Creative Brief – What it is, does and how you make one.


For many years now, there has been a way to creatively translate information from one advertising team to another. For instance, when a client is wanting to run a new campaign to advertise a product that is about to launch, the information would first go through the advertising agency’s planning team to put a creative spin on it, to then relay it to the creative team to develop a campaign design, this process is all done through a creative brief.

Let’s throw this into an example:

Say that AT&T is gearing up to launch a new wireless phone plan for small businesses. Along with this plan would come a massive need for advertising initiatives through which almost all of the information for this new “product” would go through a team known as planners. The planners would then take the information, crank up some inspirationally epic music and get to work developing a brief that gives all of the information and starting ideas that the creative team needs to design a campaign off of. Once the creatives design the work, it is then sent back to the planners, then reviewed for any revisions and then presented back to the client, in the case, AT&T.

The essential layout and information of the brief should follow a guideline similar to this:

  • Get, To, By (Get the audience, To do something, By offering or creating something etc.)
  • What product are we selling?
  • What is the offer?
  • Who are we talking to?
  • What insight unlocks the opportunity?
  • SMI (What is the Single Minded Idea behind what we are trying to do?)
  • What could we do that would solve this problem?
  • Finish the sentence: The work will have worked if…
  • Deliverables:
  • Considerations (when designing)
  • Mandatories

Creative briefs are the first step to any advertising campaign big or small. They are the genesis of the creative idea that is the backbone of the entire campaign and client vision for the product they are trying to promote. If a creative brief is done poorly, the work will reflect it, but if it is well thought out and a genuinely exceptional brief, then the work will come back that way.


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