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Your Creative Brief Ambassador

[ 3 ] March 4, 2013 |

I’ve heard a lot of negative statements about Creative Briefs but none more resounding than what I call the “Number One Challenge.” And I feel qualified to call this the number one challenge, as I’ve heard it repeated across the many companies I’ve worked with over the past 25 years. Drum roll please…“The client doesn’t get what the Creative Brief is all about”—or some very close variation to this statement. Generally disgruntled feedback on the part of the creative team speaks to process and content:

  1. “They fill it out like a form at the doctor’s office—with great intensity but not much thought for what happens to it after they leave.”
  2. “They use marketing buzz speak instead of actual language that means something. They show off their ability to ‘write’.”
  3. “They direct the creative solution thinking that’s what is being asked of them, and then they are annoyed that they did all the thinking. And now we’re just an overpaid pair of hands.
  4. I could keep adding to the list, but I think you get the idea…

Want the good news? You can change this state of affairs! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Find 1.

One person on the client side, at any level, who gets what you’re talking about. Or who has the most potential to understand the value of a Creative Brief.

This person is your potential Creative Brief Ambassador. Give her and her projects white glove attention. Patiently walk her through the Creative Brief and write it together. The more comfortable she is, the more deeply she’ll experience the value of a Creative Brief done right, and she’ll happily help you get the good word out to other clients. Depending on your relationship, consider telling her that she’s being groomed for this role. Let her feel the importance of it; she might love the idea of influencing others. (Caution: be sure she’s ready for this role before you tell her!) In short, you are finding/building your champion.

Train 2.

Train as many people as you can, but at minimum go for 2 people. Your main CBA (Creative Brief Ambassador) and her direct report are a good start. Maybe they’ll be able to influence the top boss on your behalf. Either way, include them both as much as you can. It’s the “You tell 2 friends” rule and let it can go viral, in a good way.

Or go for the administrative assistant as the second person. The Admin is someone whose power cannot be undervalued. He is often the Main Influencer; the one who can compel the big cheese to take your call. Win him over and you’re likely to win over the decision maker.

Acknowledge 3.

Post mortems are often reserved for when things go wrong. Do it for when the CB is used correctly and acknowledge the CBA, the Creative and yourself for your super efforts and contribution. OK, invite more than just you three and bring cupcakes! Positive reinforcement will reinforce the good behaviors of all parties that lead to success.

There are a lot of painful stories about Creative Briefs. But when time and effort is invested into creating a strong Creative Brief, the end result—the creative output—will be far more effective because of that effort. In addition, the team will be more efficient in producing that creative output because of the on-target Creative Brief they received at the beginning of their process. If your team is challenging with getting Creative Briefs for clients or getting well thought-out Creative Briefs, remember you just need to find one person to be your champion and you can grow from there.

 For information about how Cella can add value to your business through consulting, coaching, and training, please email This article was written by Cella Consultant Rena DeLevie.

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Category: InSights

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Comments (3)

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  1. Do you have any examples of Creative Briefs to share?

    Identify Project Charter & Scope
    Background (purpose)
    Goals & Objectives
    Roles & Responsibilities
    • Mgmt Roles
    • Project Team Roles
    Project Approvals
    • Collateral or web details
    Client Acceptance

    Please provide a Creative Brief document if available. (improving my outline)

    Barbara Moser

    • Hi Barbara –
      Sorry for the delay, hope you find this helpful.

      Creative Brief Template

      Project name:
      Requestor: (name, phone, email)
      Account manager: (name, phone, email)

      Business Objective
      What is the business goal(s) this initiative supports? What is the definable business metric we are trying to achieve?

      Communication Objective
      What is the purpose of this initiative?

      What is the pertinent history and context for this project? Why now? How does the project align with other similar topical communications or initiatives?

      Target Audience
      Who is the intended audience? What insights do you have about them? What are their demographic and psychographic characteristics? How will this project address their key needs?

      Key Message
What is the main message that the project must communicate?

      Key Support Points
      What important detailed information supports the key message(s) in order of priority?

      Tone and Manner
      Name up to three key attributes or adjectives that the project should connote.

      Desired Response/Takeaway
      What is the audience call-to-action after receiving this communication?

      Competitive Insights
      How does [Company] approach this area differently than the competition?

      Legal/Compliance Considerations
      Are there any mandatory or legal considerations?

      Key Dates
      What are the important dates or milestones that must be met?

      What is the estimated budget?

      Execution/Production Considerations
      What is the distribution method, ‘physical’ requirements or production issues related to this project?

  2. Your info is very helpful.
    Thank you, Jackie.

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