A recent discussion topic at the Linkedin Marketing Communication group is:
What is the best question to ask in a Creative Brief? If you were only given one question to ask a client about her business, what is the most important?
Of course, you don’t need to narrow the creative brief down to just one question but the responses given by the group members (651 at the time this was published) gave some insight into just whom they thought a creative brief was written for.
The questions submitted covered budgets, past efforts, expectations, call to action and challenges among others. Many questions were concerning marketing and strategy.
I hesitate to be so blunt, but many (many, many, many) of them are asking the wrong question.
The creative brief is not written for the marketing team. It is not written for the client. It is written for the creative team.
The creative brief is primarily a tool to inspire creativity. It is not an instrument to develop strategy. The strategy should be decided before starting work on a creative brief. While strategy, goals, deadlines, and objectives can all be part of the brief, the purpose of the document is inspiration. It should provide an emotional vocabulary defining the heart of the brand. Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning the development of gushy, mushy, Hallmark inspired documents. All decent creative briefs are focused, short, inspiring and void of exaggerated nonsense. It must be authentic, providing true insight into the connection between a company and its customers.
For me, the one question that needs to be answered in a creative brief is:
Get that right, and you will without fail provide inspiration. Follow it up by defining the objectives, audience, etc. and you would have invested your time wisely and written a creative brief for the right audience—the creative team. The creative brief is one of the biggest opportunities the client and marketing team have to influence the success of a project. Take full advantage of it.