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Marketing Brief Essentials:

3 BRIEFS YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT DO WITHOUT

Marketing briefs
Many of us are guilty of making the mistake of writing briefs that are too long, too unclear, or too vague to be understood.
Shocking poll results from a white paper by the Association of National Advertisers show that there is a huge discrepancy between how clients and agencies rate the briefs provided to them for the same project – with less than half of agencies agreeing with clients that they are provided clear briefs for the projects. Blindspot much?
That is why we thought it is about time to dedicate some time to discuss one of the most essential components to any marketing project – the brief!
In this article, we will be providing a brief (pun intended!) overview of the most common briefs as well as teaching you how to write the perfect brief, so that you can get your point across to anyone!
Read on for more.

Different Briefs for Different Purposes

There are different briefs for different purposes, and that means you cannot simply use one brief for all to rule them all – unless you plan to have the same output for all the projects.
To illustrate the difference, here are 3 common brief structures for 3 different purposes.
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A Brand Brief

What is it for? A comprehensive overview of your brand to help your agency or freelancer be on the same page when tasked to create consistent content that communicates what your business is all about.
A clear brand brief should always include the following:
• A mission statement which defines the purpose of your organization and the benefits to the community you serve
• A vision statement which defines the long-term goals and aspirations of the brand
A brand promise or statement which encompasses what consumers can expect of the brand
• Brand values that your brand takes pride in
• A clear profile of your target audience
• The unique selling point of your brand or competitive advantage
• Key competitors to serve as useful reference points on what to emulate and what to avoid
• Brand guidelines – from colours, typography to brand voice
• And any other relevant information or details about the brand
Brand briefs are rarely used in silo, but together with other project briefs to help provide context and to help the agency see how the content will fit into the bigger picture.

Brand statement brief template
(Word document, Google Drive)

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Creative Briefs – Example: Logo Project

What is it for? A creative brief is essentially a blueprint for a specific project, used as a guide to ensure that all stakeholders involved in the project are working towards the deliverables and end outcomes as expected by the client.
Using an example of a project to create a logo for a brand, a creative brief should include:
• An accompanying brand brief (for context)
• The project objectives – What should the new logo achieve? Stand out from competition? Is it for a new product range? Etc
• A clear product or service description – Share more details about the features and unique points of the product or service involved
• Who is the specific target audience? – Provide as detailed a consumer profile as possible
• Competitor analysis – Who are they? How are you different from them?
• Channels that will be used – Will this logo be used primarily via online, offline channels? Which particular channels in particular?
• Creative considerations (for logo project):
    o Examples of logos you like or dislike and what aspects do you like or dislike.
    o Any particular colour palette to adhere to
    o Any key visuals or elements to incorporate in the design
• Budget and Timeline – Be clear about the cost considerations and any specific deadlines

Logo brief template
(Word document, Google Drive)

Hand web

Copywriting Brief – Example: Website Copy

What is it for? A template for you to provide information that your writer requires to come up with copy that helps you achieve your specific objectives.
Using an example of a project to create copy for a website, a copywriting brief should include:
• Accompanying brand brief (for context)
• A list of assets that the copywriter needs to produce – in this case, probably a homepage, product pages, about us page, and other content required on a website.
• The project objective – what would this website copy need to achieve?
• Any call to action required – do you want consumers to reach out and book a demo, make a purchase, or fill up a form after browsing the website?
• SEO parameters – identify primary and secondary keywords to rank for, etc.
• Any writing constraints – from word counts to special formatting etc.

Avoid These Common Pitfalls When Writing Your Briefs

Now that you know the level of details required for briefs, the next step is to make sure you are communicating these details clearly and concisely.

Avoid Long Briefs

While it is important to provide information and context, you do not need ten pages to do so. Keep your brief concise and to the point- more often than not 1-2 pages should do the trick.
Where possible, use bullet points to get your point across succinctly, use a template that helps you answer essential questions relevant for the project to keep you on track, and don’t over-elaborate.
If after your first attempt it looks too long, review and condense your brief. Over time you’ll learn to write succinctly.

Avoid Being Too Vague

Have you ever read a whole paragraph and gone away not understanding what was the point of all that text? Don’t let that be your brief.
Be clear about who you are targeting – if you are targeting everyone, then you are targeting no one.
Do not have too many objectives or takeaways – it is rarely possible for one task to accomplish multiple objects. Stay focused on just one.
Provide valuable references – avoid providing vague descriptions of what you like or dislike, instead use visual or text references to show them clearly – no guesswork required.

Avoid A Boring Brief

Great briefs should stimulate your agency to think bigger and better – so don’t make it a bore.
Instead of bombarding your briefs with statistics and data, tell them what the corresponding insights mean for the project instead.
Give a summary of your brief in a sentence or two – make it inspiring and motivating! They can sort out the details after.
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Better Briefs for Better Outcomes!

The last step is to put these tips into action and start writing a better brief for your next project. Not only will your agency thank you for a clearer direction, but you can also expect a deliverable that is much closer to your expectations! Win-win for all!
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