This article was written by Claire de Belloy Cottier, expert Marketer and former P&G International Marketing Manager, and Augustin de Belloy, CEO of Left Productions.
There is a direct correlation between the quality of your brief and the quality of your campaign. Here is what you should give your agency to make sure you get the best campaign!
The first thing your creative agency needs is to understand your Consumer. Describe him/her as a person, describe his/her habits, routine and beliefs. You should know him/her like your best friend, or your partner.
Then you should describe your brand (not your company), like if it was a person, for example a “she”: highlight her emotional character, her strengths, weaknesses, her mission in life and overall her look, how she wants to be perceived, her colors and specific traits.
Your consumer and your brand should be very complementary like a couple. They should be able to fall madly in love with each other.
You should only have one goal for your video campaign, this will help your agency be much more assertive. Describe your main goal from a company’s point of view: do you want to increase brand awareness, drive consumer acquisition, generate engagement, etc?
Then tell what action you want to trigger from your consumer: get to a specific website, buy something, share the video, etc.
This is the backbone of your campaign: explain what the key message for your campaign is. Your communication message strategy is not a claim, your creative agency is more qualified to work on this but it is still a message, the strategic message. Remember to choose only one message.
Here is a good structure to present your message.
As you may remember from our previous article, a consumer insight is what makes your target say “of course!” or “Ah, yes, this is the solution I was looking for”.
More precisely, it is the expression of a conscious or subconscious need or tension for a consumer. It can be expressed with the following structure from the consumer point of view: “I would like…[dream or ideal situation]...because it is important for me to…[motivation]... but…[tension: what is blocking?]...”.
For example, for this Old Spice ad, the consumer insight is: “I like when my boyfriend smells of male perfume, because I find it sexy, but he doesn’t care and often smells like my body-wash.”
Choose THE Benefit that you want to advertise and that responds to the consumer insight. Why only one? Of course, you would want your consumer to know all about your brand. But your consumers are real people: they have a life, they have jobs, kids, hobbies, they receive plenty of messages, news, ads, phones calls. On top of that, you cannot put them in a room and force them to watch your ad for hours, your consumer may very well be on Whatsapp while your 30 seconds ad is going. If you are not clear, forget it.
What are the key arguments that convince people that the above benefit is real? Arguments are more powerful when they have numbers or social proofs, this is typically the part where your R&D or engineering team can contribute.
Attach successful and less successful previous communications. Briefly explaining what worked and what worked less can be useful. It is important for your agency to understand your communication history to stay consistent with your brand and to understand your consumer’s behavior in front of your ads.
It can be useful for your agency to understand the full messages that your consumers will see during the campaign.
You can for example have a compelling offer in store or on the website to close the deal (-10%, get something for free, etc).
Your consumers also see the competition’s ads, so you will need to be different to stand out.
To gain time, you can attach a competition analysis, as marketer you should have something like this in your files. Of course, if it is more than 2 years old, refreshing it could be beneficial for your entire team.
Your agency can’t guess if it is important for your brand to show Swiss mountains in the background or to avoid showing wild animals!
These look like details, but not giving them can create a lot of trouble.
When do you plan to launch your campaign and/or your product ?
Production budgets vary widely depending on the scope and quality of video.
To give you a budget range:
Creative agencies will adapt their ideas to your budget and avoid losing your time (and their time) with unrealistic proposals.
This person should approve the brief before it goes to the agency and come to important decision meeting with the agency to avoid back and forth.
Involving directly the decision maker accelerate the full process and the quality of the final Ad.
In top companies, the brief is reviewed many times and the final version is signed by Top Management before it goes to the creative agency.
The brief helps you define your strategy. It also helps your creative agency think outside of the box, and find you amazing ideas for your campaign!
Let's get started!
Next article: how to evaluate your creative agency script ideas and choose the best one for your brand.
This is the creative brief that Left Productions sends to their clients.
1. Who is your consumer?
Describe your consumer as a person! Who is he/she? How old is he/she? Where does he/she live? How wealthy is he/she? What is his/her position in life? What motivates him/her?
2. What is your Brand / Product?
Your brand name, and the product or service we’ll be advertising in the video.
3. Can you describe your brand as a person?
Describe your brand (not your company), like if it was a person, for example a “she”, highlighting her emotional character, her strengths, weaknesses, her mission in life and overall her look or how she wants to be perceived.
4. What is your main goal?
What is the main thing you want this video to accomplish? Conversion, education, engagement, brand awareness?
5. What actions do you want to trigger?
Do you want your audience to buy your product, to go to a specific page, to download an app?
6. Tell us what is your consumer main insight: put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Can you fill in the following sentence?
We call this the Consumer Insight. It helps us understand what will resonate with your target audience.
“I want … (DREAM) … because it is important for me to … (MOTIVATION) … but … (TENSION / PROBLEM) …”
7. What problems do you solve?
It’s important for us to understand the problem/s you solve to highlight your added value.
8. Benefits: how does your target’s life changes with your product? Choose the most important one!
What is the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, etc impact? How does your product or service make people’s lives better?
9. What is the one most important thing that makes you stand out from your competitors?
We usually call this the “Unique Selling Proposition”. It has to be meaningful to your target and this will be the most important message of the video.
10.What are the compelling proofs that show that you can deliver?
We call that those proofs the “Reasons to Believe”. Give us the most important one!
11.What are the core features of the product of what you want to advertise?
Can you rank them?
What are the most important features of your product/service? You can put here links to webpages or previous videos, for instance.
12.Can you describe or list your previous communication? Successful and less successful ones.
It will help us understand what worked and what was efficient for your brand.
What compelling offers can you use to really make your audience want to use your service? (Example: get 10% off with a coupon).
14.Can you tell us about your competitor’s communication and positioning?
It’s important for us to understand how you want to differentiate from your competitors.
15.DOs & DON’Ts
List any DOs and DON’Ts for the video. For example, tonality to use or avoid, certain buzzwords to emphasise or avoid, etc.
16.Ideas you have?
Have you had any ideas for the execution of the video? This will help us understand what you have in mind.
17.When do you want to distribute the video?
18.What price range do you want the production budget to fit in?
Production budgets vary widely depending on the scope and quality of video. We don’t want to waste your time and money, or our time developing concepts that are beyond your budget. To give you a budget range: digital videos with actors are usually between 25k and 80k. TV ads are usually between 50k and 250k. Videos in motion design are below 10k.
19.What resources do you have?
Is your cousin Brad Pitt? Do you have an easy access to a Castle? Is your business location beautiful? Do you own anything extraordinary?
20.Anything interesting in your brand history?
Anything we should know about the brand history? Past campaigns?
The perfect brief is like a mini-skirt: long enough to trigger the imagination, and short enough to trigger interest. It needs to be brief and to the point.