Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

How to write a creative brief

At some point in your marketing career you will be required to write a creative brief – because let’s face it, no one can do it all. 

Managing agencies becomes part and parcel of a marketer’s role. The quality of a brief can determine the outcome of a campaign, so it’s important to be clear in your expectations and needs.

The great thing about writing a creative brief, is that once you’ve done it, you can tailor the template for future briefs.

Here are our pointers for writing your first creative brief.

What is the purpose of the brief?

The first thing to establish is the purpose of the brief. What are you trying to communicate?

Understanding the purpose of the brief will enable you to constantly revert back to this goal when writing it.

There are many reasons why a brief is necessary:

  • Maintain a consistent brand voice

  • To communicate the essential considerations of the creative task

  • Offer inspiration and guidance

  • To summarise the business and the brand to an external agent

Write clearly

Do not make the error of thinking that an external agent thinks and works the same way that you do. You’re each in different roles and exposed to different experiences. Particularly in marketing, there are a number of terms and acronyms that may not be known to someone outside of your role.

Avoid jargon and write clearly and succinctly. A great brief is no longer than 1-2 sides of A4. Don’t be afraid to bullet point for clarity.

Put the product at the heart of the brief

This is your opportunity to introduce your product to the creative agency and ultimately, your customer too.

If you’re not able to communicate this simply, then you don’t know your product well enough. Identify and communicate your product’s USPs, brand concept and identity, as well as its short and long-term goals.

This will put the brief into context.

Identify your audience

Your audience will determine your approach. Establish who you are targeting and outline what is important to them. This will feed into tone of voice, types of messaging and platforms used during a creative campaign.

The more detail your can provide, the better. Consider general demographics including age, gender, location in addition to drilling down to psychological habits. Understanding buyer behaviour for example, will massively influence the effectiveness of the campaign and overall strategy.

Acknowledge your competitors

Understanding what your competitors are doing is hugely beneficial to your business. You’re able to identify trends, good and bad practice, and avoid doubling up on ideas.

Successful campaigns require innovation, which can only be achieved by fully understanding the landscape and working beyond it.

You may wish to include case studies of successful campaigns with an outline of what you are particularly inspired by – and how that can impact planning for your own campaign.

Highlight the features you have in common with your competitors, as well as the differentiators. The things that make you stand out from your competitors will be harnessed in the creative process.

Set measurable goals 

The only way to ensure that you’re able to measure success is to create an outline of goals. KPIs are often used across a wide variety of professions and are hugely impactful in measuring and inspiring success.

Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound). Bullet point or number them for absolute clarity. Where possible set goals around figures, whether that is a % increase in sales or website hits, or the number of newsletter signups.

Most importantly, set a deadline. Deadlines inspire efficiency and a sense of urgency. Campaigns should not run forever and your team will need to understand at what milestones measurements of success should be made.

Be both realistic and ambitious when setting your goals. Setting unrealistic targets can affect morale and the team may feel defeated before they even begin.