Rants & Raves
March 21, 2020
What Is A Creative Brief?

When launching a new branding initiative, marketing program, or essential brand touchpoints, it is important for key stakeholders to agree on a purpose, objectives, and expectations for performance.


The creative brief is a tool that we use at Studio Spear on every project and before work begins. It is a written document that briefly summarizes (1 to 2 pages at most) business objectives, marketing objectives, brand attributes, and other such vital background information. While it may be accompanied by exhaustive market research, test results, graphic standards manuals, and other such in-depth background materials, it is the one document that everyone can agree upon and reference throughout the creative process to keep expectations in line. In short, it makes sure that everyone is on the same page.

Without a creative brief, the creative team is left to their imagination to determine the most effective creative approach for the assignment at hand. While giving them freedom to invent and explore is a great idea, there are market dynamics and competitive pressures that must be fully understood before work begins.

Unless your goal is to launch a parody - a direct copy of the market leader - you certainly would not want your brand touchpoints to look like cheap imitations. Unfortunately, creative teams tend to be overly enthusiastic and will jump into their assignment without checking out the competitive landscape or fully understanding a brand's unique selling proposition. When this happens, the end result fails to resonate with key buyers, lacks the credibility and impact necessary to penetrate new markets, and ends up needing an overhaul (costing even more) in relatively short time.

Sometimes the essential information is provided verbally during start-up meetings between client and agency. Unfortunately, tremendous detail tends to get lost in the midst of discussion, creating a situation where final deliverables fail to exploit valuable opportunities and fall short of expectations.

Ultimately, it's a simple task to prepare a Creative Brief, share it between management and creative teams, obtain consensus, and set expectations accordingly.

Unfortunately, we regularly encounter marketing endeavors that fail to establish a competitive advantage, generate impact, or deliver meaningful return on investment. Brands become generic, are undervalued, and easily overlooked. With thorough market research, insightful strategic planning, and the use of a creative brief, far more desirable and effective outcomes can be generated.

Studio Spear would be delighted to share a copy of the Creative Brief it uses on a regular basis. Simply contact us. Better still, let us know how we can help you develop more impactful and influential branding programs.