wikiHow to Write a Creative Marketing Brief

Three Parts:Preparing to Write Your BriefWriting Your Creative Marketing BriefFinishing Your Brief

A marketing brief lays out the framework of a marketing initiative, so that a creative team, including the art director and copywriter, can carry out the plan. It must communicate the purpose, parameters, message, and goals of the initiative. Creative marketing briefs are often flawed because they are too complicated, too generic, or too hard to accomplish. You should structure your creative brief into sections that address the most important questions a creative team will have. Once you are finished, you should have a lean document that expresses realistic goals for the marketing team. Find out below how to write a creative marketing brief.

Part 1
Preparing to Write Your Brief

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    Gather your team. While you can write a creative marketing brief alone, gathering a team of advisors and experts within your company can ensure that you don't miss any important information. By writing the brief together, you'll be able to work simultaneously on different sections and complete the brief in a smaller amount of time. In addition, you can check over each other's work to guarantee its quality. If you don't know who to include on this team, consider communications, research staff, and any experts on the subject matter of the brief.[1]
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    Focus the goals of your marketing plan. You may already have a good idea of what you want to achieve with your marketing plan. Whether that is reaching a new audience or improving holiday sales, you're going to have to say it in a way that it will be clear to your creative team. That is, you need to analyze your company's situation and spell out exactly what it is that you want your advertisements to do for you. Having this sort of goal will help you write your brief and help your creative team focus their advertisement design.
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    Analyze your audience. In addition to purpose, the most important part of any advertising campaign is the demographic you are trying to reach. This, again, will depend on the overall goals of your marketing plan and current campaign. You'll want to think about demographics like the age, gender, socio-economic status, and religion of your intended audience. In addition, you'll have to consider their geographic location and where exactly you want your advertisements shown or displayed. Finally, it's helpful if you think of your advertisement as appealing to a want or need you think your audience has. This can help your creative team focus its efforts.[2]
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    Review your writing goals. Your brief should follow specific guidelines as far as writing and organization. Overall, your goal should be to make the brief as clear and informative as possible, avoiding jargon and acronyms wherever possible. It should also be very detailed to limit unnecessary communication during the creative process.[3] As for formatting, you should focus on providing each section of your brief under a clearly-defined heading that delineates each section.
    • Make sure that your team is well aware of these guidelines before you begin writing to avoid unnecessary revision later on.

Part 2
Writing Your Creative Marketing Brief

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    Give a background for your brief. In other words, you need restate why you have decided to embark on a new marketing campaign. This is the big picture of the market, your company, and your marketing plan. This helps introduced your creative team to the project and gives them context in which to consider their options. Include information like market opportunities or shifts among customer interests that you are trying to target.[4]
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    Outline your objectives as they relate to this specific initiative. You should have already decided on a strategy for achieving these objectives, so outline your strategy in detail. Focus on which objectives are your top priorities, so the creative department will know what is most important. Essentially, this will outline the intended effect your advertising will have on consumers.[5]
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    Establish your primary audience. Specify any information you've decided on in your audience analysis. Write out as much information as possible about your target demographic. This includes personal information (gender, age, etc.) as well as lifestyle information like their buying habits and hobbies. Again, the better picture your creative team has of your target consumer, the better they'll be able to target it.[6]
    • The composition of the audience relies entirely on the message and the product. Once you have established the audience, try to think like a person in that group.
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    Write the message you want your audience to receive. This can be expressed in a single sentence, sometimes called a single-minded proposition, because it establishes a single idea from a specific angle. Keep in mind that this isn't simply a description of your product or service you are selling, but a description of what exactly you are promising the consumer in your advertisement.[7]
    • This can also be a good place to include a description of an important visual or persuasive statement that you want included in your ads.[8]
    • Include the motivation you want to create with this message. What benefits, mental and physical, will your audience receive by looking at your ad?
    • The message or single-minded proposition is the concept on which you should spend the most time. It should be very clear. Try to avoid the use of "and," "but" and semi-colons, because trying to communicate too much in a long sentence will confuse the message.
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    Decide how you will substantiate the message. This means giving your audience the proof necessary to support the message. For your creative team to integrate this support, they'll need as much specific information as possible. You should include every conceivable detail about the product or service being advertised that backs up the claim you are trying to make.[9]
    • This can include both factual and emotional appeals to the consumer and should be listed in order of most to least important (and labeled as such).[10]
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    Decide what medium will be used to communicate the message. Include attachments of existing marketing materials that should be used in the initiative. Establish which medium is best for reaching your target audience and why. In addition, you'll want to spell out your target size or duration for your advertisement, depending on the medium.[11]
    • If you can afford to be flexible and want the marketing team's input on this aspect of your strategy, list several mediums and ask for team feedback.
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    Include any additional helpful information. Anything you provide your marketing team with can be helpful in creating your advertisements. These can be any additional facts that support your goals, any points to avoid or downplay, or any mandatory inclusions (slogans, logos, sponsors, etc.). If something is crucial to your advertisement, make sure that your brief says that it is.[12]

Part 3
Finishing Your Brief

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    Give the schedule and deadline for the project. If there will be multiple phases, include multiple deadlines for review and finalization. It's best to specify hard dates for each phase of the plan, but be sure that they are reasonable. Organize your schedule with specific meetings for review and revision meetings.[13] A good example schedule would include the following steps:
    • (Date) Initial review of five concept boards. Selection of two for refinement.
    • (Date) Full team review of refine concepts. Selection of final concept.
    • (Date) Presentation of drafts for each medium. Meet for critiques.
    • (Date) Presentation of Final drafts. Changes/additions as needed.
    • (Date) Final project deadline.[14]
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    Outline the budget for the project. Ballpark how much money can be spent to give the creative team an idea of how much they should be spending on each part of the project.[15] Keep in mind that every part of the process will likely have a related cost (including any travel for meetings).[16] Be sure to project all expected costs and leave an allowance for unexpected ones.
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    Provide space for the names and signatures of department heads who are signing off on the marketing brief. This should include the head of planning for marketing and the head of the creative team. This is to have a record that everyone involved in the project is on the same page before beginning to work.
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    Review your brief to ensure there aren't any contradictions or errors. Have someone unconnected with the effort read it to make sure it is logical and easy to follow. Don't let it sound generic. A generic brief will often result in a generic -- and not especially effective -- campaign.

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