Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Writing the Agency Brief



The marketing objective and the brand promise with its proof points are key elements of the agency brief, a document that communicates the strategic direction of a new advertising campaign. Once you have completed the agency brief, your ad agency will use the brief to develop campaign ideas/concepts (e.g., storyboards, print ads). They will likely show you several different campaign ideas.


Elements of An Agency/Creative Brief

Background/Overview: (history, context, and a general overview of the competitive environment and the problem)

Marketing Objective: (desired tangible result, usually in target customer’s attitude or behavior; intended effect with quantifiable success criteria)
  • Current State: (what the customer thinks today)
  • Desired State: (what we want them to think and what we want them to do)

Assignment: (deliverable, timing, and budget)

Product or Service: (if product/service-specific)

Target Customer: (be as specific as possible)

Brand Essence: (the “heart and soul” of the brand expressed as “adjective, adjective, noun”)

Brand Promise: (only [brand] delivers [relevant differentiated benefit or shared value])

Proof Points: (reasons to believe)

Brand Archetype: (choose and elaborate on one or two archetypes that explain the brand’s motivation and drive its behavior)

Brand Personality, Voice, and Visual Style: (from the positioning statement, list adjectives that describe the brand; for instance: voice: down-to-earth, assertive, confident, warm, sarcastic, witty, reassuring, eloquent, simple, etc.; visual style: bold, bright, energetic, soft, textured, ornate, understated, nostalgic, futuristic, etc.)

Mandatories: (those items that are givens). It is best to provide as few constraints as possible. I usually specify the brand identity standards and system as the only mandatories. There may be legal or regulatory mandatories as well.


Excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition, available here.

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