Nailing the brief

Nailing the brief
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Briefs fail to inspire. They are often uninspiring, dense decks of corporate mumbo-jumbo that are treated like a rigid rule books. Marketers need to energise their partners, but it is also an agency’s role to push back. Here Jaid Hulsbosch looks at the most common design brief mistakes and how to avoid them

Is your agency passive or Passionate? Consider your creative agency’s current mood…. 

Is it a team keen to keep the status quo, offering little input and simply following instruction? Or, does your agency have a passion for your business and is always looking for ways to improve and if need be, push back to deliver the right communications for your brand?

A critical first step for brand agencies is getting to know their client’s business intimately. Effective work can only be produced if the total picture is understood.

The most important tool that informs the strongest conceptual outcomes is the right brief.

The right brief comes from asking the right questions. Both the client and agency take on the responsibility to develop an extraordinary brief that ensures a strong platform from which to commence the creative ideations.

We’ve witnessed a few mistakes during the briefing process and recently, Heinz Australia commented on the issue. It was acknowledged they were well on the way with product development before integrating the design team. Well done to Heinz in recognizing the problem and taking steps to implement changes.

A few more common mistakes are:

  1. The client may withhold information because they don’t consider we need to know the business as a whole narrative, only its marketing plans and strategies.

  2. The client has a pre-conceived idea of what the creative should be and briefs us accordingly with established notions.

  3. And of course, let’s not forget timings – every agency’s catch cry – allow enough time to generate world-class ideas!

Like any worthwhile relationship, the expectation is for both client and creative team to commit 100% to the process. The client commitment in particular reflects a genuine belief in the function of brand, an understanding of the value-add it can bring to the bottom line and a total trust in its ability to deliver.

The most important part of the brief is our understanding and clarity of the business opportunity. John Borghetti, CEO, Virgin Australia was direct and clear with his vision to transform the business from a low-cost challenger to a contemporary, re-energized leader. Ultimately a strategic ‘game-changer’ for the Australian aviation market.

This transformation demonstrated how clear thinking, determination, passion and brand vision can elevate an underdog to a genuine competitor.

So what does a client need to give its agency to create an effective piece of communication?

All of the following but not limited to:

  • The business – What’s your business plan? (for the next 3yrs, 5yrs, 10yrs, 20yrs)

  • The market – What information do you have on the wider and niche markets?

  • The customer – Whom are you talking to and what do you know about them? What’s your current perception about the brand and business?

  • Marketing – What’s your long-term and tactical marketing plan? What are the current equities? What are your platforms of communication?

  • Key Point – What’s the single most important thing you want your audience to know or do when engaging with your brand?

Jaid Hulsbosch, director, Hulsbosch

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