How to approach a creative brief effectively

clock 12 months ago

Find out how to approach a creative brief for a client with Electric House head of creative, Beth Dunmore

Taking a brief from initial contact to execution can be very long-winded. Electric House Head of Creative, Bethany Dunmore, led an Electric Session about how to break it down.

Beth explained that we’re at our most creative when we’re having a good time. The ideas that stem from jovial meetings are much better because your head is in a space where you’re already enjoying yourself.

“If you want to be creative in any scenario, go do something fun, or change your environment.”

The whole point of a brief is to provide a prompt or starting point that enables you to think creatively. Read on for a checklist from Beth Dunmore explaining how to approach a creative brief effectively.

Simplify the brief

Sometimes, you may get a brief that’s seven pages long, and sometimes you might get a brief containing just two sentences. Neither of these is very useful. Whichever brief you receive, your first step should be to distil it into a small phrase that is helpful, sums up the brief, and that you can keep referring back to.

One method of distilling your brief is the ‘Get To By’ scenario. Think about who you want to ‘get’ to do something, what you want them ‘to’ do, and how you’re going to manage it.

Another ‘ten-minute’ method is to take your first five minutes distilling your brief into sixteen words. Then, take your next two minutes to cut the list down to eight, and the next two minutes cutting the list down to four words. With your final minute, you should end up with just two words that sum up your brief perfectly.

The place where creatives go wrong the most is with the brief because it’s very easy to forget one part and focus too heavily on the other; you must constantly refer back to what you’re being asked to deliver.

The 5 C’s of the brief

The 5 C’s are company, culture, category, consumer, and connections.

Research the company thoroughly, and find out what their customers think. Consider how society culturally interprets possible elements in your brief; does it contain anything controversial or sensitive? Make sure you differentiate yourself from your competitors or emulate an existing amazing campaign. Targeting your consumers carefully, and considering who may be influencing them, will help you decide which platform your content will be published on.

Following and thoroughly researching these can ensure you know everything you need to know about your client and your brief.

Do your homework

Make use of all insights and data related to your content, since it makes sense to publish something that is tried and tested. You may have executed some content in a similar format in the past; find out how it performed, and whether you could emulate it.

If you haven’t published anything in a similar format, research someone who has; could you build on a format that was successful with their audience?

Consider your strategy

If you know what the brief is after, for example, clicks or downloads, then look at how you’ve achieved that specific objective, and follow the same, or a similar route.

Ensure you have the elements of previous data wound into what you develop as a creative concept. This not only makes it much easier to plan and execute the brief but is also more valuable to the client since they can see how you solve problems.

Organise a creative

When conducting a creative, try to think about how you’re going to get noticed first. This is the most difficult part. Then, consider ways you’re going to shift perception, emotion, or both. Changing these will result in a shift in behavior, which is the ultimate goal of your brief.

So how do you get noticed? You see around 5000 advertisements a day, but the reason your head doesn’t explode is that your brain ignores most of them as a defense mechanism. The key to getting noticed is to create content that bypasses this defense mechanism: slipping through the cracks, and forcing the brain to notice you by being disruptive.

You can be disruptive in your content through execution. Use an existing space to spread your message in a way that breaks through. You could even find a competitor, a challenge, or an existing product and use it with an unexpected format that makes a viewer think twice.

Another way to be disruptive in your content is to use emotion for persuasion. Using emotion for persuasion can challenge the brain and force it to really consider what is in front of them. Is there clever wordplay? What can you do to provoke thought? Using this to execute your brief can initiate an emotional connection between the audience and your brand.

Go through your checklist

It’s very easy to get carried away with a fun and exciting idea and lose sight of where you started. After the creative, it’s important to go back to the start and ask yourself if your ideas match the brief and the most important phrase that you identified in the beginning.

“Great content is only great if it makes sense for what you’re trying to achieve.”

Then, consider your strategy and objective once again. Your idea may be right, but the strategy must be right too in order to meet the brief. Make sure you’re proofing everything through existing data.

Most importantly, remember that you always count as a valid case study to decide whether something is interesting. If you wouldn’t watch it, seriously question whether somebody else would. Your content should be provoking a reaction, shifting emotions or perceptions, and make sure you’re standing out from your competitors.


lets get it on

Let’s talk about what you need and how a partnership with us will help you to hit your marketing goals. Arrange a call using the form opposite and we’ll be in touch.