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Get everyone on the same page with a great brief.

Why should you write a brief and what should go into one?

Writing a well thought through brief for your business or marketing objective can save you time, effort and money.

If you don’t take the time to work through the briefing process or give a badly written or poorly thought through brief, you won’t necessarily get the results you were looking to achieve.

In summary, here are four features every brief MUST include.

1.Why are you doing this project?
2.Who is your target audience?
3.What is the objective? (what do you want to achieve?)
4.What is the project’s “single message” you want your customers to walk away with?

Pretty simple right? Er, maybe. But in our experience rarely do we see a well thought through brief which tells me either it’s actually quite hard or you don’t know what goes into a brief.

In the description I’ll link to a slightly more in depth version of this video which you will find on our STORY STRATEGIST YouTube channel.

Watch all the way through to the end and I’ll include some additional essentials to writing a great brief.

Keep your project objectives and overall solution simple.
Here’s the thing though. Getting to Simple can be complex. Ultimately, don’t make your end customer or audience do the hard work and build unnecessary complexity into the project. You’ve heard the phrase KISS. Not the band! K.I.S.S. That’s your job… Keep it simple silly! Thinking simple starts even at the brief-stage. Simple will take time, and even when you think you’ve arrived at simple, test your assumptions.

1. Why are you doing this project?

  • Reason
  • market challenges
  • technological imperatives
  • customer observations etc.

What’s the problem you’re trying to solve? Here we’re wanting to justify the project. Give a thorough reason for its existence.
As we were writing the brief for this video, for example, it was clear from personal experience and evidence, that when clients first approach us they have not always got a clear understanding of why they’re doing the project.
You might start with a hunch, and that’s ok, but we’re going to need more than a hunch before we get started on working out a solution.

2. Who is your target audience?
Demographic (age, income, etc)

  • Psychographic (attitudes, values, fears, etc)
  • Geographic
  • Generational
  • needs oriented

Thinking from the audience perspective, and knowing who your audience is, is essential. Get the brief right and you’ll help those delivering your project to think more from the audience or customer perspective ensuring the outcome is more successful.

3.What is the objective? (what do you want to achieve?)
SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based

Outcomes are what we want, right? That’s why we start a project, so we’ll get a result of some sort. So what are they? The SMART process is an effective method for helping to define the objectives. It’s a great process as it forces you to circle back and ask important questions like, is it realistic?
In a previous video, I talked about the strategic objectives of Social Media content. I asked whether the particular piece of content was generating a lead, nurturing a lead or converting a lead? As you think through the objectives, is your project realistic? Is it asking ONE strategic objective? Is that objective measurable? What are your expectations for success? Are they achievable and realistic?

4. What is the project’s “single message” you want your customers to walk away with?
Try and summarise in 1-2 sentences the crux of your project’s takeaway message

This is the test. Is the project outcome successful in getting the “single message” into the mind of your target audience? With a Digital Marketing campaign, don’t get distracted by the volume of views, but test to see if the content landed with the right audience and achieved its purpose.

So these are the four must-think-through items to include in every brief, but there are some additional essentials to writing a great brief. These are,

– Tone
– Branding elements
– Platforms
– Project timetable & budget
– Who are the key project stakeholders?

What’s the tone of the language? The best way I think of this is, you know when you read a letter from someone, a friend, family member or loved one and you can almost hear their voice as you read the words. They match. The language or tone of the letter aligns with how you know them. Well, tone is like that.
Of course, branding elements will be needed to ensure the piece looks like it comes from you.
What platforms are you delivering to?
Finally, how long have we got to get the job done and the results in? This and the budget allocated will affect everything else. Have you got time to put a small time to work and do all the research required, or are you going to need to raise the budget so you buy in the information you’re going to need to get the job done? Does your team have the resources to turn the project around within the time frame or will you need more hands on deck, e.g. contractors or do you need a marketing agency to help get the project completed quickly?

In conclusion, a brief is a must-have and a well thought-through, well written brief can be what makes a successful project.

To help, we’ve got a free downloadable brief template available here.

Christmas Holidays:

We’re taking a short break. Our office closes midday Friday 22 December and re-opens Monday 8 January. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!