Marketing Articles

Ad Agency Relationship Articles (click here for more)


The Client's Role in the Creative Briefing Process

By: Anish V. Koshy

Anish V. Koshy presently handles content management for the website, Intranet and internal newsletter development as well as advertising with i-flex solutions limited, Bangalore, India as Assistant Manager - Corporate Communications.

The reasons why client companies employ and pay ad agencies is because they enable solving of brand problems and exploit brand opportunities.

Advertising being a functional instrument - designed to achieve specific objectives. It becomes essential to provide for a good brief to hope for a good ad.

Why is the brief so important ? One, Due to the fact that much money is going to be spent on the campaign that emerges from it. So the agency has both the opportunity to create something that works and the responsibility to ensure that it does.

But, it's important for the client to know the advertising development process - a kind of relay race. The departments which are involved and how they go about it. This becomes essential so as to be able to gauge the time taken for creative work to develop. Two, for the client to know where exactly he can play a pivotal role in the strategy development.

Strategic development involves understanding the client's business, their consumers, their marketplace, and their brand. It forms an important part of the creation briefing as it represents the stage in the advertising development process where the strategic understanding developed by the account team reaches the people whose job it is to crack the creative problem.

But, this strategic understanding has to be translated into a form which is a useful tool and inspiration for the creative team.

All advertising does not work. Even thought we would make this assumption that all advertising works. The truth is that some works and some don't. Creative briefing is one of the surest ways to ensure that the possibilities of it working are high. You can view creative briefing as a lever that can be tugged at a particular direction giving it a different result each time. You can also view it as the rudder to a ship or oil to an engine.

Then comes the tone of voice. Which needs to be defined. Should be heroic, aristocratic, formal, casual or charged? This is important, as it would affect the final output of the communication.

Briefs should be simple and to the point. You should be able to explain it to a layman.

There is a brief and a briefing: Briefs forms the written communication which goes to the creative team; briefing is the dialogue, discussion and direction which occur around the brief. The client plays a part in both, adding definition.

Brief should be having two key properties - directional and inspirational. Directional is where the client can play a prominent role. Not to discount the role in inspiring the Agency.
Directional - means it should define the task - what the advertising needs to achieve, the problem it is trying to solve.
Inspirational - means giving the creative team a springboard, a jumping off point. Here 'feel', 'tone of voice', 'look', and 'effect' should be taken into account.

Sections of the brief fall roughly into the following areas:
  • - Why are we advertising? Role of advertising. What is the advertising doing ? What do we want people to think?
    • Who are we talking to? Target group. Type and outlook of person, not just demographics. Their behavior with respect to our objectives.
    • What are we saying? Prospective/main thought + support.
    • How are we saying it? Tone of voice - adult to adult, parent to a parent.

  • Brand identity.

  • Executive guidelines - Things to avoid. Things to do

  • Request - media consideration/requirement

  • Timings
The first three are directional, the next two are inspirational and the last two are operational.

To sum up, the client can play an important role in enhancing the creative briefing process by being involved at the initial stages where the strategy and approach are discussed.

© Copyright 2001 Anish V. Koshy

Other Articles by Anish V. Koshy

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


Match: Any word     All words
Note: Searches will not find words, such as 'marketing', that appear in more than half of the articles or words less than five letters long.


Would you like us to consider your own articles for publication? Please review our submission and editorial guidelines by clicking here.