For companies that are serious about defining their brand and audiences, the creative brief is the essential first step. At Mix Creative, we typically start our work with a new client with a discovery session—an in depth question and answer session with our clients that gets at the heart of their business. From there, we prepare a written creative brief that will serve as our guide throughout the work we do together.
So what’s in a brief? It’s different from agency to agency, but a good creative brief may include:
1) The brand story. In order to understand where a company is headed, it’s important to understand where it’s come from: who were the founders, why was the business started (what was the impetus behind starting the business?), when was it started (and what was the cultural climate like then?), how was it started (as a sole proprietorship? An LLC? A Corporation?), and where it was started.
2) The brand objectives. What measures the company’s success now, and 10 years from now?
3) The brand promise. Simply put, the need the company fills for its clients.
4) The products and/or services. What are the products or deliverables clients look to the company to receive?
5) Brand benefits. What are the benefits to clients in using the company’s products and/or services. And…what is the benefit to consumers in purchasing this brand versus others?
6) Target audiences. Arguably the most important part of the brief, this section dives into who the company is selling to, including the psychology of their buying habits, their influences, their demographics, and much more. Understanding a business’s target audience is critical to that company’s success!
7) Competitors. It’s important to know and understand a company’s competitors in order to communicate to audiences how your company is different. It’s not uncommon that a client will come to me saying that they have NO competitors. To that I say, WRONG! Even if there is no one out there doing exactly what you do, there are plenty of companies out there competing for your audiences’ dollars.
8) Inspirations. Much as it is important to understand those seeking the same dollars as your audiences, there is much to learn from companies in unrelated fields that are reaching out effectively to their audiences.
9) Brand personality. This section focuses on the feel or tone of the company. Questions in this section weigh heavily in establishing the overall brand’s look and voice.
10) Brand elements. Companies may already have completed much in the way of the look and feel of their brand; sometimes the challenge is bringing disparate elements of the same brand together to form a cohesive whole.
What emerges from the brief is a picture of a company from past to present and into the future. Most of our clients find the discovery process to be enlightening, awakening their minds to aspects of their business they hadn’t considered since they began the business.