The lost art of briefing well, and time travel.
You know what they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” But you know when it also flies? When you’re working with a marketing, communications, or social agency without a clear brief! Picture a game of charades with an over-caffeinated mime – hilarious, chaotic, and you’re almost certain they’re acting out “Gone with the Wind” for the fifth time.
It’s akin to having a shepherd guiding a pack of hyperactive squirrels instead of sheep. The squirrels are creative, talented, and full of energy – just like your agency. But they’ve got the attention span of… well, squirrels. To save time (and your sanity), you need to steer that beautiful energy in the right direction.
Why are briefs important
Enter the magical artefact: The Brief. No, not your tighty whities. We’re talking about that majestic document you bestow upon your agency. The Brief is a mystical tome that holds the power to channel their creativity. Think of it as Dumbledore’s wand. Except instead of casting “Expecto Patronum,” you’re casting “Expecto Product-promotonum.”
The Brief should be precise, detailed, and comprehensive, a blueprint for your project. A vague brief is like asking someone to paint a portrait of your third cousin, twice removed, based on your memory from a family reunion ten years ago. Chances are you’ll end up with a Picasso-esque interpretation that looks more like a cross between your Aunt Bertha and the family poodle.
A properly written brief helps your agency understand the exact vision you have in mind. It’s a bit like giving directions to the destination. You wouldn’t say, “Turn left at the place where that old tree used to be before the storm of ’98.” Unless, of course, your aim is to have them roam around aimlessly while you sit back and enjoy your coffee.
Creating a well-detailed brief is like buying insurance for your time. Trust me, your future self dealing with deadlines will thank you! After all, there’s no Time Turner necklace in the real world (sorry to crush your dreams, Potterheads). Time once spent cannot be reclaimed, unless of course, you have a DeLorean stashed somewhere.
The beauty of a comprehensive brief is that it turns your agency into a group of highly skilled chefs who know exactly what recipe they’re cooking. No more, “Here’s a kitchen, make me something tasty.” Instead, it’s, “Here’s a kitchen, the recipe, and the exact ingredients. Now, make me a Beef Wellington.”
To save time you need to invest time
Creating a good brief is indeed a time-consuming and meticulous process, but it’s also an investment that pays off in spades. Here’s what you need to do to create an ace brief:
- Research: An effective brief is founded on thorough research. You need to have a deep understanding of your business, your target audience, your competitors, and the marketplace. Compiling this data takes time and effort, but it is essential to communicate your needs accurately and efficiently.
- Clarity: It’s not enough just to know what you want; you also need to communicate it clearly. This requires precise language, a logical structure, and consideration of the recipient’s perspective. Remember, what seems obvious to you might not be clear to others.
- Alignment: A good brief ensures that everyone is on the same page. But reaching consensus can be a lengthy process, especially in larger organizations. You may need to consult various stakeholders, such as team members, department heads, or even board members, to align on the project’s objectives, timelines, and budgets.
- Future-proofing: A well-prepared brief can save time in the long run by reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings, revisions, and reworks. This means investing time upfront to ensure your brief is comprehensive and well-considered.
- Decision Making: Part of briefing well involves making decisions about what you want and don’t want. Deciding on the project’s scope, its goals, and its intended audience – these choices take thought, discussion, and time.
What does a brief need to include?
We’re glad you asked.
A well-constructed brief should be both thorough and precise, containing all the crucial information your marketing, communications, or social agency needs to execute the project successfully. Here are some vital elements:
- Background: This is where you provide context. Who are you as a company? What’s your history, your ethos, and what are your overall marketing objectives? Why are you asking for this? An agency needs to understand who you are to better tailor its services to you.
- Project Overview: A comprehensive summary of what the project entails. This includes what you need, why you need it, and what you hope to achieve with it.
- Goals and Objectives: What do you want to accomplish with this project? Be clear and specific. The more precise your targets, the more your agency can focus its efforts.
- Target Audience: Who is this project aimed at? Providing information on the demographics, psychographics, and behaviors of your target audience will allow the agency to create more personalized, effective content.
- Key Messages: What are the essential points you want to communicate to your audience? What is your brand’s voice and how should it be conveyed?
- Competitors: Who are your main rivals? A good understanding of your competition can help the agency position your brand more effectively.
- Deliverables: Clearly define what you expect at the end of the project. This could be a marketing plan, a social media campaign, a PR strategy, etc.
- Budget: A crucial aspect, yet often a delicate topic. It’s important to be upfront about your budget to manage expectations on both sides.
- Timeline: Set clear deadlines for the project stages. A roadmap helps the agency to allocate resources efficiently and keeps everything on track.
- Contact Information: Include the details of the project’s main contact person. This makes communication easier and ensures all updates and queries are addressed promptly.
So folks, here’s your takeaway: a brief isn’t just a piece of paper, it’s a roadmap, a recipe, a time machine! It’s the secret weapon that ensures your agency team doesn’t turn into headless chickens on a caffeine-induced frenzy. The better the brief, the less time you spend deciphering artwork that looks suspiciously like Aunt Bertha crossbred with Fido, or having to make revision 382 because the agency ‘didn’t get it’.
Next time you work with a marketing, communications, or social agency, remember, a well-briefed team is a time-saving, hyper-efficient, and slightly less nutty team. And that, my friends, is no laughing matter! Well… unless you count the chuckles when you reminisce about the “Gone with the Wind” charades… or that time Greg from Creative pitched the idea about landing on Mars.
If you are looking to be more creative with your campaigns, need an injection of energy with your social media, or want help with your marketing strategy, or communications strategy, then we would be happy to help. We’ve created strategies and campaigns for hundreds of brands that have helped them achieve their goals, whether the goal is to drive awareness of your brand, change perceptions, generate leads, sell tickets, reach niche audiences, or anything else in between. So, if you’ve got a strategy you don’t know how to implement, a project brief you need help with, or a challenge you aren’t sure how to solve, then contact us. We’d love to hear from you.