Picture the tableau. A creative person gets ready to present a brand launch campaign. The agency has worked late into the night, drunk tonnes of coffee and bonded over client idiosyncrasies. This is their defining moment. They believe their creative offering will meet brand objectives and present the campaign with heart and soul. When the presentation is over, a feeling of expectation is in the air. They look towards the client. He looks around the room and after some hemming and hawing says – ‘Maza Nahin Aaya’.

Nothing kills a discussion more effectively than vague statements based on personal likes and dislikes. And, in my personal opinion, destroys team morale as well.

Over the past two decades, I have witnessed several moments when a decision maker is unable to state why he does not like a creative offering. Feedback is often in terms of personal likes, anecdotes or calling in random colleagues and asking for their views. These discussions end in stale mate with both teams retiring hurt without any real output.

While working in blue chip firms with strong creative directors – I understood the benefits of a well defined marketing brief. By stating business goals and linking them to marketing objective we could help our agency understand the bigger picture. A well written marketing brief inspires the creative person to create a powerful, sales driven campaign. Moreover in rare cases, when the creative output does not match the specifications, the brief makes it easier for the marketing team to point out what is not working and request for changes.

A proper brief is granular. For those who are struggling with sluggish creative partnerships – review the briefing & evaluation process. Write a detailed agency brief. Use it to give constructive feedback. It may lead to a “Wow” moment. To spur people on, am putting down a few simple points to cover in the briefing process. Feel free to add more information as required.

1. Business growth targets and marketing objectives
• Setting a context is the first step towards ensuring the creative folk are on the right track. If they don’t understand the business challenge how can they help us address it?

2. Detailed pen picture of the end consumer
• Demographics and Psychographic profile of the potential buyer are essential for a well targeted campaign. The more information available, the better.

3. Product Benefits
• Rational Benefits that are about functionality + Emotional Benefits that are about brand image. Agency folk need clarity on both before working on the creative.

4. Competitive Context
• Quick update on key players and their current positioning. Without an overview – our creative becomes irrelevant. And this is something that the brand owner can do easily and with confidence.

5. Media Mix, timelines and Budgets
• Without committed budgets, which sometimes define the media mix, the brief is incomplete. Writing a brief including budgets & time-frame, give a sense of perspective and a feeling of urgency.

6. Key factors for evaluation
• Parameters for evaluation of the creative – research and business metrics. Without well defined parameters – feedback is subjective.

In summation:
Agency or Brand briefs are an essential part of the creative process. They provide a business overview, necessary information to help sell a product or service and establish the end result desired from the campaign.

There were moments when my agency friends cursed me for long briefs and un-necessary information. However it paid off for all of us. Most of our campaigns were successful and brands grew faster than their competition. Plus I learnt a lot from healthy discussions inspired by a well written brand brief.