In my 8 years in media, I have read, written and responded to more briefs than I can count. Unfortunately, many of these have been missing concrete business objectives, lack audience insights, or are too focused on the features of the product/service rather than the benefits to their customers. Even worse, sometimes we are provided with no written brief at all.
A solid brief is crucial in truly unearthing why the client needs our help. Clients can always ask for the agency’s input and recommendations. A good media planner won’t be afraid to interrogate the brief, and will help integrate the response with insights, experience, market insights and innovation.
So, what makes the perfect brief?
1. Clearly articulated aims and goals, with quantifiable targets.
It’s crucial we understand the context for the campaign and any media related objectives, as well as the wider business objectives. These objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely).
2. The target audience.
This should go beyond the demographic profile. For example, when you think of two people described as being Male, aged 70+, raised in the UK, dog owners, affluent, with two children – you’d assume they would be included in the same customer segment and will behave, and think, in the same way.
Yet, those two people couldn’t be more different… one of them is the King of England, and the other goes by the nickname the “Prince of Darkness” and rose to prominence as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath.
Personas shouldn’t be about demographics. Personas should be about unifying behaviours, looking at similar problems and challenges people face.
3. Campaign parameters – timing, regionality, duration and budget.
Most media briefs include a pre-defined budget, and frequently, the budget is set before the targets. However, logic dictates otherwise; “to achieve X how much do we need to spend?” Perhaps it’s time to move media planning upstream and adopt objective-led budgeting.
4. Creative strategy and assets.
Often this has been pre-defined, with creative processes frequently taking place before media planning. The closer the media and creative agencies can work together from the outset to provide an integrated response, the more aligned the campaign will be.
5. Measurement metrics.
It’s important to be clear at the outset how success will be evaluated, which KPI’s should be prioritised and how they will be reported and measured.
So, keep it insightful, thought-provoking, and… brief.