What makes a great creative brief?

A great creative brief inspires great ideas, and it usually begins in the form of a single-page document, hence the “brief” in its name.

For us account folks, crafting a creative brief is one of the most important skills you will learn when you start at an ad agency. It’s the creative team’s blueprint, if you will, as they work toward developing the big idea. But as attention spans and timelines become increasingly shorter, creating a brief  brief that also inspires is more important than ever.

Here are some tips to consider when developing your next creative brief.


Remember your audience.

The creative brief is designed to inspire the creative team to think like their audience. But this can be tricky, as it’s tempting to put your own biases, or preferences the client may have, into your brief – try to avoid that whenever possible. The brief needs to be about serving the audience’s needs, not our own.


Keep it focused.

As nice as it would be to include every important detail, too much information can be overwhelming and hinder the creative process. Keep it simple and interesting so that the creative team can remain focused.


Involve others.

Don’t create your brief in a vacuum. Engage your media team to pull demographic information. Ask your analytics team to conduct some social listening. Share the brief with your colleagues to get their thoughts. You never know what insights and ideas other perspectives can bring to the table.


Focus on the “problem.”

Writing a carefully crafted “problem” from the audience’s point of view is an essential step in getting your creative team thinking creatively about the solution. Make sure your brief inspires your team, and remember, the creative brief is not the answer, it’s just a starting point.


Add entertainment!

Lastly, make the briefing meeting fun! Everyone is busy (and probably stressed), so it’s important to exude positivity and make the assignment one that the team wants to work on. Start with a funny movie clip, conduct a mini icebreaker, bring/deliver snacks (creative people love snacks, am I right?), and be open to ideas and suggestions from the team. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together, and the creative brief is just one step in the process to produce powerful work.