A creative brief might not always be necessary, but in most cases, starting a project without one is akin to buying a product you haven’t seen. If your marketing project involves high-volume collateral and the success of your brand depends on it, a creative brief is a must-have. It is the first step toward ensuring a streamlined and efficient process.
Essentially, the creative brief is the foundation of any fruitful campaign because it highlights the client’s needs and your team’s efforts that will contribute toward the realization of those needs. This article delves into how to prepare this crucial document using a creative brief template.
What Is a Creative Brief?
A creative brief is a formal document that highlights the strategy for a creative or marketing campaign. It defines key elements of the project, including goal, purpose, messaging, target audience, and requirements. In most cases, it is prepared during the initial stages of a project to help the creative team familiarize itself with the work to be done. It also allows the client or stakeholder to amend the objective if need be.
The creative brief is prepared by and for a company and is usually open-ended. It includes all the information that the company will need to make the project a success.
What Is a Creative Brief Template?
A creative brief template is a fillable file that contains the basic layout of a creative brief. It will usually vary in complexity depending on the amount of planning you need to do for a project, but it is highly customizable, so you can use it for different campaigns. If your company doesn’t have an in-house creative brief template, you can easily download or create one.
Creative Brief Templates and Examples
Why Do You Need a Creative Brief?
The most crucial reason to create a creative brief is that it is standard corporate practice. When presenting a project to clients or stakeholders, they will expect to see a creative brief before signing off on your proposal. Your creative team will also need to go through it so they can understand the work they will be doing. Other reasons you might need a brief creative include:
- As inspiration for brainstorming ideas for your team
- To help third parties understand your brand’s purpose and background
- To keep the client and creative team on the same page, so there are no conflicts
- To ensure uniformity and compliance with brand policies during the project
- To stay on budget and within schedule
Who Creates the Creative Brief?
Typically, the project manager or account manager prepares the creative brief because they oversee the client-creative team relationship. They understand what the client needs and what the creative team can deliver. Nonetheless, other members can be included in the process, including the:
- Accounting team – To analyze project budgets.
- Marketing team – To collect competitor and target audience data and formulate an effective media strategy.
- Creative team – To check the viability of the client’s vision and develop creative ideas.
Essential Elements of a Creative Brief
Your creative brief will guide you and your team through the entire campaign, which means it should be very detailed and accurate. Missing a single element during preparation could lead to conflict between the creative team and the client. To help you avoid this, here is an overview of the key elements of a creative brief:
- Project context – Explains why you are doing the project, why it is necessary, and the pain points it will address.
- Target audience – Defines the ideal audience for the deliverable by demographics, location, and special interests, among other characteristics.
- Stakeholders – Describes the decision-makers behind the project; the people your team can turn to for funding or clarifications.
- Messaging – Summarizes the nature and purpose of the campaign into key messages, otherwise called slogans.
- Deliverable description – Describes what your creative team is working to produce and offer to clients. It is the ‘what’ of the campaign.
- Brand details – Indicates the color, theme, tone, logo specifications, size, and fonts as they apply to the project.
- Timeline – Sets the due dates, start date, end date, final version date, and milestones of the project.
- Publication venue – Indicates where the finished project will be published, marketed, or delivered to the target audience.
How to Write
While they contain much the same elements, creative briefs don’t follow a fixed format. Companies will usually have a set Creative Brief Template that users can complete and present to clients. Even if they don’t, creating the document involves the following easy steps:
Step 1: Describe the Project
Begin by writing a general overview of the campaign by identifying the product, client, and project goals.
Step 2: Define the Purpose
Why does your project exist? What pain points does it seek to address? Supply a measurable and trackable purpose for your campaign.
Step 3: Describe the Campaign Background
When describing your campaign background, focus on the following key areas:
- Current and target brand perceptions (brand context).
- Current ideas you can take advantage of to propel your campaign (cultural context).
- Current perceptions about your product and how you can change them (category context).
Step 4: Identify the Competitors
List your major competitors and their media and marketing strategies, SWOT analysis, and market share. Explain where they beat you and what you can do to match or surpass their success.
Step 5: Describe the Audience
Define your target audience by psychographics, demographics (age, sex, etc.), current brand perception, target brand perception, and key interests.
Step 6: Supply the Brand Voice
Using adjectives, tell the target audience how they should perceive your deliverable or brand. Is your product efficient, high-quality, or reliable? Is your brand budget-conscious or trustworthy?
Step 7: Formulate a Media Strategy
List the channels you plan to use to spread the message of your campaign to your target audience. Why did you pick these channels over others? Explain their effectiveness.
Step 8: Prepare the Budget
The budget you include in the creative brief will be an estimated one, not the detailed version that you will present to the client or stakeholders.
Step 9: Indicate Your Slogan
Describe the driving force or main idea of your campaign. Make sure it is condensed, informative, catchy, and captures the nature of your project.
An effective creative brief template must allow you to ask and answer all the right questions regarding your campaign. It should clarify the what, who, where, why, and when of the delivery, so every team member understands their goals and objectives. At the end of the day, you should be able to determine whether your campaign is on the right track by referring to your creative brief.