What Goes Into a Creative Brief?

Whether you love them or hate them, a creative brief is a necessary part of Urban Jungle’s marketing, design and communications process.

Over the years we’ve seen creative briefs done many different ways. The worst briefs have baffled us with vague statements, meaningless buzzwords, and clichés; while the best have guided us with tightly defined strategies that relate to the company’s “big picture” goal.

It’s important to note…

A well-written creative brief is the soul of the design process and is crucial to your project’s success. If you are finding the task of creating your creative brief next to impossible, then it’s likely your company does not have a clearly defined brand strategy. The bad news? Without a brand strategy your company is destined for mediocrity. The good news? Brand strategies are Urban Jungle’s bread and butter and we can help position your company to dominate your market.

The following are the 9 major points your creative brief should cover:

1. Define the Project

This is the easy part. Just describe what needs to be done. We’ll get into more detail later.

2. Project Summary

To begin, state general project goals and relevant background information. Include project history (if any), and reasons for needing work. Define the company, what it does, how it makes a profit and its place within the industry. The idea here is to clarify what the company does, where it needs to go in the future, and how this project will help achieve that end.

3. Objectives

What is the single purpose of the project?
What are the secondary goals of the project?
What action do we want the target audience to take? The most frequent answer is “We want the prospect to buy our product.” The objective should be simple and easily communicated.

4. Target Audience

If you try to talk with everyone, you’re not talking directly to anyone. The more broad your target, the more vanilla your message. You need a portrait of the target audience’s attitude and usage patterns—beyond mere demographics. Who is the target? What do they care about? And what they do on a daily basis? What other companies, competitors or industry-related, do they have contact with? Choose a typical current customer profile in detail. Include occupation, age range, gender, online frequency, activities and any other relevant information. Profile more than one if applicable.

5. Key Customer Benefit / Core Idea

What is the one single idea you want the target audience to take out of the design? The essence of this is sacrifice. You have to give up some points to make the important ones stand out. All the great success stories are simple, not complicated. They say one thing—brilliantly.

6. Position

There’s a need to set your design and message apart from competitors. Positioning is different from consumer benefit as it deals mainly with setting yourself apart from competitors who are claiming the same key customer benefit.

  • How do you think your company is different from the competition?
  • How does your customer think you’re different from the competition?
  • Who are your competitors? Where do you fall amongst them in terms of industry perception?
  • What specifically sets you apart from your competition?
  • What do you offer that no other company in your industry offers?
  • What do you offer that everyone else offers?
  • What service is your company best?
  • What services need work to grow?
  • What areas of the current customer perception are successful and why?
  • Does the company have any negative perceptions in the marketplace?

 

7. Tone of Voice / Manner

What is the personality of your brand? Watch out for dissonance between design and the company overall message.

  • What does the target audience currently think and feel about your company?
  • What do you want them to think and feel?
  • How will this project help to achieve this goal?
  • What adjectives can be used to describe the way your company should be perceived?
  • What specifically do these adjectives mean to the customer’s daily life or business?
  • What are some specific visual goals the project should convey? How will the visuals convey the message?
  • What will be the tone of the messaging and copy? Is it verbose? Short and to-the-point? Industry jargon? B2B? Plain English?
  • What are some common messages used to sell products or services related to yours? Is ther any messaging you know of that will not work?

 

8. Media

Understanding the media is always important in the design process. The medium itself invites us to be creative in the delivery of your message so it leaps off the poster, website or advertisement.

9. Deadline

This is the part of the creative brief that leaves no room for personal interpretation. The deadline is used to plan the process we will take to execute the work and make sure it’s delivered on time.

Still have questions about the creative brief writing process?

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