5 Steps to an Award-Winning Creative Brief

Creativity isn’t just born, it is the result of research, planning and strategy. Award winning creative takes these steps and fleshes them out in the form of a creative brief. The brief serves as an outline, abstract, map and brainstorm all at once. Although it serves many functions, a creative brief is not a hodgepodge or stew pot of questions. It is a carefully designed tool that helps to streamline and translate the various ideas, needs and questions of a pitch, ad, or social media, into a compelling and persuasive creative campaign.

Because creative briefs offer parameters and serve as guidelines, it is easy and normal to think of a one size fits all template of questions that are used each and every time a new campaign is begun. However, falling into this trap may lead to the opposite of the desired results: boring, cookie cutter or irrelevant advertising, marketing, social media, etc. The needs of a social media campaign will differ greatly from those of a traditional advertising campaign. Similarly, when creating a brand the questions and results will differ from creating a marketing or public relations strategy.

Five basic steps for any creative brief include: defining the goal, who is the target audience, establishing timelines, staying true to the brand and working within budget. These considerations take on a new meaning depending on whether the project is for a new pitch, an ongoing media campaign or is ‘needed yesterday’ status. All of these moving pieces and questions can become daunting, but are necessary to ensure award winning creative is produced. Today’s advertising, marketing and social media spaces are all highly competitive and require strong and savvy work.

Knowing the level of work required for a creative brief, the campaign and all related items, working with a full service marketing and advertising agency is often a worthwhile investment and solution. A trusted agency partner will work with a company to produce campaigns that meet the definition of award winning creative, regardless of type or turnaround time. When looking for an agency partner, review the basic considerations for a creative brief and make sure they tie to the agency’s strategy, mission and culture.

Although an expert at advertising and marketing, the agency isn’t an expert in a company’s brand and message without the necessary research, trust and communication. A trusted agency partner will become an expert in their client, as well as the delivering the needed creative. Just as an agency will start with a creative brief as the foundation for an advertising or marketing campaign, a company should research and interview agencies before hiring an agency. What works well for one company may not work for another.

By understanding what goes into producing creative briefs, campaigns, branding and public relations, a company may then begin to successfully interview an agency to ensure a fit of needs, work styles and culture. It is important to remember that over the course of a relationship, there will be various creative needs and the agency research and interview process should take this into consideration as well. By thinking in terms of a creative brief when finding an agency, a company is on the road to award winning creative briefs, advertising, marketing and much more!

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