How to write a good brief: The importance of knowing what you want

How to write a good brief.

Being a content production agency we get to work with a range clients, all of which have their own working style.

It's our responsibility, and agency best-practice, to write a good brief, but to do this we depend heavily on the communication skills of the client and our own discovery skills.

This post should help clients and agencies understand why a brief is so important, how the process works and what should be included.

What is a creative brief.


A brief is the guiding principle that helps to realise a creative vision.

The team creating the 'creative asset' should have a clear understanding about what the client wants. Which in turn means, the client should know what they want.

Typically it is created by the agency's account manager in close collaboration with the client, but we're just as happy when a client comes prepared.

Clear communication at the early stages of a creative project are paramount for success.

Why it's important.


We don't advise starting a project without one. It would be like setting out on a journey and not really having a destination in mind. While that may sound exciting for some, how would you know when to stop?

Creative briefs provide clarity and direction and ensure we all make it to the same destination.

How a brief helps:

The Client

  • The client can ensure their ideas are captured and documented for consideration
  • It serves as a service agreement and helps to avoid conflict and misunderstanding of the creative outcome
  • It consolidates all requirements and facts in a single document
  • It holds designers accountable for the outcome
  • It can be used to evaluate the success of a project

The Creative Team

  • It ensures everyone involved has a broad understanding of the brand, business and project
  • It uncovers the values, vision and expectations of the client
  • It acts as an official agreement from the client, confirming their buy-in
  • It avoids scope creep and helps manage expectations by outlining deliverables, timeline and budget
  • It is a useful asset when briefing third parties
  • It provides criteria for assessment

What to include in a brief.


It is our responsibility to understand the client's vision for their brand, product, campaign or idea and translate it into a language that can be passed on to the team who will execute the project.

If we all know what we're working towards, it makes it much easier to succeed.

We like creative briefs to include the following:

  • Project background & key objectives
  • Style references
  • Main competitors and USP
  • Brand statement
  • Target audience
  • Primary message & call-to-action
  • Communication channels
  • Deliverables & specifications
  • Brand Guidelines & Tone of Voice
  • Timeline & budget allocation

We put together CREATIVE BRIEF TEMPLATE which you can download and use for future projects. It's always helpful to be prepared.

Knowing what you want.


If you know what you want, we can come up with a vision quickly and use the remaining time to concentrate on the creative part of the project.

We have seen time wasted on projects when things were not clarified at the beginning, which can be frustrating for everyone involved.

You may be familiar with the 5 W's and 1 H. This is the kind of information gathering agencies should be doing with their clients to help uncover the creative vision and communication goals required to develop the creative brief.

We will need to know:

  1. WHY you are doing this project / creating this content?
  2. WHO will see the content asset / who are you targeting?
  3. WHAT will the primary message / goal be?
  4. HOW will you communicate e.g. video, still, digital, print, experiential?
  5. WHERE will you be using the content assets?
  6. WHEN will you require the content asset(s) by?

Once we have extracted all of this information from the client, we will ask for sign-off and start working on the deliverables.

At Prospekt, we know that requirements can change over the course of the project. Which is why we use Trello as a means to track progress and log change requests as we go.

You don't know what you don't know.


If you've got an idea and you don't really know what to do with it, or how to realise it, we can provide structure to your project plan.

Alternatively, you may have a goal in mind but aren't sure how to achieve it. We can work with you to develop ideas that help you reach your communication and marketing goals.

All we need from you is a mutual openness and trust in our ability to work on your ideas collaboratively.

If you have questions about the process, or would like to start talking about your creative project get in touch.

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