How to Write a Creative Brief

How to Write a Creative Brief

A creative brief is one of the foundations of any good creative project. It is usually a short written document of 1 or 2 pages comprising the necessary information related to the key ingredients of the project. These generally include the following: project goals, purpose, timeline, main criteria, brand guidelines, target audience, potential challenges. Sometimes, there may also be a list of pros and cons. In the most typical cases, it is a creative project manager who designs the document, with the cooperation of the creative team.

Some consultants may be providing this service as well since they often know how to write a creative brief. Once ready (or before, depending on the context), the brief is shared with clients and key stakeholders. It also serves as a roadmap for the creative team, by allowing them to understand the main aspects of the project.

is a creative brief necessary

Is a Creative Brief Necessary?

The obligation to write a creative brief is not a rule set in stone. However, most companies consider it to be a good idea and even a necessity when trying to clarify the strategies of a project. Indeed, for those who don’t want to waste time, later on, understanding the project right from the beginning is essential. Plus, a well-written creative brief provides a plan to follow and enables to anticipate contingencies. It creates a sort of bridge between all the actors involved in the project. Each of them is informed about the expected process. Many specialists believe that it is one of the main content marketing tools. Most importantly, taking the time to write an effective creative brief may offer an atmosphere of trust for all the parties.

Guidelines for Creative Brief Writing

Just like any other creative work, writing an impactful brief can be both simple and complicated. Let’s rather try to make it simple. You can become able to write a creative brief in less time than you imagine. One of the advantages of our era is undoubtedly the Internet. Indeed, today it is possible to find creative brief templates on the web for free. This can be a good starter for those who may be feeling lost. Different formats and designs are available, so you can choose the one(s) that suit(s) best your needs and professional style. Most of them come in a fill-in-the-blank format. That is, they are almost ready to be used: you only have to complete them with the relevant information of your project. Other than that, these creative brief examples can simply serve as a source of inspiration.

When it comes to writing your creative briefs from scratch, keeping the ‘less is more’ motto in mind can be useful. Being selective is the best option since you will have to write a limited number of pages. But at the same time, you will want to make your brief seem as exhaustive as possible. So how to write a creative brief that will fit your project like a glove?

most common requirements

Most Common Requirements

Here are the most common requirements for writing a creative brief.

Don’t Rush

Rule of thumb number one. In this frenetically fast-paced era, you may be one of the many people working within limited timeframes. Still, your brief deserves attention and respect. Before writing the final manuscript, make sure to work on drafts. This way, it will be easier to detect any errors or omissions.

Consult With Your Clients

Depending on the situation, the project can be an order made by your clients. So they will most probably want to see their opinions and suggestions reflected in the brief. You would not make them feel excluded… Instead, make them feel appreciated by welcoming them to each step of the process. Try to give information regularly and be transparent as much as possible.

Keep It Intelligible

This is not about winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. The language used in the brief has to look professional and striking, yet simple to understand. Remember: you are trying to explain something to your partners, not to confuse them.

Give Background Information

A project rarely comes out of nowhere. It is usually the result of a reflection process and born under specific circumstances. So it is important to provide a few historical reminders. Knowing where a project comes from can help to shape further expectations and keep them at appropriate/realistic levels.

Highlight Your Brand Statement

Choose one or two short sentences or formulas most likely to reflect your company’s and/or brand’s main mission. You may also add short information about its general positioning in the sector and its most noticeable features.

Present the Target Audience

Who will benefit from the project? Who do you intend to impress? Gather and share information about your target audience. This information may include demographics, preferences, requests, etc.

Make Keepable Promises

In other words, list your objectives as well as the challenges to be expected. This will give a realistic tone to your brief and increase your credibility. Explain how you are planning to reach these objectives. Try to be clear about your problem-solving strategies. Write a creative brief that takes feasibility into account.

Wrap It up With Key Messages

This is the ‘feeling’ part. What is your attitude and how do you want your target audience to feel about your project? No doubt that the strategy will depend on the target audience. You may want to display a self-assured profile if you are writing and working for a law office. You may rather adopt a more ‘relax and fun’ tone if your project consumers are youngsters on social media. In other words, the key messages should be designed according to the psychological features of your target.  

faq about writing a creative brief

FAQ About How to Write a Creative Brief

I’m a beginner/not feeling confident about my writing skills. What should I do?

As explained in the article, you may use templates or collaborate with a specialized consultant. Content writing agencies can help you as well.

Can I link my current creative brief with past creative briefs?

You certainly can provide links to past projects and briefs. This may allow you to save time and even avoid redundancies.

I often hear the term ‘ deliverable’ in projects. What is it exactly?

The deliverables are the results of the project or what your project intends to deliver. You may include them in your creative brief. In some other sources, the term is used to describe any tool and support which contributes to the realization of a project.

How to choose a social media channel for my creative brief?

It will depend on the profile of your marketing campaign and project. Try and compare the different options. You might find the one which suits the tone of your project.

Can I use visuals for my creative brief?

It is actually a good idea to write a creative brief with visuals. This can help you better communicate your ideas and make the document more appealing. You can use various tools, such as storyboards.

Conclusion on How to Write a Creative Brief

We have mainly focused on the creative team part in this article. However, there are other teams who intervene in the process as well. The marketing team is in charge of the marketing campaigns and data gathering about the clients and competitors. The accounts team is responsible for the aspects related to budget management. So the data that these teams provide will also contribute to shaping the project. This means that the list above is just a possible model. You may add other items, depending on the type of project that you are promoting. Want to hone your writing skill even further? Check out How to Write a Good Introduction in Blog Posts.

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After working for so many years in the screenwriting business, Ralph decided that he needed to be more involved with the digital world. Therefore he became a content writer by putting his skills into practice after learning about subjects he's interested in, mostly social media.

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