Strategic Design | marketing & branding thoughts by Nick Rice

Dynamic marketing, branding & design strategies that span the gap between business & creative.

Creative Briefs Part I: Why not What...

Over the years I've worked in both in-house creative teams and with outside agencies. Pretty much everyone involved will agree that a creative brief is an essential element to each project. But I've seen briefs vary widely. So I wanted to break down my view of what a creative brief should consist of and why.

First off, the brief is more about the why's behind the project than it is about what the project is supposed to be. The brief isn't the answer to the problem; it defines the problem so that the team can find an appropriate solution within a given budget & timeline.

I've seen a lot of marketing & sales staff put a lot of thought into exactly what they want their creative team to work on; but they rarely tell the creatives why they are asking for those items. For example, a typical website brief will include directions on how many pages, what copy goes on those pages and how they link together. That's great, but the creative team needs to understand why & how you came to those conclusions in order to truly develop an effective website that addresses the audience's needs.

Good creative teams are not button pushers. They can and should be a valuabe part of your strategic team. NOTE: I'll be the first to admit that it's the creatives fault that they do not have a seat at the table, but that's why I write this blog. Back on topic, your creative team should be a group of problem solvers. Working together, you work towards a common solution with different perspectives of the project. And that's great - it's the way it's supposed to be. Marketing & sales staff are good at the things creatives are not; and vice versa. The two halves equal the whole.

So next time you have a project. Explain the why's. Tell the creative team why you need this deliverable, what's the business problem you're trying to fix, why the audience needs a certain product, why you want specific colors and fonts, etc... If both teams are equal partners in the success of the project, both have a say in the best way to address the problem. And that's the way it should be.

1 Responses to “Creative Briefs Part I: Why not What...”

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