Write a creative brief

What is a Creative Brief?

A Creative Brief is a two page explanation written by you and given to your agency.  It summarizes what you are asking them to do.  If you are planning any advertising in the next year, write a Creative Brief for the whole year.

Page 1 is summarized in the template below.  Page 2 is the Brand Checklist.

Why write a Creative Brief?

  • to avoid misunderstanding.
  • make it easier for the agency to do their job…. they juggle a lot of clients and it gets confusing sometimes.  The account reps you meet have to repeat everything later to their colleagues.

Template for first page

This is a summary of the key points.   Compose this section last.

The hardest part of a brief is deciding on your primary objectives and secondary objectives.  For example, brand awareness, thank you to donors, acquire new donors, acquire new in-kind donors, retain existing donors, etc.

This is the second hardest part of the brief.  You need to decide where you are on the debate over “Reach vs Frequency vs Size”.  There is no correct answer.  Every situation is different.

  • Size – the size of your ad, eg. full page, 1/2 page, etc
  • Frequency – the number of insertions you can afford (try to go for a minimum of three insertions for your ad to have any impact)
  • Reach – how broad an audience will your ad reach (eg local vs national, daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines, etc.)

Given that your advertising budget is probably fixed, if you increase one variable, you have to decrease another.  For example, if you want as many insertions as possible, you could create a smaller ad and select only a local newspaper.

Other considerations:

  • timing of your ad insertions vs press releases
  • black/white vs colour
  • multiple ads could have same message but different photos
  • Develop a variety of ads with a consistent look, theme and image that can adapt to all the opportunities identified.
  • Develop additional ads as back up for unexpected opportunities