“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
– Dr. Seuss
A good creative brief is the foundation of any successful project. No matter how complicated or simple the project, having a solid brief ensures you get started on the right track.
Without a good brief, chaos ensues: the work doesn’t meet the client’s expectations; the studio is frustrated with the changing vision and constant revisions; the project ends up over budget. Now that we know how important a brief is, here are 3 tools that will help you create better creative briefs and more profitable projects:
1. Brief Templates
The first step is obvious, yet lots of firms still don’t use brief templates. If you don’t currently use them at your creative agency, try one of our free brief templates to get you started. If you are using briefs, make sure that you get e-v-e-r-y client to fill out the brief c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y. Many agencies do use briefs, but they’re very lax about getting the client to give complete information. Unfortunately, getting clear, accurate details may not seem important until the project is already off-track. So, to prevent issues from arising later down the project timeline, take the initial time upfront to make the brief clear and complete. This will save time, money and lots of frustration in the long run. “I sure wasted time getting that brief filled out properly” – said no one ever!
2. Clear Persona
The second step is to make sure that the brief clearly identifies and details the persona that the work is targeting. A clear persona helps the creative team point their arrow in the right direction so that they can hit the bull’s-eye. In Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content, he talks about the most common mistakes every company makes in creating their personas – likely your clients are making these mistakes too. The most common mistake is that the persona is generic and not differentiated from the competitor’s persona. To avoid this mistake, ensure your clients have answered Pulizzi’s 5 key persona questions:
- Priority initiatives: What are 3-5 problems the buyer dedicated time, budget and political capital to solve?
- Success factors: What are the tangible and intangible factors, metrics and rewards associated with the success for the buyer?
- Perceived barriers: What doesn’t achieve success that the buyer might question you on?
- Buying process: What is your process for overcoming barriers to achieving success factors?
- Decision criteria: What aspects of the product or service will the buyer assess in regards to alternative solutions?
Try adding these persona questions to your creative brief, or have a separate persona brief. This will ensure your agency has all the specific details it needs to get epic results for your clients. Also, consider that developing the persona for your clients is something that you could charge extra for and encourage it as an upsell option. Or, get your clients to do their own persona with this great free tool called Up Close & Persona. It’s a comprehensive tool that clients can fill out on their own, or have an Account Executive walk them through, step by step.
3. Client Portal
Lastly, consider a portal tool where clients can submit their creative briefs, upload assets, submit work requests, approve estimates and more. A client portal ensures communication is fast, centralized and convenient. For example, Function Point’s client portal will send out notifications to all the ‘right’ people when a client brief has been submitted. This allows the Account Executive to follow up immediately on any incomplete parts of the brief and get the project into the studio quickly. It also ensures that the creative team is working with the most current information as the project progresses. A portal can save you lots of time, money and frustration in managing creative briefs, project information, and client requests.
If you want to learn more about how Function Point’s project management software and client portal can help you run a more productive and profitable creative agency, why not join us for a free, personalized demo. We’ll take you on a quick tour of the product and answer any questions you have.
This article was contributed by former Function Point employee, Jehanne Burns.