8 November 2015 1288 Views 1 Comments

Dear Sir, I am sorry to have wearied you with so long a letter but I did not have time to write you a short one – wrote a long time ago Johann Wolfgang Goethe to one of his friends. I use this quotation whenever I teach to write briefs to the advertising agencies and whenever I work with someone on a short speech.

Brief me

Brief me,in other words, write or tell me in a few words what to do, what the case is about, what you want. This phrase accompanies us in corporate and agency life. If you work in a marketing department and you want to cooperate with an agency, or you run your own business and want to ask the graphics to prepare advertising material for your company, this text is for you.

Relation: agency – company

If, whenever in your career, you will hear from the agency: Good brief. It is a pity more customers do not write like this – know that you’ve just received a wonderful compliment from the agency. Keep in mind, however, that unfortunately, the marketing industry suffers from the deficiency in good briefs. It happens that companies don’t really know themselves what they want, and they expect the agencies to tell them what they’re supposed to do and how. There is nothing wrong with that if only the companies understood that this is the work that should be paid for. Telling a company what actions it should take up to heal the brand is the creative work done by the agency, and not just an introduction to further talks and negotiations.

The nitty-gritty

To say or write something of value, one needs a lot of time to think it through and include the essence of the message. We work fast and intensely, and this demands conciseness and concreteness from us. I believe that if someone cannot express in a few sentences, and preferably in one, what they want to sell, do, or achieve, then they don’t know what they want. Sometimes I receive a brief and it is many-Word-pages long, or a presentation which gets me 10 or more minutes to go through. Then I know that this will require a lot of work until I get to the point. A good brief is a one-pager. Fine, you may have two slides presenting the benchmark (a reference to the best examples of the brief’s topic) and the moodboard (a photo-collage reflecting the emotions character). They will be the inspiration and the hints to your expectations, but this is just a small addition for the agency.

What does the agency want?

The nitty-gritty 🙂 or in other words, a quality, short content which will be a solid beginning of the creation process. There are various brief forms. However, in the first place, the agency is looking for:
What to do and when. The information as to what to prepare. This is to define the time and resources that are needed for the job.
Single minded message (SMM). A compound single sentence. The thought that expresses the essence of the brand. It doesn’t matter whether it concerns the logo or TV advertisement.
Insight. The consumer need to which you respond.
Benefit. The emotional or rational benefit which you sell. Decide on one. Remember the pigeonholes in our brains that I wrote about in the article on hemispheres.
Target group. A defined target-group. In this case it is not about the sales targets, for this there is another brief.
Communication objective. A goal, or goals, you want to achieve through the subject matter of the brief. Both communication and business goals.
Background. The description depicting the brand’s position in the competitive environment in which it currently operates or wants to enter.
Yes, I know, working in marketing to many people is… very easy.

Shit in. shit out.

When the agency come to you with a creation and proposals for actions, and you don’t like a thing, accept the fact that you have badly briefed the agency. I hear very often from my students: but the agencies really don’t understand my product and they often come up with the solutions completely not on the brief. I don’t buy that. The consequence of the agency’s work is the quality of the brief. You, the person who manages the brand, have the responsibility to convey your vision. If you don’t have one, the agency will nevertheless take the challenge. It will do everything to find out and clarify your expectations before it gets to work. They care about creating something good. Something that will build your success, the success of your brand and your agency. After all, everyone wants to be the part of success.

Małgorzata Lisowska

My name is Malgorzata Lisowska. I'm working as an Innovation Architect. I build innovation and brands, making the maximum use of the potential of the right and left hemispheres.

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