The 4 steps to building a brand design brief that inspires

February 13, 2023
Consumer Financial Services Brand design Brand delivery

The role of the creative brief in building memorable brands and cut-through campaigns cannot be overstated.

A good creative brief is like a roadmap; it provides clear direction on where we need to get to, and a framework that has the power to spark genius in the minds of the people that do genius the best – creatives (sorry strategists!). Likewise a poor brief can send your team down the wrong path – resulting in blown out budgets and unhappiness all round.

Whilst the process of writing a strong brief is less a science and more of a nuanced art form, we have pulled together our top 4 tips for empowering whatever creative team you are working with to do work that both you and they can feel proud of. Because, whilst your brief will never see the light of day, the work it ultimately inspires certainly will.

For a useful template that outlines exactly what information needs to go into a brief, click here.

1. Get clear on what you need to achieve – the central objective

Our first tip may sound quite obvious, and in many ways it should be simple, however getting clear on what you actually want the outcome of your project to be is one of the hardest parts of a brief and often requires a lot of hard work prior to putting pen to paper.

When communicating your objective you need to make sure you answer the following questions.

· Who do we want to respond?

· How should they feel?

· What do we want them to do?

Watch this advert from Commonwealth Bank

To get to this concept their objective would’ve been:

We want grown men and women to feel like anything is possible when they take out a loan with Commonwealth Bank.

A strong objective gives your team a clear benchmark to measure their concepts against. So if their response delivers against this central objective they have done their job. Getting this central objective 100% right is therefore absolutely critical.

2. Know what not to say

In the pursuit of the perfect brief it can be tempting to include every piece of research you have, however the hard truth remains; when you try to say everything, you end up saying nothing. Before handing your brief across to your creative team it’s imperative that you distil only the information that is absolutely vital into straight-forward, concise statements.

Below is an example of a typical marketing statement

In 2002, BrandMatters was established in Sydney to address the gap in the marketplace for an agency that, thanks to the director’s extensive client side experience, focuses primarily on accountable B2B brand strategy with a strong focus on the financial services industry.

Here we’ve shown how it can be distilled to create something much more creative friendly.

BrandMatters is a B2B brand strategy agency with a specialisation in financial services.

By having only the necessary information in your brief, your vision becomes more tangible to those tasked with translating it.

3. One size does not fit all

Whilst a written outline of the project is absolutely critical for your team to refer back to, your job is to provide information about the project in a way that inspires and sparks creativity – for example, consider face to face discussions, brainstorms, site visits. These tools, when coupled with a strong written outline, can be the difference between work that is satisfactory and work that really nails your objective.

Some creatives find language really inspiring, others respond to visuals and video, taking the time to communicate your brief in a way that ensures your particular team will best absorb the information will pay off in the long run.

4. Mandatories are still mandatory

Of course inspiring big ideas are fantastic, but unfortunately the final idea still needs to survive in the real world which is why a list of mandatories is still absolutely, well, mandatory.

Some questions worth considering when compiling your list include:

· Does the design need to include a particular colour?

· Do you need to include a particular disclaimer?

· Is there a partner logo that must always be displayed?

· Is there body text that must be included?

It’s important to communicate these points up front so that time and resources aren’t wasted creating something that doesn’t factor these necessities in.

Working with brilliant creative minds is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in marketing, and the culmination of months or even years of work expressed through design that achieves the outcome you were hoping for makes the long hours and high stress levels worthwhile. By spending the time crafting a brief that encompasses the four tips outlined above, you can feel confident that you are taking the right steps towards helping your creative team do their best work and ensure that your project is completed on time, on budget and with your team’s sanity intact.

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