February 19, 2016

Writing a Visionary Creative Brief

The brief plays an integral part in creating a successful result but writing a clear, concise and effective brief isn’t always as easy as it sounds. The finished work will be a reflection of the brief provided so it’s important to take the time to get it right.

Let’s take a look at the elements of a successful brief.


Introduce the project to the creative team.

This is the big picture overview and background to the project, including business conditions and objectives, market conditions, opportunities and problems. It’s easy to write a novel in this section but keep it succinct. Exclude irrelevant information.

Discuss the objective of the campaign – the desired effect. What should the audience think, feel or do.

Target Audience

Who we are talking to.

Paint a profile of the audience – how they think, feel and behave as opposed to numbers and percentages. Go beyond basic information of age, location and gender to humanize demographic details into insights and lifestyle information. A useful technique is to ‘tell a story’ of your average user – where they live, what they like and dislike, what sites they visit and how they think and behave in relation to your product or industry.


The most important thing to say or show.

Identify the single most persuasive statement, compelling visual or intriguing idea that you can present to achieve the objective. This is often in the form of a Unique Selling Proposition – an unambiguous sum of all the features and benefits that differentiates you from your competitors or industry. Keep it simple. Remember that the result will reflect the initial brief so if you give a confused or complex focus you can’t expect a concise and effectual result.


The underlying truth.

This is in bold as it is the single most important aspect of creating an effective, relevant and successful campaign. It incorporates all of the above points into a deep understanding, an underlying truth, which is a revelation on the ‘true nature’ of the relationship between your audience and your business/product. All great advertising is based on an exceptional and unique insight and gives creativity perspective and inspires resonance with the audience.

When executed successfully it captures the rational and emotional reasons for the consumer to take action, hence giving the campaign weight and efficacy.

Take the time to get this right, research and examine thoroughly, break it down again and again to uncover that nugget of truth. Great ideas invent themselves when you have a great insight.

Supplementary Information

Anything else that might help.

Consumer insights, memorable quotes, brand personality descriptions, tag lines, mandatory elements and desired tone of voice are all examples of supplementary information that is relevant and can aid the creative process. As mentioned before keep it succinct and simple, irrelevant information will just distract from the original purpose.


Include details on media, sizes, presentation requirements and production specs. Also specify timelines and dates for reviews, revisions and presentations.

You should also write the details for the people involved in the project; account managers and strategists, client contacts and information and anyone else that is involved that may need to be contacted.


There is no point rushing the brief and expecting creative teams to decipher its meaning and create what you expect. The result reflects the brief and to get the most out of a creative idea it needs to be grounded and guided. If you follow these points it is more than likely that you will get not only an innovative and captivating campaign, but one that is effective and successful too.