Do you regularly use a creative brief when you are developing or implementing marketing programs? You may have had to complete this type of form if you typically work with an in-house creative services department or an external advertising agency. But did you know a creative brief can be very helpful to marketing personnel when you need to involve various groups within your company to develop marketing materials? Here are a few key items of information you should include in your creative brief.
This is the big picture. You don't have to go into great detail at this point. Describe the main concept and what you want to accomplish with the project.
Describe the main objective of the campaign.
What do you want to accomplish with the campaign, marketing literature, advertisement, etc? Do you want to increase awareness of your product or your company? Do you want to generate leads for the sales organization?Do you want to educate your audience on a certain topic? You've probably heard of the SMART approach. Make sure the objectives are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Describe the target audience.
To whom are you directing the marketing program? Try to be more specific than just the usual demographics. State the current attitudes/beliefs and objections that your audience may currently have. Analyze why the audience hasn't purchased your product. Put yourself in the audience's shoes, so to speak. Better yet, do some market research if you don't know the answer to this question. The more detailed you can get about the audience, the better understanding you will have of what motivates the audience to purchase your products.
Describe the current situation.
What strategies are currently working? How do you need to modify your current marketing strategy to better communicate the benefits of your product to your audience? Why is this marketing project needed? What do you hope to accomplish by implementing the project?
What behavior do you want to change?
After assessing the current behavior, attitudes, and beliefs, describe the behavior you want to change and describe how you hope to accomplish this. Also add a measurement component so that you can measure the current behavior and then measure any changes that occur in a certain amount of time, whether that is 3 months, 6 months or a year timeframe.
What should be the tone of marketing piece?
Is this an upbeat, fun, or edgy tone? Or do you want to have more of an educational tone? Are you targeting very conservative individuals? Or do you want to convey innovation, youthfulness, or radical thinking?
Be specific on the key message of the campaign.
Please don't put everything but the kitchen sink into your message. Try to determine one key, succinct message. If you try to tell your audience too much at once, they won't understand your message at all. Basically, create an elevator spiel. In seven words or less, state your message. If you do need to have a secondary message, please don't have more than 3 key points. Studies show that 3 is the magic number.
Create a timeline.
Plan the entire project or campaign in detail. You can easily develop a spreadsheet with all of the details of the plan including graphic design time, approval deadlines, final drop dead date for materials. For example, if this is an advertisement, what is the drop dead date that the ad materials are due to the publication.
Gather all of the material you need to get started.
For example, media kits, market research reports, previous ads or brochures, competitive brochures, and key websites can be used as resource material. Compile a list of the team members, including their contact information, job responsibility for the project, approval level, etc.
So, why should you use a creative brief? It's a great way to keep all of the team members on track so that deadlines are met. It also helps to ensure everyone is agreement with the scope of the project, objectives, and strategies. So, the next next time you have a marketing project, try writing a creative brief, and you'll find that the workflow progresses more smoothly.