You might think that a creative process doesn’t need much planning. After all, when you look at a book, you can’t imagine the writer taking their time to create a detailed plan of how they are going to write the scenes. You just think that they grabbed their laptop and they start writing.
Now, while this might be the way some writers go about writing, it’s not what all writers do. Because writing a good book is no walk in the park. You need to outline the plot, set the scene, research the details, flesh out the characters, and these things are just scratching the tip of the iceberg.
So there’s much more to a creative process than just being creative. Before starting, you need a plan. And in this case, your plan is called a creative brief.
What Is A Creative Brief?
Let’s see how we can define this concept a bit better so we can understand what we’re working with.
So a creative brief is a document used by creative professionals, marketing departments, and diverse agencies to:
- outline a creative project and its progress
- develop creative deliverables such as marketing campaigns, visual designs, promotional videos, advertising, websites, print ads, etc
The document is usually developed in the initial stages of the creative marketing process by the requestor, which in most cases happens to be a marketing team member or an account manager.
But no matter who creates the brief, they should be in close consultation with the client. After a thorough analysis, it is then approved by the creative team of designers, writers, and project managers.
The creative brief is one of the many tools that marketers have that ensure their marketing and advertising materials connect with the audience that they are targeting. Not only that, but it will assist the creative team to better understand a project from start to end.
Why Is the Creative Brief Important?
There are many reasons why a creative brief is important to the marketing department, and essentially, to the whole business. To better understand the importance of a creative brief, let’s see how it can help your marketing and creative departments deliver better results.
1. You Have a Stable Plan
When you have a plan, you know precisely how you can get from point A to point B. Not only that, but you know who is involved in the creative marketing process and what tools you will be using in order to get to your destination. The creative brief offers you the plan that you need to get the job done.
2. You Save Up Time
Again, the creative brief will have all the details that all of the creative and marketing team members need. Every single participant knows what they are supposed to do and they know the deadline. So there is no more fumbling and confusion when it comes to completing tasks.
3. Keeps You Accountable
If the creative brief is done well, and all the tasks are shared equally among team members, then you will know exactly who doesn’t complete their work on time. That way you can ask if your colleagues need more time or more help.
4. Helps with Communication
In order for a project to be completed successfully, communication is essential. If you can’t communicate with your team about your project, then the project is most likely set to fail. But a creative brief can prevent this. With everything outlined, you know to whom you need to go when you need something and when.
5. Requests Are Handled Faster
In any project, creative or not, you will need higherups or your clients to take a look over what you’ve already done, so you can see if you can proceed with the creative project. If you follow the creative brief thoroughly, then your clients or supervisors will have an idea of what was done and what follows. This makes them check requests faster and have them approved.
Download Brief Template!
Create your brief today! Download the template below to see what you should include in your creative brief.
Creative Brief Elements
So now that we know what a creative brief is and some of the reasons why it’s important, let’s see what goes into a creative brief.
Right off the bat, it’s good to mention that not all creative briefs are the same. Each team or business chooses what is important for them and customizes their brief to reflect those elements. After a few creative projects, you too will see that your business might value different things and prioritize certain elements that other businesses don’t.
The ideal is finding something that works for you.
That being said, there are some common elements that usually appear in most creative briefs. You can get inspired and see which elements you’d like to see in your creative brief.
Here are some elements that you can consider including:
- The context and background — first you need to establish the context. Who wants this project to be done and more importantly, why?
- Business profile — this describes details about the business.
- The product — everybody needs to know what the end product is. When discussing a product, you need to know its features, benefits, risks, and so on.
- The target audience — are the people who receive what you create. The project will be done for this audience’s consumption.
- Buyer persona — the buyer person should reflect your target audience. Think of it as the one person who represents your whole target audience.
- Key insight — this is all the information that you have acquired regarding the public’s attitude towards your company, brand, product, or service.
- Objectives and goals — you can’t start a project without knowing what you want to achieve. What is to be accomplished? How will this be measured and success understood?
- The message — this represents the main thing that your audience should remember from your marketing campaign or from your creative project.
- Desired customer behavior — would you like the customers to purchase a product? Or maybe to recommend your business to other people? This is when you need to think about how you want your customers to act when they are in contact with your product or service.
- The tone of voice — this and the way you present yourself are things that are very important for your brand. When deciding on your brand’s tone, you can go for something serious, light-hearted, humorous, friendly, etc.
- Mandatory elements — these are the elements that are an absolute must in the creative project, such as the client’s information and contact details.
- Deliverables — representing the means of delivery, or the best way in which your message will reach your audience.
- Due date —time management is very important in any business, so this element is a must in most creative briefs. It represents the time by which you need the creative project to be done.
- The budget — another thing that you need to know is the budget that the creative project is going to have. Monetary resources are finite, so you need to be careful with the amount that you can spend and not surpass it.
- The members of the team — split up the roles as soon as possible and see who does what. This way, communication will be facilitated and things will be less complicated as a whole
- Approvals — who needs to approve each step of the process.
How To Write a Creative Brief
Now that you know the elements of a creative brief, let’s see how you can write one that is going to make your creative project stand out.
Before starting the writing process, it’s important to remember this tip: keep your creative brief as simple as possible. After all, a creative brief is 1 to 2 pages long and it should only contain the key points. This means that you shouldn’t crowd the brief with too many elements. Try to keep it concise and easy to follow.
In fact, having around 6 elements is perfect, but of course, if you need to add or skip a few, you can do that. Just make sure that at the end, your creative brief is coherent and convincing.
As we mentioned, you can use any elements that you find important. But there is a certain pattern that most businesses have adopted. If this is your first time coming up with a creative brief, then we suggest following this pattern, or even using a template.
So without any further ado, here are some of the elements that most businesses have in the creative brief:
1. The Company Background
When you’re writing a creative brief, imagine that you are writing it for somebody who has never heard of your company. This person might be a client or a third-party agent, like a designer or a writer.
This portion is usually one paragraph long and it can provide details regarding the history of the company, the mission, the brand, the product, etc. You need to try to give the essential details that will make your business stand out.
In case you’re creating a creative brief for an in-house team, then this portion is no longer needed.
2. The Objective
This is another common element found in most creative briefs. Here you can add the main goals of your business, but the spotlight should be on the objectives of the project. Basically, you need to underline what you are trying to accomplish through this creative project.
This can be done by uncovering a problem that the target audience has and presenting a product that comes with the solution for said problem.
Here are a few examples:
- Promoting a new product or service
- Expanding your target audience by getting the attention of a new group of people
- Increasing brand awareness
When starting a business, the target audience is one of the things that you need to consider first. And when you’re starting to work on a new creative project, you need to take the target audience into consideration.
Generally speaking, the target audience of the creative project should be the target audience of the business. But some projects focus on expanding the target audience or getting the attention of a new class of customers.
In any case, you need your project to be seen by the right people. And this can be done by defining the target audience. To find out who your audience is, here are some guiding questions that you can ask yourself or your team:
- Who is the product designed for?
- What is your client’s demographic? (for example, location, age, gender, job, annual income, etc)
- What are your client’s needs? Does the product fulfill those needs?
Of course, the profile of your target audience is much more complex, but these details are more than enough to add within a paragraph.
If you pay attention, you can learn a lot from your competition. Your team can see what other businesses are doing right, but more importantly, it can see what other businesses are doing wrong.
Because although some marketers believe that bad marketing is still marketing, it’s best to stray away from making any mistakes and tarnishing your image. This is why having a solid list of competitors, local and international, is a good idea.
5. The Message and the Brand Tone
The message is what your audience gets to see from your creative project. If your message is not clear enough, your target audience will not know:
- if the message is intended for them
- if your product has the solution to its problem
So when drafting your message you need to pay close attention to the tone you’re using and to the channel that it will be promoted on.
When it comes to tone, take a look at the company’s brand and try to match the tone and the image that they have already established. For example, if the company is generally using a more serious tone, don’t go for something overly friendly or humorous. If you don’t stay on brand, you risk losing the trust of an already established base of customers.
For example, the tone of a brand can be empowering and uplifting. Dove and Cromat are great examples of this, using their campaigns not only to market their products but also to make women feel comfortable and happy in their skin.
Another great example is Old Spice, whose brand tone is humorous and friendly. This can be seen in the funny commercials the brand has with Terry Crews, which just end up sticking out in the dull drone of TV commercials.
Of course, your brand tone can be serious, informative, and professional as well, as seen in CloudSmartz example or most B2B businesses.
6. Mandatory Elements
Briefs can have different mandatory elements, because generally, what is mandatory is different from business to business and from project to project. For example, if you’re working for a new client, then these mandatory elements can be the logo, the brand colors, and fonts, the brand voice, the UVP (unique value proposition), the differentiators, etc.
Mandatory elements can also be the budget for the creative project, the timeline, and the team members that will participate in this project.
Creative Brief Examples
We know reading all of this information can be pretty confusing, which is why we have prepared a few great examples that you can check out.
Here are two creative briefs designed by Redbull and Reebok:
Another example of a brief well-done comes from Nike. We can see that the general go-to technique is keeping things sweet and short.
You can see that although some points are the same, businesses usually customize their creative briefs and add whatever seems important.
Download Brief Template!
Create your brief today! Download the template below to see what you should include in your creative brief.
Creative briefs are necessary for the completion of creative projects. In fact, you can’t start a creative project without having a creative brief. But with these tips in mind, and having access to the SocialBee creative brief template, we believe that coming up with your own brief will be a much easier and even fun task to do.