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7 Elements of Winning Creative Briefs

April 11, 2016

Creative briefs are standard tools in marketing and advertising. Yet, all too often, poorly conceived and executed creative briefs lead to uninspired deliverables. For creative briefs to succeed, there must be a balance between specific instructions and insights and leeway for your creative team to create.

Below we present the elements of effective creative briefs and why each is a critical component of a winning brief.

Deliverables

This section is fairly self-explanatory: Specify exactly what needs to be developed for the project. This requires that you plan, in advance, what channels you want to use.

Objective

Here, you want to identify what the campaign should accomplish. Is the goal to create awareness, knowledge, preference, purchase, or something else? Is there something you want to make the audience think, feel, or do? Be specific and express it as an action.

Positioning Statement

What is the strategic statement that positions this product/service within the category among other offerings? You might use the following template as an initial guide that you can play with to suit your needs: “For (target audience), (brand name) is the (product/service description) that (benefit) because (reason why).”

Unique Value Proposition

This is where you write, typically in very few words, what sets this product/service apart and makes it like no other. Don’t get too specific here or you will stifle the creatives’ ability to surprise you.

Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach? This is more about how real people think, feel and act than about demographic percentages. Your goal should be to create a picture of your audience that the creative team can then visualize. You want to go beyond the age, location and gender profiles to include lifestyle insights.

Reasons to Believe

List the features and benefits that make up your competitive advantage. List both the rational and the emotional reasons.

Tone

Identify the tone you want to project. Is this a luxury hotel or a healthcare clinic? Each requires a specific voice.

Considerations/Insights

This is where you provide additional information that the creative team should know. You might include consumer insights and key research findings and implications.

Mandatories

Is there anything the team must do with the creative piece(s) to be in legal and brand partner compliance? This step should not be overlooked if there are potential issues that need addressing.

As you work through your creative briefs, this template can serve as a helpful guideline. But the most important thing to remember is that a complete and thorough creative brief is just the beginning.

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