Creative briefs may be brief, but often they aren’t very creative.
Rupal Parekh wrote an AdAge article on poor creative briefs last week: “Marketers, Quit Blaming Your Agency — It’s Your Brief at Fault”. It includes this illustrative quote from Casey Jones:
“If you rated the industry on a scale from one to 10, with one being a horrifying piece of direction and 10 being optimal, I would say that companies are currently somewhere between a two or three. The norm is partial, incomplete and sometimes no brief at all. A phone call or a text message comes across to the agency, and the agency is trying to read the client’s mind and they go off and start executing. Agencies go off and do stuff and then the marketer comes back and says ‘That’s not what I wanted'”
I’ve worked on both sides of the client/agency table, but learned the real power of a well-written creative brief from Eric Ryan at method. As an ex-agency planner, Eric understood that a quality creative brief unlocks quality talent at an agency. He put as much energy into a creative brief to an agency as he would to a creative pitch to method’s biggest customers. With so little marketing spend, the quality of the creative had to carry the weight.
Instead of a brief, write a manifesto. Instead of a brand promise, convey your brand purpose. Instead of bullet points, tell a story.
A creative brief should not just inform. It should inspire.
(Marketoonist Memorial Monday: I’m giving away two signed prints of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment at 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)