Who is the creative brief for?

It may seem like a simple question to answer and before working in an agency (and for a time whilst working in an agency) I would have answered; “the creatives!”. However, being “the most important piece of paper in the agency”, the creative brief does more than it says on the tin i.e. brief the creatives.

1. Planning Tool

Depending on the level of complexity contained within an agency’s creative brief template, a planner often finds themselves filling out a five page document full of everything from the business objective through to prescribing the distribution channels. These are all factors that need to be considered but could these not be worked through in a Response to Brief or another separate document that doesn’t have to be there at the brief clinic or briefing itself? Would it not improve our storytelling ability and raise the interest of the creatives if we had to condense each brief into a PechaKucha or had a written word limit of 20?

2. The Client Contract

This is a particular bug bear of mine. I do not believe clients should sign off on the creative brief. A response to brief to their brief yes but for a client to muscle in and change the proposition to a end line or call to action defeats the point of having a planner in the mix to begin with. The clients should be happy of course; they’re the client but they should also have enough faith in their agency to not need to micro-manage to the nth.

3. An Inspiring Trigger for Making Great Work

My ideal agency would see creative teams of three; comprised of an art director, a copywriter and a planner.
The best briefs I’ve seen are not only built on an ‘Ah ha’ human insight but have usually had input from the creative department at the earliest possible stage. This is not to say that I in any way advocate brief writing by committee but if you are all (literally) on the same page from the get go, surely it will result in better integration within the agency and better work as an outcome.

I’ve always found creative brief writing (and briefing) to be the most enjoyable part of my job and coming from a creative background I suppose it’s only natural that I would want to be more involved with the creative department. This may not be the case for the whole of planning but imagining a collaborative utopia can’t hurt.

N.B. Not to say that the planner shouldn’t have contact with the client and everyone should have input into identifying a business need

What structural changes (if any) would you make if you had your own agency?

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em@emmathews.co.uk
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