That one thing that will make your content better and save you money
October 17, 2022
Drumroll… that one thing is a good brief.
Briefs really are the trump card of marketing. There are different strategies and tricks you can use to elevate your content, but in the end, the most helpful step is the first one your take: writing down your what, where, how, and why.
Yes, even if you are the true all-in-one marketer having a strategy… even a plan… nay, even a list of things will help you get places.
A good brief unleashes your creative thinking. It motivates your team with a clear vision, helping them focus on developing the right ideas. And it saves you time and money, particularly if you work with outsourced talent or agency.
The funny thing is that most marketers think they brief well. It's like dancing or singing: everyone thinks they can do it. If that's so, think about the following statistic:
Poorly written briefs eat up nearly 33% of marketing budgets.
Yup. That's real data. A couple of smart dudes conducted a worldwide study of marketers and agencies, and this is what they found.
A staggering 80% of marketers believe they write good briefs, but only 10% of agencies agree.
"Unchallenged, poor briefs trigger a raft of negative consequences. They lead to confusion, shallow creative thinking, and often mediocre ideas. Which in turn lead to unhappy clients, rounds and rounds of creative work, rebriefs, de-motivation, and ultimately less effective work in-market. "
So, head on down to https://www.betterbriefs.com to download the full report, dig through the data, and gain insights on writing better briefs.
In the meantime, here's a summary of why briefs are bad:
1. Too much focus on the tactics and execution instead of the overall strategy.
"Every time someone talks prematurely about YouTube or a direct distribution model, whack them over the head with something heavy. "
2. Wanting to do everything, all the time, everywhere, to everyone.
"Always subtract, never add. There will be other years and other opportunities. For now, focus is your God. "
3. Overly complex strategies.
"We've all seen super-complex strategies that can't fit into less than fifty pages or two-hour presentations. "
4. Vague targeting.
"Demographic cliches like "millennials" are as sure a sign as any that you have not got a strategy. "
5. Unclear positioning.
"If you cannot remember the various claims of your brand without the assistance of Powerpoint, you are doomed. So is your brand. "
6. Too many objectives that are unrealistic, with no benchmarks and timeframes.
"Research suggests that as you add more objectives the likelihood of any of them working diminishes dramatically. "
7.Writing the brief without having a solid strategy in place.
"...what most brands brief agencies with these days: a half-baked strategy that continues to change. That's like changing the ingredients while the dish is cooking in the oven."
Ok, so once we have that taken care of, let's summarize the tips for writing better briefs… or what a good brief must have.
1. Clearly define why you are briefing in the first place (one problem per brief, please)
Let us know why you need our services and what your expectations are. What problems do you want us to solve with our creative ideas? If you have multiple problems, then they require multiple briefs.
2. Have a solid marketing strategy and use it as a backbone.
Everything is important. All of the parameters you present are linked together. For example, your objectives shape the budget, which in turn shapes the target audience size, which in turn has an impact on the objectives. It all must make sense. Do what Mathew McConaughey's father said to him when he announced he wanted to be an actor "Don't half-ass it."
3. Have smart and linked objectives.
Smart objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Take your time. This is the most critical element of the brief. Make sure you highlight Commercial objectives, Behavioral objectives, and Attitudinal objectives. Easy.
4. Choose the right target audience.
Everyone everywhere does not need your product. Sorry, but that is the truth. So, define who you are speaking to, and most importantly, don't just use demographics. That may be good for television advertising. Instead, imagine how your target audience thinks, how they consume content, and how they behave.
5. One key message.
"Its sole focus is pinpointing where the creative solution should be. Good single-minded messages are supported only by relevant proof points. They are not shopping lists. "
6. Define evaluation criteria.
Describe how you will judge our proposals. Based on what? Transparency is nice to have.
"Good evaluation criteria help foster an idea's potential rather than act as a judgment tool. "
7. Do provide how much you want to spend.
This seems like a no-brainer, but many clients refrain from revealing their budget. They think this will help them receive the best idea for the best price. The reality is that this is a colossal waste of everyone's time, which ends with ideas being butchered at the last moment to fit the budget.
When you explain how much you are willing to spend, you will get the best possible creative that fits your budget. Easy.