How to write a creative brief?

What is a creative brief?

A creative brief is a 1-2 page document outlining the strategy for a creative project. It is like a map that will guide your creative team on how to best reach the campaign’s goals. The creative brief is usually created by the account manager in close consultation with the client and should include anything and everything that will help your creative team understand the client’s brand and product or service better.

Creative briefs may sound straightforward, but it can be difficult to fit all the important details you need into a few pages. The following steps will help you write briefs more efficiently as well as reducing the risk of miscommunication.

  1. Write about the brand and the project’s background.

    Not everyone in your team will be as aware of the client’s business and requirements as you may do. This area of the brief is where you need to do a quick overview of the client, their mission, the project motivations and what led to the development of the project.

    This first section should answer some vital questions:

    1. Who is the client?
    2. What are you advertising?
    3. What category does it belong to?
    4. Where is the product currently being sold? Where is it being advertised? Where will it be advertised in the future?
    5. What led to the development of this project?
    6. What is the client’s mission?

  2. Highlight challenges and goals.

    This section will be useful to explain why the project needs to happen and writing down the goals of the campaign will help you and your team align on expectations.

    If the client hasn’t identified any major challenges, you can focus this section on goals and objectives. Explain what a successful project looks like and how it will benefit the client.

    If the client has a lot of goals and challenges, you can split these up into two subsections with headers like “Challenge” and “goals”.

    This section should answer the following questions:

    1. What is this campaign trying to do? Increase brand awareness? Increase website traffic? Get more social media shares? Be as specific as possible.
    2. What customer action are you aiming for? Filling out a form? Clicking a link? Calling the business?
    3. What challenge is the campaign trying to address? State this in a single sentence. For example: "We want to advertise new features to get more sign-ups".

  3. Describe the target audience.

    To know what type of content will engage your client’s audience, you and your team need to know their target audience. This section requires you to describe a specific type of audience, what’s important to them and how your clients’ products or services will benefit them.

    Along with demographics like age, gender, and location, you should also include factors like pain points and motivations that your customers might have. If your client has developed a detailed buyer persona already, this would be a great place to include some of this character’s information.

  4. Stalk your client's competitors.

    Knowing what your competitors are doing is very useful for the whole team. You can use your competitor research to come up with ideas that they haven’t tried yet, learn from their failed projects, or build a project that improves on a strategy they’ve used in the past.

    Include a shortlist of competitors with a similar product or services as your client. List a few things your company has in common with them, how your client has differentiated itself already and a few areas where this project can help your client get ahead.

    This section should answer the following questions:

    1. What are the client’s main competitors?
    2. What is the competition's marketing strategy? Where do they advertise? How do they advertise?
    3. What kind of messaging and tone does the competition use?
    4. What kind of people buy the competitor's products?

  5. Where are you running the campaign?

    Using the target personas from earlier on in the brief you should be able to work out which platforms you are most likely to reach them on. For example, if you’re promoting a project to a younger audience, you’ll want to invest in social media rather than billboards or newspaper ads.

    You should also list what type of content you would like to produce for each of those platforms.


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