The secret sauce to making your next project successful lies in how well you can define the problem you’re going to solve and the steps you’re going to take to solve it.
This is where a creative brief comes in. Although the process is a bit time-consuming, it’s worth the effort as it helps your clients and your team understand what you’re going to deliver.
So, in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the creative brief and the steps involved in creating one.
What is a creative brief?
A creative brief is the guiding light of any creative project. It’s a short document that summarizes everything your team needs to know about the project, like its purpose, requirements, messaging, demographics, deliverables, etc.
Usually, account managers or the client service representative in touch with the clients fill out the brief. But in small organizations, the creative/art director themselves will fill out the brief if they’re the point of contact with the client.
If the project is internal, the stakeholders are responsible for creating the brief.
Here’s a simple outline that explains what’s in a creative brief.
- Project summary
- Brand vision
- Target audience
- Major competitors
- Style, tone, and message
Why you need a creative brief
If you take up a project without knowing what it is, chances are you’ll miss the relevant information, lack coordination, and deal with a lot of confusion. But these aren’t the only aspects a creative brief helps with. Here are some other benefits:
- Eliminate continuous changes: With a creative brief, you can stick to your project demands and avoid sudden requirements.
- Save time: When you know what you need right at the start, you can set timelines and manage the project well. You won’t have to face any last-minute changes or miscommunication.
- Increase efficiency: Clarity in objectives affects the entire process, ensuring branding compliance and minimizing the risk of disapprovals, conflicts, and revisions, thus enhancing your workflow and efficiency.
When do you need a creative brief?
Typically, all projects in a company are categorized into three tiers, starting from highly conceptual projects to templated works like edits and revisions. Here’s what the brief should look like for all the tiers:
- Tier 1- Highly conceptual work: Creating packaging internally or for your clients is an example of highly conceptual work. Since there’s a lot of room for ambiguity, a creative brief is a must here to clarify things at every step.
- Tier 2- Execution of previous work: Making promotional material for different seasons or festivities is an example of a tier-2 task. Since you do it every year or once in a few months, you know what’s expected, but it’s still safe to give your team an abbreviated brief to communicate expectations clearly.
- Tier 3-Templated work: Edits and revisions are examples of these tasks. Although creating a brief seems unnecessary for these tasks, it’s still best practice to give briefs, so you don’t miss out on the little details like grammar, style, tone, etc.
How to write a creative brief
Organizing a creative brief with minimal time and effort requires a powerful strategy. Take the case of this creative brief for Quaker Oats :
This creative brief has everything a team needs to get started. So, there is no room for confusion and chaos.
To create a thorough, creative brief like Quaker, here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Define your brand statement
You should provide information about your brand’s mission or values in a few lines. This will help convey the right brand message to new hires, freelancers, or vendors associated with the project.
2. Underline your objectives and challenges
Highlight the project’s aims, address problems your target audience faces, and explain how the new project will help solve them. Also, don’t forget to outline the challenges you’ll face.
3. Identify your target audience
Here’s what you’ll do in this step:
- Understand who your audience is to define the purpose of the project better.
- Analyze their interests and see how you can market your product to the group. This way, you can opt for different marketing strategies concerning your audience.
- Decide the tone and voice that’s best suited for your audience.
4. Analyze your top competitors
Analyzing your competitors gives you a better understanding of the market conditions and helps you understand what will work with your target audience.
5. Explain your message
Setting your message effectively is essential for a good creative brief. To get your audience’s attention, you need to be spot on with your communication. It must be based on your target audience and the issue this project will resolve.
6. Your requirements
Include the due date, deliverables, and budget in this section. If you are planning to outsource, adding its expenses here will avoid future confusion. Another benefit is that you can easily spot deflections from the creative scope with a creative brief.
7. Call to action
Be specific about the impact you want to create with your project. Sometimes the result you want will be a change in perception or taking action. So, add it to your creative brief to stay focused.
8. Distribution plan
Your project is completed successfully once your message reaches your target audience . So identify where you could reach your audience, the platforms you want to use, and the strategies you plan to use to reach them.
Creative brief examples
Now, let’s learn from some creative brief examples from the most noteworthy creative brands.
This creative brief is crisp and concise. It gives direct insights into the target audience and the attitude to be adopted. It is based on buying behaviors and efficiently addresses its audience’s pain points
This is one of the best creative briefs as it demonstrates the problem and how they intend to solve it creatively.
There is a clear CTA and brand vision in this creative brief. It conveys the goals, target audience, and other must-haves within a single page.
Building a creative brief is not an easy task. It needs unified efforts, ample time, and an efficient team. But having a game plan gives you a headstart. It brings clarity and focus. To stay agile, invest your time in crafting an impeccable creative brief. It’s time well spent!