for, even if in different words? If yes, then their creative is said to be “on strategy”, which it needs to be. If no, then their creative is “off strategy” and needs to be revised.

Insights into Target

This should ideally be based on research or focus groups, but if you know your stakeholders/end-users well you can write it yourself (Example: They are skeptical of ______________,  they resonate with _______________, they are concerned about ___________, they are looking for ____________).

Or you can add a persona to the brief.

Design Strategy

If you have an existing Design Strategy or Design Theme that must be followed, you should clarify that here. You would likely only have this if you have asked an agency to develop one for you. The Design Strategy is sometimes referred to as Brand Guidelines or a Mood Board. It specifies which fonts, colors and design themes have been chosen for this brand.  A Design Theme is a metaphor that defines the aesthetic direction of the Brand. It is an inspirational, not a literal execution.

For example, the design theme of ING Direct is “orange citrus fresh”. The design theme of FIDO is “as trustworthy and unique as your dog”. The design theme of the Gillette Venus shaving line is “sea glass.” When a brand does not have or consistently use a Design Strategy or Theme then over time the advertising produced for the brand will look like it was made by very different agencies with different styles and it may not even look like it was all from the same brand. This tends to weaken the brand in the marketplace.

Priority of Communication

When a person looks at a piece of advertising, their eye often goes to certain elements first which causes them to draw conclusions about whether or not the item is relevant.  It also impacts how long they continue reading before they move on. In this list, you specify the order of priority for the headlines or visuals as a guide to help the designer.

Desired Response

What do you want the viewer of this ad to do? Just know about you? Call and sign up? Refer a friend?  Feel something? The designer accordingly will set the CTR [ Call to Action ] and create or navigate the landing page if you have any existing site.

Photography/Video

Will you be supplying existing photography and video for which you have the rights?

Will any new photography or video be required?

Do you expect the agency to source stock images or videos?

Talent Objectives

If applicable, what guidelines can you give the agency on the kind of talent (models/actors) you want in any photos or video elements? Do you want only certain ages, races or styles of people? Are you looking to show the diversity and of what: age, race, style? If yes, then communicate it here.

Budget

What is the budget for this project?

Deadlines

Clarify any deadlines that must be met including intermediate steps like legal or regulatory approval and language translation. This is a good place to outline the key dates in the Artwork Process like Creative Brief approved, Initial Concept Presented, Final Concept Approved, Wording Approved, Final Design & Artwork Approved, Final Artwork produced, Final Artwork arrives at the destination.

Final Approval Person

Who will be approving these materials and who is the FINAL approver? (As in, if there is a disagreement on something who will make the final call?).

Approvals

Signatures below indicate that the Creative Brief is approved, and the agency may begin work.

Project Manager Signature Date Final Approver Signature Date

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