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When you set out to advertise your small business, start with a creative brief.

You may have seen something you like, and that's great, but you still need to communicate a few things so that planning can commence. Avoid the mistake of approaching the first agency you can afford and telling them to make you something similar to the item you like. It's better to take a moment and put together a plan and get feedback from two or three agencies to determine who is most likely to achieve your objective.

In a conventional advertising firm, the creatives are the writers, artists, and designers who craft the message. The message can be visual, written, or heard. The organizational chart will likely be something like this.

The creative brief is the document that gives this innovative team of creatives their direction. The creative brief sets the scope of work and focuses your resources (mainly your budget) where it needs to be.

Download Creative Brief .doc (text only version)

What does a Creative Brief look like?

  1. Comment on Established Branding and Style Guide(s)
  2. Project Summary & Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Target Audience
  5. Deliverable requirements
  6. Competitive Environment
  7. Style Guides (incl. references to address Tone, language, colours, branding)
  8. Timeline
  9. Budget

The creative brief is a collaboration between you and your ad agency account manager. The creative team should review the brief prior to formalizing it to ensure it is feasible.

The Purpose of The Creative Brief

It provides factual information to graphic designers without any fluff or marketing language. It's not a standardized document across the industry, but its intent and purpose are constant.

It also provides the benefit of allowing the creatives to focus on crafting the proper message with enough flexibility to do what they do best. It does NOT dictate how to communicate the message, only what the message to be remembered is and the audience who needs to remember it. However, it can contain controlling statements such as  tone of voice, usage of logo, style guide, etc.

This external post has some example briefs near the bottom that can help you get a better understanding of the brief.

How to Write the Most Compelling Creative Brief (with Examples)
The creative brief is the foundation of every creative project. Learn how to write creative briefs that work in our detailed guide. Includes lots of creative brief examples, and a step-by-step process for writing a brief from scratch.