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21.07.20

How to write a brief. (And more important, why.)

A good brief isn't just the foundation for good creative work, it's the thing that makes every aspect of a job run smoothly.

All too often, a brief is an afterthought. A few notes scribbled, Slacked or otherwise pinged across after a quick ‘Hey, can you do X thing for client Y?’ chat. But the effort that goes into writing a good brief is a perfect example of ‘hurrying slowly’. Take the time to do it properly in the beginning, and it will save everyone plenty of time in the future.

A good brief clarifies the job to be done, defines everyone’s roles, and tells clients you care about and understand exactly what they need to be done. A good brief will even make sure time gets billed accurately.



A good brief that’s as full of detail as it is of insight is the most important building block of any project, be it creating content, building platforms or even to optimise performance through targeted media. As a digital marketing agency, we do all three ‒ but the basic building blocks of our briefs are always the same:

Job Details

Beyond the job name, list the key people involved in the project here, from client and agency. To ensure efficiency and swift communications, we set up a Slack channel where possible too. We find this ensures everyone is reachable and accountable from the start, and it empowers people too. This will more often than not be your Financial Director’s favourite section, because the Job Number goes here (or else!).

Overview

The client and the job in summary. It should include what the client/brand does, what their brand vision is, and how they hope to further realise it through completion of this project.

Deliverables

These are the things you need to make. It could be a film, a website, a global content strategy or even a social strategy for making people care about the worrying proliferation of Tarantula Hawks in Texas (yes, Tarantula Hawks are an actual thing). List each of them clearly with as much detail as possible.

Objective

What exactly are you hoping to achieve with this project? Sell something? Increase sign-ups? Raise awareness? Whatever it is, say it here. The more clear and more measurable your objectives, the easier it will be to measure and learn from the results of the work you do and improve performance going forward.

Audience

Who are you talking to? These days, it’s not just ‘A-B income, Female, 45 yrs plus’. We have the ability to be far more specific around who we are talking to, where in our awareness/consideration/conversion matrix they are, and what is likely to move them onto the next step in the customer journey. If the information is there, use it. If it isn’t, find it. We do.

Does your digital agency insist on working with a clear brief?

If not, why not? Without clarity on what is required from the client, you will always be wrong-footed. Communicate with brevity, share the essential information to move forward and work with specialists who understand your objectives.

Get in touch. We’d love to hear about your digital challenges.

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