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How to brief a creative agency

Brief a creative agency

Writing a good creative brief for an agency such as me&you will work wonders for your marketing project’s success.

Whether you’re looking for a rebrand, a new website, brochure, product launch or other marketing collateral, the same elements should be included in the brief.

This blog guides Marketing Managers and business owners on how to brief a creative agency, for both B2B and B2C marketing. A good creative agency will listen carefully to what you need.

1. Write the creative brief as a formal written document
2. Give us some background to your business
3. Tell us about your core customers
4. Tell us about your competitors
5. How would you describe your brand?
6. Define what you need from this project
7. Let us know your budget
8. Define how you will measure success
9. Share your goodies
10. Make a final check

At me&you we offer two options to clients – either you write the brief and we’ll feedback on it, or we can hold a Discovery Meeting that enables us to draft the brief if you prefer. Either way, it’s a partnership with lots of help available!

1) Write the creative brief as a formal written document

Putting all your thoughts down on paper in one place will help clarify your mind. It will help the project to run efficiently, and reduce agency hours and therefore the cost to you if everything is clear and signed off at your end. It’s best not to send lots of separate emails with your thoughts – combine them into a document with clear sections.

Talk to your team and any stakeholders, and summarise their thoughts in the brief too.

Your written document can be shared among our creative agency team, and it can be used by both of us to refer back to.

2) Give us some background to your business

What services or products do you offer? How would you introduce your company to a new potential client? Just a link to your ‘About us’ page on your existing website won’t be ideal! When you brief a creative agency, please give further insight into what you do. We want to get under the skin of your business. Then we can deliver the most effective creative work.

3) Tell us about your core customers

Your core customers are those who have been most profitable for your business in the past. Is there a type? What is their age range and gender? What is their job role, where are they located, what kind of income, interests and buying habits do they have? Talk to your sales team to find out what kinds of people like your products best. How often do they buy your product or use your service?

Try to use real data and recent research to inform your answers. Results from a customer survey would be great.

4) Tell us about your competitors

Provide a list of who you see as your competition, together with their strengths and weaknesses. Is there something you offer that they don’t, and why should someone buy from you over the competition? What piece of marketing by a competitor will your customers be judging your marketing against?

5) How would you describe your brand?

Carefully pick some adjectives that best describe the character of your company or brand. Are you bold or conservative, are you fun or corporate, are you earthy or slick? Tell us if your chosen words are how you are currently perceived, or how you would like to be perceived in the future!

At me&you, in the Discovery Meeting we offer to help us get to know your business, we provide dozens of ‘brand cards’ with a descriptive word on each, and ask you to pick the brand characteristics that you are, and those that you’re not. It’s an engaging activity that gives both our creative team and our clients a great initial insight.

6) Define what you need from this project

Tell us what you need, and its objective. Here are some examples:

‘We need a new eCommerce website to allow customers to buy directly from us online.’
‘We need to rebrand so that the public better understands what our business does.’
‘We need sales literature to give out at the trade event on x date, to generate new business leads from x.’

Who is your target audience for this piece?

Are you facing any challenges with your marketing at the moment? Share your woes with your agency! For example:

‘We need a redesign of our corporate identity because our existing corporate identity makes us look outdated.’
‘We need to rebrand because we don’t stand out from our competitors enough’.
‘We need an updated website because we’re ranking poorly on Google’.
‘Our marketing doesn’t reflect our new services and how we’ve grown as a business’.

Be honest - the brief is a private document. Don’t gloss over the business weaknesses. Creative and strategic steps can be taken by us to tackle these challenges.

Explain to us your business strategy, as this will give the creative team the bigger picture. Your agency can make recommendations that support the overall business mission.

Let us know the key deliverables and any deadline dates. Define the communications channels to be used, or ask us to make recommendations. Let us know if this piece should communicate a message you have already defined, and if it is part of a wider campaign. If you have any specific technical specification for digital work, include it in the creative brief, for example if a CMS such as WordPress should be used. Have you registered a new URL or would you like ideas on what that should be? Let us know if you’d like us to take new photography, or if you already have good imagery you can supply. Brief your agency on copywriting – would you like a writer to write fresh copy, tweak existing or use your own copy? Should the piece follow existing brand guidelines, or is part of the project to create these? Will you manage any printing or would you like your agency to recommend a printer?

7) Let us know your budget

When you brief a creative agency, include a budget. By giving us a rough estimate of your budget, we can form a clearer idea of the scope of the project and what we can deliver.

If you’re unsure how to budget for a project, do get in touch with Matt here at me&you. We are always happy to provide examples of typical costs.

8) Define how you will measure success

When you brief a creative agency, set some KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). Are you looking to sell more of your product? Generate more enquiries via an online form? If you can describe how you’ll measure the success of this project, we can help ensure our work meets your plans.

You could measure success by carrying out customer research before and after a rebrand.

You could measure the success of a website overhaul by recording customer behaviour online on Google Analytics or Hotjar before and after the new site launch.

9) Share your goodies

Think about what else your agency needs to see before they start, such as:

  •    Current marketing materials
  •    Brand Guidelines
  •    Logo
  •    Imagery
  •    Existing web data
  •    Other marketing approaches that you love, and are relevant

10) Make a final check

Read through your creative brief to make sure it can be easily understood by someone outside of your industry. Don’t forget that the end user of your brief will likely be a designer or developer unfamiliar with your business, so please avoid jargon, give definitions for acronyms and be as clear and focused as possible.

Once the brief has been written and encapsulates all your team’s guidance and input, please get it signed off by the Big Cheese at your business, if that isn’t you!

The me&you team are happy to help with any aspect of briefing a creative agency. Just ask!

Here’s a useful download – a template for your initial brief.

Do download it, fill it in, save and send it to hello@meandyou.co.uk

me&you creative agency can provide a quote for creative work before you make any commitment. We look forward to receiving your creative brief, booking in a Discovery Meeting or answering any queries via hello@meandyou.co.uk or call the me&you team on 01732 749 748.