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A Brief Guide To Briefs.

We take a closer look at a recent IPA white paper which offers some key insights on the best way for a client to brief an agency. 

We’ve made thousands of films. That means we’ve seen thousands of briefs. But not all briefs are created equal – or even equally. From reams of densely detailed information with pages of appendices to a tagline scrawled on the back of a cigarette packet (back of a vape doesn’t have quite the same ring to it), briefs come in all shapes and sizes. And while both approaches have their merits, too much or too little information requires additional and often unnecessary work – and often subpar results. If one thing is for sure, it's this: good briefs lead to great films.

In a recent IPA white paper co-written by BetterBriefs | advisory & training and Marketing Week columnist and industry luminary, Mark Ritson, we're treated to a deep dive into the building blocks of a solid brief, breaking down the key focus points throughout the process. If you have the time to spare, you can get stuck into the full article here, but if you’re on the clock our summary of the top tips below is a perfect cup of coffee companion. Take on just a few of these pointers and you’ll be writing Pulitzer Prize-worthy briefs in no time.

5 BetterBriefs Building Blocks:

  1. Define the need
    Clearly articulate why this brief is necessary
  2. Build the backbone
    Set tangible objectives, define target audience, outline the budget
  3. Work backwards
    Set your commercial objectives – what is the ultimate effect you want for your organisation?
    Then set your behavioural objectives – what changes in behaviour are needed to reach these commercial objectives?
    Then set your attitudinal objectives – what shift in the way people think or feel needs to happen to create these changes in behaviour?
  4. Target the right people
    A well-defined target audience is a vivid picture of demographics, psychographics and needs or wants - it is not simply ‘millennials’.
  5. Align on the outcome
    What is it that you want to achieve with this project? It doesn’t always have to be about the views and the clicks. You can be as specific as you like – in fact, the more specific, the better. Maybe you want employees to better understand and engage with a new app or piece of software, or maybe you want potential customers to learn about your sustainability policy and feel positive about your brand, or maybe you want to attract a very specific type of person to a very specific role – it’s all doable with a clear brief.

Top Tips:

  • Use clear and concise language
  • A good brief requires reductive thinking
  • The first draft will never be the best brief – sleep on it if you can

According to the BetterBriefs Project global report 2021, 80% of marketers think that they’re good at writing briefs, whereas only 10% of agencies agree.

At Casual, we think this disparity in thinking between client and agency is way, way smaller. In fact, we think we’re on the exact same page as our clients. We've used our experience to build an intuitive form which helps brief-writers clearly see what information we really need in order to make an effective video. 

Our brief helps summarise key messaging and pull out the most important points, cleverly creating the problem, solution and benefits storyline for your project. It offers plenty of inspiration in the form of reference videos, helping to visualise the goal, and it helps break down the numbers, taking away any hidden costs and budget worries.

If you have absorbed a few of the thought-starters above and are feeling inspired, then take a look at our Smart Casual briefing form here to see just how stress free briefing can be. 

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