Brand Strategy
By Scott Bartley

Crafting the Perfect Creative Brief: Inspiring Collaborations for Exceptional Results

Let me ask you an obvious, I mean rhetorical, question: Would you build a house without developing (and approving) plans that blueprint the home’s size and structure? Houses cost a lot of money, so you’d want to be sure the home meets your specific needs and vision. And you’d definitely want to make sure the end result is what you were expecting, right?  So, we’re in agreement — plans before building are a must. 

How about a new website? Or a social media ad campaign? Wouldn’t you want a thorough plan for these in place before getting started? They cost money. Their outcomes are very important, and chances are you’ve given the final product a good deal of thought. And while you’re not going to live in them, you are definitely going to live with them. 

Let’s take a closer look at how you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your team’s briefs and then download ours:

1. Start with Clear Objectives:

Always start at the beginning. I don’t have to tell you that every successful project begins with a clearly defined objective. A strong creative brief clearly defines the project’s goals by stating your desired outcomes, such as increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or launching a new product. These objectives must be measurable, specific, and aligned with your overall marketing goals. 

“Increase website traffic.” Weak.

“Increase website traffic by 20% within six months through a targeted content marketing campaign.” Hey now!

2. Understand Your Target Audience:

To ensure a project resonates with your target audience, the creative team must have a deep understanding of the audience’s needs, desires, and preferences. Go deep — a brief needs to provide detailed insights of demographics, psychographics, and behaviors; it should include information about the audience’s challenges, aspirations, and values. 

For the creative to say “I get you,” the brief needs to clearly identify who you’re trying to get.

3. Align with Brand Guidelines:

Your brand should be as consistent as Ted Lasso’s positive outlook*. Maintaining a consistent brand identity across all marketing is crucial for building brand recognition and trust with your audience. And that’s why it is essential to include your brand guidelines in every brief. Logo usage, typography, color palette, content guidelines, and any other visual or verbal elements that define your brand’s personality — all of it — this is what the team (especially if it’s a new creative partner) needs to deliver a successful result that is true to your brand.

Ted Lasso: model of consistency.


4. Specify Project Requirements:

Creatives have many talents, but mind reading (typically) isn’t one of them. A brief needs to provide detailed specifications, including project deliverables, formats, and timelines. It should define the scope of the project; whether it’s a print ad, an OOH billboard, website development or redesign, a social media initiative, or a full-fledged campaign. Specify the required assets, such as high-resolution images, videos, or copy. Also, please (x 1,000,000) include the specific specs for the media — it will save everyone involved a ton of time. And finally, be sure to include a (realistic) timeline to ensure that everyone involved understands the project’s milestones and deadlines.

5. Align with Brand Guidelines:

A creative brief must articulate the key messages you want to convey in your final deliverables. Identify the main points you want your audience to remember, focusing on the unique selling points of your product or service. And don’t forget to include clear call-to-actions that direct your audience towards the desired action that will meet your project objectives.

6. Stimulate Creativity:

You shouldn’t bring an umbrella to a brainstorm!*

Allowing the creative team to contribute ideas and suggestions based on their expertise encourages creative thinking. Nobody has all the answers (except my wife), so leave room for interpretation and innovation, while providing enough guidance to ensure strategic alignment with your objectives. By fostering a collaborative environment, you can tap into the diverse talents of your team and achieve creative solutions that go beyond your expectations.

So, in summary, a compelling and effective creative brief is the foundation for a successful collaboration between the client and creative team. These six guidelines will ensure your brief is clear, specific, and strategically aligned.

One more time for those in the back:

1) Define your objectives
2) Understand your target audience
3) Align with brand guidelines
4) Specify project requirements
5) Include key messages and call-to-actions
6) Stimulate creativity


Can’t get enough of the brief?
Download our Creative Brief Template here.

Remember, this Bartley & Dick template serves as a starting point and may need customization based on your specific project requirements and industry. Feel free to adapt it as needed to ensure all necessary information is included.

*Love a good Ted Lasso reference? Reach out to us.

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