We’re big believers in co-creation at HERRON + CO — not only in terms of the creative journey, but also in getting the best information to propel the project forward. However, all too often we see clients struggle with writing the agency brief. Some try to solve the problem in their instruction before we’ve even had a chance to talk — while others are already heading towards stylistic direction way ahead of any strategic foundation being agreed. Invariably it leads to confusion. In this article we’ll show you how as an agency, we go about curating and crafting creative briefs to get the best results for your project.
The good news is that any agency worth its salt will not expect a brief from you that is ready to be handed to a creative team. A simple overview of who you are and what you do — coupled with a summary of your challenge and objectives — will suffice. It is, in our opinion, the job of the agency to work with their clients to establish exactly what the aim of the project should be, the parameters in which it should work, the audiences that it should speak to and of course — what the desired response should be.
At HERRON + CO we work extensively with our clients not only as creative problem solvers, but also as consultants. For us, this means helping them with their strategy — as well as creative. To do this, we always start with a briefing session. This can take many forms, from a chat over Zoom or MS Teams to an interactive workshop with multiple participants and immersive activities. Ultimately, we aim to uncover the best insight from you to propel your project forward — in the most effective and compelling ways for your target audience — and hopefully to take the stress out of your job.
Here’s how we go about getting the best creative brief for your project.
Ask the right questions
Ahead of our meeting we will prepare a comprehensive question set to help guide the conversation and unearth responses that will intelligently influence the work. We make sure that our questions are both relevant to the project type, and focus on the outcomes that you want to achieve. Be prepared for us to challenge your preconceptions of your brand and marketing positions. We do this to get you thinking more objectively about the audience perspective. After all, it’s what they think and feel about the work that matters most.
Casting the net further
While conversations with key people from your organisation are invaluable in obtaining insight into the business and direction for the project, it is often hugely beneficial to reach out a bit further to gain more objective contributions to help influence the creative brief. We recommend selecting a few willing clients and partners who are invested in your business and brand to join us in a series of one-to-one interviews — unearthing unique thoughts and opinions that may not otherwise be considered.
We often find that questioning alone around creative and communications projects can veer into the abstract; often people can misunderstand the points being made or the nature of questions being asked. To mitigate this, we augment the conversation with visual aids; mood boards, style scapes, colour palettes, type boards, links to motion, functionality and interactions. All these things can help paint a picture in the group’s mind, and can more effectively guide responses and critical thinking.
A comprehensive creative briefing document
After enjoying a fascinating journey of discovery with you — and potentially some of your key client’s and partners — we channel the insight gathered into a comprehensive creative brief. This document has two purposes. Firstly, it will confirm everything that we have agreed in previous sessions as the criteria, parameters and objectives of the project. Essentially, this affirms everything you want to achieve and that we will deliver. Secondly, it will guide the creative thinking to achieve the desired objectives through inspirational direction, clear-set creative objectives and holistic insight to get the synapses firing.
This is a proven process that has consistently delivered the best guidance, process and results for our clients. Not only does it make the project run more effectively and efficiently, but it provides a safety net of governance around the work — ensuring that it delivers the best outcome and experience for you and your audience.