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Here goes something. Once, I ordered food at home really early in the morning, at around 4 AM. I did not want anyone else in the house to be disturbed, or the delivery guy bothering joggers and people who got up that early. I’m sure they would not like someone asking for directions first thing in the morning. What I did was that I kept a track of his location on the app and waited outside, by the gate just a minute before his arrival. Somehow, this made him so happy, he delivered my food with the biggest smile I have seen at 4:30 AM in the morning. He told me, “Customers like you, make it a tad bit easier than it is. Thank you for coming down without me having to call. I did not have to ask people for directions and now, I can get on to the next delivery without wasting time.” I’m sure he must have had a bad day with a customer who must have ordered and gone to sleep. All I did was the bare minimum of being there before his arrival.
This instance says a lot about how preparations make the process easier. A brief is a step of preparation taken by you to make sure your branding partner is not building a perspective of the brand, for you. It is your bit that contributes to your brand.
They say a film is made on the editing table. I believe more effort put into the pre-production, which includes better scripting, screenplay, shot division, even a precise call sheet for the talent can save time and money, from frustration and a series of unnecessary headaches.
This brings us to the characteristic of customization of the brief.
What most businesses practice is that they create one brief, and then recycle it for various agencies, for the outsourcing of various projects. This one-size-fits-all approach is not just ineffective, but also has negative repercussions. The most significant quality of a brand is that it is not generic, it is distinctive. If the brief itself is not customary to your needs and the studio’s provision, you might as well create a generic identity yourself and call it branding.
Your branding partners can help you with a strengthened version of the vision.
If you are looking for a template to write your brief, you might as well close this tab. This piece aims at letting you know how to create a good brief, by helping you know what a functional and usable brief does.
The initial phase of design consultancy starts with a brief. As soon as we receive the brief, after a detailed analysis, we answer the brief. Then we make some presentations, we talk, try and reflect the best of you in the brief, make amendments and developments. This is all a part of the first phase of the branding process. This becomes the guiding document, a reference point, or a map to direct us to your brand.
This document will help us identify the scale, scope and the core rationale of your project. It will help us make informed design decisions based on insight and effective communication.
When you have all the ingredients ready by the stove, cooking is a delightful activity, less dreary than it will be if you have to do it regularly.
Templates are the bane of any creative process. A recipe is not a template, it is a method which is flexible in nature. Although, the principles are always there. Let us look into the function of every attribute that helps in the formation of the brief.
Focus on delivering detail. Design is amorphous and highly subjective. The brief grounds.
From big decisions like what the strategy for launch would be- to small nuances like what type will be used in the website copy, the creative brief will act as a formula for the whole process.
As you design the brief, it will help articulate your thought better, into something tangible. It is a literal and the most productively fruitful way of putting your ideas on paper. It bridges ideas and a tangible way of communicating them.
Let’s reverse engineer this piece. What would be the brief that the writer must have received for them to have this article as the final product?
A blog piece about writing a creative brief that will best fit the branding studio’s need of getting everything from the client so that the brand is a true and creative reflection of the idea that the business owner had in their mind.
We found that business owners and entrepreneurs usually struggle with creating a brief that would summarize their idea and their need in two pages. The current issue is that other literature out there on websites fails to convey the importance of a good creative brief, and ends up giving a template for a brief.
We need a convincing piece that not only motivates the reader to put more effort into creating a brief, but also educates them about the importance of the brief by highlighting its function.
The competition includes all the branding studios that indulge in the practice of publishing articles to put their word out. Our competition produces informative and insightful pieces, not a landmine of keywords.
Entrepreneurs, businesspersons, decision-makers of organizations who are looking at hiring branding studios and agencies; and want to write a brief that will articulate thought into a tangible document.
Tone and Voice:
The tone must be clear, concise and friendly as well as professional. Our voice is strictly jargon-free. It avoids any political incorrectness and is inclusive in nature.
Now see, these are a few aspects considered necessary only for the brief of this article. There are many more, which one can apply, tailored for the project. This could include aspects like deliverables expected, portfolio, background, target market, positioning attributes, cultural theme, primary lines of business, ethos, vision, mission, logistics, and many more.
A creative brief, a design brief, or simply brief, it can be called various names but its function remains the same. It is a soft blueprint on which the brand will be built. Although, their nature remains dynamic and versatile. The studio/ agency that you are hiring for your project might have some guidelines and expectations that you might have to adhere to. But in the case that you don’t, these are the aspects that generally all good briefs are expected to cover:
This is where you introduce yourself, your company, your industry, your product, your service, your product lines, the brand architecture, etc. This segment reflects the core elements of your being. You can also go on and add details about your positioning, your USP, your brand vision, mission, and your key stakeholders. You are also expected to give out details of your competition from your industry with details of why they stand as your competitors.
This is where it helps us actually dig into who you are, what you are about. You define what you do, your scope, your scale, your deliverables. The highlight of this segment is why you do what you do, why did you think of doing what you are, the problems and challenges that you faced that brought you where you are, and the gap that you are trying to fill in this world by serving your customers. We will get to know the ethos of your being from knowing about you to build upon it, your brand.
Now, you have already answered why you are doing what you are. But here, you are not talking about the objective of your company, but the objective of this project, of you wanting to collaborate with a branding expert. A simpler way to put it, you break down the ‘why’ you answered earlier into smaller goals that you want to achieve. You will jot down the deliverables that you expect from the project, from the creatives that will be working on your project. You can suggest any particular techniques that you prefer, that your audience has acted upon in the past, everything. This is where we want to know the tangible and intangible outcomes that you want at the end of this collaborative process.
We might not have known you completely by now, but this much information is enough to give us a brief idea about who you are, and where you are coming from. Now, we want to know your audience.
This will help us build the culture of the brand that people want to be a part of. How will you do that? By outlining the pertinent demographics of your audience, their age, gender, education, marital status, race, religion, whatever gives us information to create a silhouette of the ideal audience that will be loyal to your brand for the longest time. Then, we want you to get inside their heads and give us psycho-graphic detailing of the target audience, their values, beliefs, interests, personality, lifestyle, along with their behavioral segmentation which includes their purchasing or spending habits, user status, media consumption habits, etc.
Try and give us a few user personas, of an imaginary audience that fits the bill. This segment will help us define what they think and what they should.
You were not born yesterday. All of us have had exposure to many brands, multiple brand communications, we read about a lot of successful brands and we do have an idea of how we want our brand to be, based on all that stimuli. We do not go to the salon without at least having a brief idea of what you want to look like after the haircut. Similarly, if you have a general idea of a style that you are inclined towards, mention that. Let us know about your likes and dislikes and what is important for you.
Let us know about specifics of the voice and tonality that you have imagined, your offerings apart from the product or service, some guidelines that you want to call attention to, some mandatories that you do not want us to ignore, how you want the messaging to be, and lastly, any references that would give us a clearer idea of this overall style.
The more we know you, the more of this you element we would be able to incorporate in your brand.
Lastly, this is where you might want to specify the tangible expectations that you have from us, the time frame of delivery, a quote, and all the logistical delineation.
Just like a doctor that looks at the patient’s history before diagnosing, the brief will help in building your identity and strategy. In this process, you do not want to miss any details that you think are necessary if you do not want to be misdiagnosed. Now some last unsaid rules about writing a good creative brief:
• No jargon and flashy words. They are a big turn-off. Unless you want your brand to be full of jargon, avoid them.
• Not all briefs are the same, they differ according to the project. You might not want to highlight the competitors if you are creating a brief for having an e-mailer template made. But for a campaign, you do not want to miss the details about the target audience.
• Be direct. Unknowingly, but like a mother talking about her baby, an entrepreneur could talk about their idea forever. The brief is where you might want to refrain from doing that. Sometimes, simplicity is harder to achieve.
• A brief is open-ended in nature. Do not restrain yourself by trying to check off boxes of what you think you are supposed to do. Consider it as a first therapy session.
• Through the process of brief-writing, distill your thinking. Leave room for interpretations, not for assumptions.
Help us help you.
You do not have to have your brief ready to contact us. Talk to us now for a consultation on your project. Begin your association with Slangbusters Branding Studio with just a call.
— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio