Let’s talk about creative briefs

I want to take a few minutes to talk about the importance of a brief, how we approach the brief, the challenge and strategy, target audience, and client collaboration that it takes to put together a comprehensive brief.

To some, facing a creative brief is no different than staring down a stack of TPS reports. I think the main cause for this issue is that some account folks don’t truly understand the importance of the creative brief. I’ll openly admit that I was one of those people – as a newly anointed account man, I just didn’t get it.

The creative brief isn’t just a list to-do’s for the creative team. More specifically it defines the strategy of what to say and how to say it. At its very essence, it is a literal execution of the creative concept. The single most important thing to remember is that if a client isn’t onboard with a brief, they’re not going to be onboard with the creative execution. For this very reason, I make every client a contributor to my creative briefs. I’d like to share an example for Severn Savings Bank where we had good collaboration with the client and a strong strategic direction which ultimately led to a strong creative execution.

The most basic brief should answer three questions: WHO are what talking to? WHAT are we telling them? WHY is this important? The answer to each of these questions is incorporated into a positioning statement for our creative team that is at the very core of what the creative execution will say. For us, this is the most critical portion of the brief to get client approval on before moving into creative development.

In our example, our challenge was to create awareness of Severn Savings Bank’s electronic banking products. The positioning statement that answered the questions above and gave the team their final direction in development was: For current Severn Savings Bank customers, Severn Savings Bank is the community bank that provides the convenience for you to bank when you want, how you want and where you want because they offer online banking, e-statements, online bill pay and mobile banking.

Here are the three executions that our team put together using this information. You can see how each execution answers our WHO, WHAT and WHY questions.

Electronic Banking at Severn Savings Bank

Sample of Creative Advertising based on a Creative Brief Electronic Banking Ad

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