We are busy marketing professionals. We need to save time whenever possible. One of the most common shortcuts that marketers take is skipping the creative brief at the beginning of some projects. Unfortunately, we think we are saving time, but we are likely paying for it later with more time spent during production. Or worse, we are hurting quality or results. Here are five common scenarios where a creative brief is needed, but is often not used. And how to fix it fast.
1. “It’s just a quick project”
Big projects usually get thorough process. Small projects usually get short-changed by eliminating the upfront planning. Resist the temptation to go straight to design or execution just because it’s not a big campaign. There is still a target audience and key messages that need full attention. Take the hour to write a thoughtful creative brief.
Outsourcing creative work is a great way to launch your campaign or project faster. However, that work is more than just production. Fight the urge to tell your creative team what to do in the design brief. Your creative resources are there because they are skilled and want to produce great work. Let them do it. Set the creative teams free to develop exceptional campaigns.
3. “The agency already knows”
Over time you will probably work with the same agency or freelancer on more than one project. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the agency already knows everything. Refresh their thinking by reviewing the creative brief with every project. The creative team will stay engaged and will avoid designing ho-hum “work”. If you feel the creative brief is not worth the effort to update, you should not be surprised by equally mediocre results from the project.
4. “Articles and blog posts are short”
Writing projects like newsletter articles or blogs should be very quick, right? Okay. Maybe a full-blown creative brief is overkill for each article or post. But you are still need to write something that interests your readers. At a minimum, think about a headline that brings readers in, write out critical messages and proof points that are meaningful, and always define a clear call to action. Reference the complete creative brief frequently to make sure that you are in sync with it.
5. “Just reuse the old creative brief”
Avoid diminishing or mediocre results when designing new campaigns for the same product or service. Don’t simply reuse the same design brief again and again. Approach the same problem from a different angle. Invest 30 minutes by refreshing the content of your creative brief with each project – especially the call to action.
If you do reuse any sections, it would be where you cover your boilerplate brand guidelines and legal requirements.
The REAL timesaver
These situations are exactly why I keep a creative brief template handy. I can focus on adding high impact content into the briefing document and not spend any time on formatting and re-engineering the questions to answer. That’s the real timesaver, without sacrificing quality or end results of the project.
Feel free to download the creative brief template that I use. Now you can use it to save time on your next project.
Image by English106