If you want to learn how to write a creative brief, you’ve come to the right place! But you may be wondering,
What is a creative brief?
Whether you’re in a creative industry or not, you can’t succeed without planning. A creative brief does exactly that! Creative briefs are short documents that help plan out a project; they outline a brand’s vision and deliverables to achieve their desired outcome. Whether it’s copywriting, graphic design or a video advertisement, a creative brief helps any project grow from an idea to completion.
Why should you write a creative brief?
When you’re working in a team, you need everyone to be on the same page. If you’re working with clients, a creative brief also helps you to ensure their vision is aligned with yours. When the creative brief is approved by all concerned stakeholders, it will be your strongest piece of protection.
Now you’re thinking, how does it protect you?
Multiple things! Without this document, different people may have different expectations and it could lead to nasty communication breakdowns. For big projects that span entire months, this is a nightmare you want to avoid.
Furthermore, your clients may also change their minds down the road and if you had set out to complete what was stated in the brief, you’ve done your job and there’s no failing on your part.
Creative briefs are also really useful for big projects that involve multiple people or conceptually heavy. For example, designing a website or producing a video which involves multiple stages so this guide to video production processes will come in handy!
However, for small and specific projects like a single ad or an email, a creative brief won’t be necessary.
In essence, a creative brief ensures that everyone understands their roles, the deliverables and the project request. So what should you include in your creative brief?
The basic checklist for any creative brief
Ideally, your brief should include:
- A project name
- Company background
- Main message
- Target audience
You will notice these sections in creative briefs done by other companies. Here are some examples!
Now that you have an idea of what a creative brief looks like…
How do you write a creative brief?
At most two pages long, the creative brief is deceptively simple. The document needs to condense plenty of information into short sections so every word needs to pack a punch!
These are the key steps you’ll need to consider to craft an effective brief.
1. Name your project
In any given organisation, there may be multiple projects going on at once so naming the project will not only give it a distinct identity, it’ll also prevent confusion.
The possibilities are endless but you’ll want a name that complements the project’s objectives or the brand identity.
It could be very factual and specific:
The New Ice Cream Flavours Campaign — An Ice Cream Company
It could be whimsical:
The Taste The Unknown Campaign — The aforementioned Ice Cream Company
It could be cheeky:
The “We’re anything but vanilla” campaign — Yup, still the same Ice Cream Company.
Ultimately, your project name should encapsulate the project.
2. Define the company’s background
Whether you’re working in-house or for a client, including a brief background will give your team a better understanding of how they can tailor the project to the brand’s identity. This section shouldn’t be too long and it should ideally take up less than three sentences.
Instead of copying it straight from the company’s about page, the brand’s background should be written in a way that aligns with the project. It should provide a glimpse into the company values and why they set out to do this project.
Here is an example from Syrguide:
In a few sentences, this brief explanation has provided insight into the client’s company and what they plan to achieve with the project.
These are some questions you can consider while coming up with the company background:
- What is the essence of the brand?
- What is the brand trying to achieve?
- Why are they doing this project now?
3. Determine your objectives
While the company background may summarise the overall goals they’re trying to achieve, this section is where you get specific. It’s time to think about:
- What problem is the project trying to address?
- What is the project selling?
- What is the desired outcome of this project?
The objective could be something simple, like Quaker’s brief:
Or it could be more specific, like Nike’s brief, which details the campaign’s deliverables:
You could also split up the problem statement and objectives, like this PayPal brief:
4. Choose your target audience
Now it’s time to choose the target audience for your project. Previously, we have extensively discussed how you can find your target audience.
You’ll want to segment your audience and pick a segment that you want to target. Naturally, this segment should be the group that will be the most interested in your project.
You can also start creating buyer personas, which are specific representations of your ideal customer. Just take a look at this example from Reebok:
6. Settle on your main message
How do you pinpoint the entirety of your project into a single message?
Rather than asking “What’s my project about?”, you should be asking “So What?”
Why should people care about your project? What’s so special about it? Asking yourself “So What?” helps you to figure out what will captivate your audience. The project may have multiple benefits but so what? How will this help your target audience? Here, you’re leading up to a solution, showing how your project will meet the needs of your audience.
Guiding your audience from the problem to its eventual solution shows that you understand their needs and in turn, you’re selling them value.
7. Find the right tone
Tone helps set the mood and it can make your creatives even more compelling for your audience. You should start by thinking about:
- How do you want your audience to feel?
- What mood are you trying to create?
- How do you perceive the client?
For example, if you’re catering to cheeky children, you want to adopt a fun and engaging tone. If you’re addressing a more sombre crowd, perhaps an authoritative tone might be preferred.
Of course, you could also tinker around! Let’s say you are planning a campaign on a serious topic like health insurance. You could totally adopt a light-hearted and witty tone to subvert expectations and gather more attention. It’s all in how you plan it!
8. Locate your chief competitors
To know how your company stands out, you’ll need to understand the competition. You can analyse some of the recent campaigns done by them to understand their past successes and failures. This allows you to emulate what was done right and avoid past mistakes.
A simple tool that helps you understand your market position is the SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis helps you determine your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats.
9. Establish your deliverables
This is easy! Are you producing branded interview videos? Or perhaps you’re designing a logo? All you have to do here is list out all the deliverables your team will be doing for the project. In the end, your team should have a distinct idea of what they’re expected to produce.
10. Edit before you pitch
Before you start pitching the creative brief to your team or clients, give it a good look. Ask yourself:
- Is the brief clear?
- Is it straight to the point?
- Have I missed out anything?
Your goal is to ensure that everyone understands the brief and it outlines everything they need to know. In other words, it should be simple yet comprehensive.
And there you have it, a guide to writing a creative brief! If you intend to produce a video for your campaign, why not hire an affordable Singapore video production company? With unlimited edits, you can adjust your video to meet your needs! To find out more, contact us for a free consultation below!