Why Is a Creative Brief So Important?

Old fashioned compass on top of gold background

The difference between scattered, mediocre branding and massive brand success comes down to preparation. Unifying your creative team is crucial, which is why you need to incorporate a strong creative brief to start on the right foot. 

For the uninitiated, a creative brief is simple: it’s basically an outline that guides your content and marketing efforts. A good creative brief has two main functions. The first is to organize a client’s objectives, allowing you a clear understanding of their goals. The second is to outline the project, providing you a unified and efficient procedure to follow in order to accomplish those goals.

You don’t need to go overboard. Creative briefs are typically short. That being, they have enormous ROI. A good brief will ensure you deliver high quality content and marketing materials to your client and decrease the stress involved in doing so.

In order to maximize their effectiveness, each creative brief will vary. Rather than a specific set of tangible elements, you should shape your briefs around a few key considerations.

What Goes Into A Creative Brief?

Just like all creative endeavors, creative briefs need to reflect your unique process. That being, we here at VSSL have identified the following as vital considerations.

Identify Key Assets and Points of Contact

You need to play to your client’s strengths and build on their preexisting framework. Knowing what they already have in place and how to learn more about that structure is crucial. You do this by identifying the client’s key assets and establishing their contact point.

Consider the client’s brand pillars. Good marketing tells a story, and most of the time, you’re not starting on page one. You need to incorporate the feelings, attitudes, and already-established visuals and messaging they’ve created. Ask yourself “what do I feel when I look at the client’s pre-existing branding?” then figure out where to take that moving forward. 

Determine Client Values and Goals

Thoroughly understanding the client will only make this easier. Get familiar with the client’s background. Who are they? What are their values? What are they offering their customers? The answers should be exceptionally clear before you move forward. 

People don’t respond to generic marketing. Luckily, your client isn’t generic. They have a vision for their brand. Help them clarify that vision and you’ll take the guesswork out of your planning process while also gaining creative direction.  

Gain Industry and Competition Insights

Speaking of the client, what makes them stand out from their competition? Marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You need to know where your strategy fits in the context of the industry so you can avoid the competition’s shadow and ensure you reach the proper audience.

Does the client serve a sub-niche in their industry? Does the competition already have a sub-niche cornered? What does your client offer that no one else does? Know how to leverage your client’s brand’s unique features

After you thoroughly understand who you’re marketing for, shift your focus to who you’re marketing to. Identify the target audience. Who are they, and how is the client going to solve their problems? Clear answers mean maximal connection between the client and their potential customers.

Get Client Mandatories

There is one final client-focused piece of information you’ll need in your brief: the mandatories. Make sure you are fully aware of any of the client’s must-haves. A fantastic marketing campaign doesn’t mean anything if the client doesn’t get what they want. 

If the client is absolutely sold on incorporating specific content or materials, your job is to make it happen. Don’t assume that the client wants what you deem most effective. Marketing is a back and forth, and ultimately, the client’s satisfaction is the most important outcome. 

Establish Timelines, Strategies, and Execution

Once you’ve locked down the client, market, and audience, it’s time to move to project organization. The first step is to clearly understand the project deliverables. This may seem basic, but having the material goals plainly spelled out will keep you from wasting time or wandering off-course. 

Getting the deliverables pinned down means you have a clear target. Create a project overview to serve as the base of your operations while you figure out how to hit it. Identify what the project is and what you’ll need to create. Then come the objectives. How is what you’re creating going to fulfill the client’s needs, and what measurements will you use to track your success? 

If everything above is there, the only thing left is to incorporate the logistic constraints. Figure out your timeline, how you’ll allocate the client’s budget, and how you’ll execute each step of the plan. 

There will be a huge variety of answers to the questions you ask. As such, the organization of your creative briefs will vary. That being, as long as everything we’ve covered is included, your process will be streamlined, clear, and actionable.

Why a Creative Brief Is So Important

We wouldn’t tell you to do something if we didn’t have a good reason. Taking the time to create this framework will help you in multiple areas. There are three primary benefits to a creative brief.

The first is alignment. With so many moving parts, it can be easy for your team to scatter their marketing efforts. No one likes messy marketing, and no one likes micromanagement. A creative brief ensures everyone stays targeted without the need to constantly check in. This keeps your efforts efficient and your marketing materials cohesive.

Additionally, taking the time to consider all the underlying elements of the client and their market reveals assumptions. Not only does this further unify the team by exposing differences in interpretation, but it also reveals missing information you might need. Plotting things out helps you grasp the whole picture. This makes your marketing easier and more effective. 

One last benefit of the creative brief is that it serves as a record of your agreements. A good creative brief ensures you know exactly what the client asked for and what your team’s agreed to do. Ambiguity opens the door for delays and hurt feelings. Eliminating that grey space means you’re insured against misunderstandings. 

Learn More About Our Creative Brief Process

The best marketing campaigns are highly targeted and have a clear goal. While there is no set formula for a creative brief, there are important elements that should always be included. Understanding the client, their brand, their market, and their audience helps you know what target you need to hit. Once you’ve identified that, you can craft a plan around your deliverables and figure out the logistics. 

We know there are a lot of elements to juggle. If you need help brainstorming, researching, or utilizing your creative briefs, reach out to us. We can help you highlight your client’s strengths and utilizes your team’s full creative potential.