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Creative Briefing -- The Account Management's Role in Creating Exciting Creative Output

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 quality of the suit is only as good as the quality of the material.

The involvement, the inputs, which go into a brief, does have a direct impact on the quality of a brief and creative work. How should the account management approach this?

A brief should contain all the information necessary to design meaningful directions and perhaps execute the produced plan.
A brief can generate a huge amount of information but it can only provide the required answers or solutions if it has the right question. In other words the finished product can only be as good as what goes into it.

A good brief will help to design the most relevant and meaningful piece to meet the client requirement. It enables the Agency to put themselves in the client's shoes and determine what is required with full insights of the situation. The brief should lead to innovation, better productivity and results. A good brief will save time. And of course, time is money. It is amazing the amount of time that can be spent trying to get clarifications of a brief or asking for basic information that really should have been supplied in the first place.

Write it down: A brief is always a two way process. It is the best way to discuss thoughts, directions, ideas, improvements and requirements in the written form. A discussion between a client and agency is always worthwhile, weather it is face to face or on the phone. Discussion enables the client to express his needs in a way, which is comfortable, and hence usually easy, to him and often provide the opportunity to go into background detail that is not always easy to put in writing. Discussion allows the agency to "pick up" on interesting or relevant points and to probe for the important facts. A written brief has several advantages other than providing a record in case of a later dispute.
  1. Helps the client to formulate and prepare his thoughts in a logical and thorough manner. In the same manner, it helps the agency to clarify his thoughts on the plan itself.

  2. A conversation can be informal, prone to side tracking and not always efficient. A written brief allows calm, reflective thinking.

  3. What should it contain? All information necessary for the agency and client to chalk out a comprehensive communications plan. It should have the background to the communication objectives, the objectives and how they have attempted at solving the marketing or advertising problem. And most importantly, deadlines and approvers of the communication. Ideally, there is always a single point of contact who handles the operations from both parties.

  4. A good brief will make all the difference to the quality, design, implementation, analysis and reporting.
To make a difference, make it different: Being noticed it half the work done. If your objective is to get employees talking about a Human resources referral scheme, use all relevant available media. Use the Intranet and internal communication to get your message through.

Don't just think print or TV. Crack the Big Idea: Step back and analyze the problem. Attempt solving it by exploring all the possible marketing avenues. The best solution is got when a great idea is cracked.

Find out what has been done earlier. Learn from it: You could come across some interesting nuggets on earlier projects/ads/work done.

What is everybody else doing in the market place: Ask what the customer would bite. Then go for it. If for a holiday resort, ambience is a motivator, then go gung-ho on it. If more leg room is a strong contender on a flight, then just take-off! Be relevant, yet provocative.

You are in the business of grabbing the high ground for your client: Familiar? But it's true. Value for money, is what every client expects. Be bold and brave. There are equally brave clients out there!

Forget the logical connection: Find and believe in the personality of the brand instead. Car X may be faster, Car Y may have a better look or Car Z may be more fuel-efficient. But, you would rather go for Car A that gives you a high when you step on the gas! And heads turn when you cross the kerb. If the factors are hygiene do not touch them unless no one else has shouted them loud enough. Look for distinctiveness, impact and purpose of the brand.

Personalize your target so that you like and respect them: The 'target' is not a 'young professional', age 25-30, who travel to work on a Mumbai suburban train." He is your friend. Your source of info. Treat him/her with respect. They also laugh and cry like you do. And have a sense of humor. They must be watching the same movies you saw last week. When you personalize your target, they become more human and more interesting.

Put down your creative thoughts: If you can write a creative brief, so can you do with ideas. Now, some agencies might be very compartmental and horrified by this new thought. But, if agencies are about teams, everyone is entitled to voice their ideas.

Make it inspiring: Derive your energy from the challenge of making your thinking fresh. Break rules. Be confident and aggressive. Believe in the power of the brief and that you can really change the marketplace.

To summarize, as an Agency, you are the owner of the brand as well. Its not just the brand manager's onus.

Make compelling briefs that lead to exciting creative work. Follow the leads:
  1. Find out the market scenario - decide on a differentiator.

  2. Don't look for logical propositions - look for and describe a brand personality.

  3. Describe the 'target market' - personalize the consumer.

  4. Put in your thoughts.
Make the brief compelling.

Change the world.

© 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.


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