Brief – what is it? Why it’s so important, and what should it include?

April 5 2022

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What is a brief? In a nutshell, it’s the best answer to your needs that I can possibly get. The best because it comes from you – a person knowing the needs and goals. Thanks to a brief I can write a script for a movie, design a marketing strategy or training. What happens when you don’t know how to fill a brief?

You will know after reading this article. Let’s start from the beginning, though.

What is a brief?

A brief is a series of questions. Their goal is to learn about your business motivation, needs and methods for me to complete a service for you. Let’s assume that you need a script for a promotional video to sell a product. I can ask you these questions:

  • What kind of product is it?
  • Do you want to introduce a new product to the market or continue previous marketing efforts?
  • If it’s a continuation, should I embed my efforts into an already existing strategy or should I create a new one and then write a script?
  • What technique should be used to make the film?
  • Do you anticipate hiring voice actors or a voiceover?

Etc… In theory, the list of questions could be endless. In practice, you need a dozen or even a few dozens, depending on the nature and complexity of the project.

Why is brief important?

Aside from the direct questions mentioned above, a brief should also ask questions more high-level in nature. After combining both approaches, I can clearly see your situation and help you by picking the right tools for the job.

This is what a genius brief can do. Here – the expectations for Coca-Cola bottle design.

What should a brief have?

  • Description of a target group – to whom we address the message?
  • The goal for the project – what do you exactly want from the project? Create a brand, increase brand awareness, increase sales, hire new employees?
  • Positioning the brand – what is your company’s history and values?
  • Putting the brand in the market and competition’s context – who owns similar products?
  • The tone of voice – what language do you use to talk about the brand?

Naturally, these are only the basics.

The information here is that the brief can’t be general in nature. The more precise the information, the fewer additional questions on the way, the less time I will need to perform the service, the more efficient my work. Sometimes the knowledge about the project is dispersed in the company. Sometimes an employee responsible for turning in the brief doesn’t have the full knowledge. Sometimes the company doesn’t know what the goal really is. In these cases, it’s good to make a call online (through Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) and shine the light on your needs.

Why brief is helpful? 

It answers my questions and shortens the time of making the project. It also makes it more precise and helps when marketing efforts are a logical continuation of the previous activities. For example, when you want to prolong the contact with the brand. Let’s say you have a movie script and now you want a blog article. Based on a previously created brief, I can pretty much establish what should it have to be successful and to whom it should be directed. It’s quicker and more convenient for everybody.  

What does a good brief offer? My approach

I could argue that the answer to that is in the previous paragraphs. This, however, would not be true. I’m not like 99% of marketing specialists out there. I don’t do Ford’s assembly line. For me, every client and product is different, that’s why every single brief is different. It has to be and it is individual.

I create a brand new brief for every client and every product. Always, every single time. Why? Because I treat my clients individually. This is one of my market differentiations – individual treatment. Every company has its own business goals and budget capabilities. Products can be similar but they are still different. The philosophy of their promotion differs. It all boils down to this: if something is good for everything, it’s good for nothing. I always want to know everything there is to know about the client and I don’t have a problem signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

How does a brief look like? How to write it?

For starters, it’s consistent and exhaustive. The more you write down, the better. Remember about your doubts, though. Be clear about writing “I don’t know”, or “we will discuss it internally and let you know”. These things happen. I had a situation when a customer modified the plans for a product campaign because he saw a question in the brief that forced him to think some things over. The most important part – be honest. This will lead to project success.

Remember that we can sign an NDA anytime you want – this document protects your product and marketing plans. Plus, there’s also something like ethics – I would never disclose what you want to do. If you wonder what is the brief then one of the answers can go as follows – it’s a document that helps promote your product and thanks to the unique marketing strategy, protect it from message repetition.

What if I can’t write a brief…

It’s nothing to worry about but the process gets more complicated. In this situation, I use techniques that can help you out. They require more time from both sides and get more expensive for you. It’s about my time, really. In the case of a project, I always give you a wholesale price. It doesn’t depend on my time but rather on the level of complexity. If you can’t fill the brief, that we talk but this takes away my time that I can spend on something else (analyzing the brief, for example). And that costs.

Order out of chaos

For many years, I got a regular job. Now, working through my own company, I do the same. I help organizations that need branding, rebranding, building marketing departments from scratch. This often means a lack of clarity and chaos. And even if the company knows what it wants, the chaos can slip into running the marketing campaign. What a good brief does is mitigate the risk of chaos in marketing and even business processes.

If you don’t know if you can write down a brief or don’t have clearly established goals, then it’s possible you need a different service. I’m talking about business consulting and the optimization of business processes. No matter the situation, you can contact me for the optimal result. Let’s make it work!

O Autorze

Jarosław Ścislak

Pracowałem nad brandingiem, rebrandingiem, skalowaniem biznesu i strategiami contentowymi dla wielu firm. Tworzyłem strategie marketingowe, contentowe, budowałem od zera działy marketingu, szkoliłem juniorów. Mogę skutecznie pomóc. Poprzez tworzenie kluczowych procesów i integrację ich w jeden ekosystem sprawię, że Twoja firma będzie pracowała dla Ciebie, a nie na odwrót. Część usług które widzisz w mojej ofercie (np. rozwój sklepów e-commerce w opozycji do platform e-commerce) wprowadziłem na rynek jako pierwszy w Polsce.