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Bad Brief – Good Grief!

2nd February 2010


box-of-chocolatesAs designers & marketers, we know that producing a good creative solution from a poor brief is like trying to choose a present for someone you have never met before. It’s going to end up being alot of guesswork, going round the houses and pulling  our hair out trying to work out just what they will want. They end up being given a box of chocolates, only for them to tell us they are diabetic.

A design/marketing project without a good brief is doomed to failure before the project has begun.

Here are some examples of poor briefs we have seen.

  1. The Closed Book. Here, the brief is so tight, with no room for manouevre that you wonder why the client has approached a creative agency rather than an artworker, or worse still, done it themselves.
  2. The 360. In this scenario, the client doesn’t really know what they want and cannot provide any information beyond the size of the document. You are left with all options open and no tangible route to go down.
  3. The Chameleon. This brief changes constantly over hours, days or weeks. This is where the client keeps seeing new ‘inspiration’ in other places and constantly adds these new requests
  4. The Collision. Here the client’s brief is full of contradicting info, making it appear as though it is actually a merge between two separate briefs
  5. The Dreamer. All creative agencies have seen this one. The expectation here is so high, yet the budget or deadline is so low.

There are loads more examples, and I shall describe them in a future blog, but for now, we continue to support our clients with a set of brief guidelines that will help them help us help them.

These are a few things we would always ask;

  • Information about the company, what they do, their product/service/solution
  • The market & the competition
  • The profile of the ideal recipient/buyer/customer
  • What makes them different? MSPs, USPs
  • Expectations -what are they really trying to achieve with this project?
  • The profile – how would they like others to perceive them?
  • The project message/theme
  • Are there any corporate guidelines?
  • Examples of similar things they like
  • Examples of things they have done before
  • Budgets & deadline
  • Technical Spec

The more information we have, the more likely we are to fulfil the clients’ requirements.

If you are considering a forthcoming creative/marketing project, you may be interested in receiving Design Inc’s  Information Pack.