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Creative Brief-Article - very new assignment calls for two...

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CREATIVE BRIEFS. WHAT, WHEN, & HOW. very new assign- ment calls for two types of input. One, the input we are most famil- iar with, is our unique blend of talent and experience. Our cre- ative input is what makes our work distinguishable from com- petitors and is why clients choose us. It is also something that only we can control. The second area of input is the detail we receive before start- ing work. Since it provides the framework for everything that follows, in many ways it is more important. It is also a responsibil- ity we share with the client. The better it is handled, the more likely it is that our creative prod- uct will be better and that the client’s objectives will be met. If not handled well, the client will be unhappy and the assignment less profitable. DEFINING TERMS In most cases, a creative brief is the process of obtaining neces- sary information after an assign- ment has been received. For a few large-scale assignments, how- ever, the term may also be used to describe the process a creative firm goes through prior to sub- mitting a proposal. Sometimes, briefs take the form of the specific client direc- tives—their marching orders. Other times, they are the process suppliers (you) initiate to get clients to express their needs and preferences. And with ongoing assignments (e.g., ad campaigns), they can be a creative team’s pre- concept verbal outline of a direc- tion they plan on pursuing. They can also be referred to as positioning, design, advertising, or other brief, depending on the assignment type. However initiated and described, what’s covered in this article is the process of pre-con- cept information gathering. The larger the task and the more important the client, the more crucial it is. Its primary purpose is to help ensure that the end result is a product that will be both creatively stimulating and strategically sound. The creative brief process is important for other reasons, too. It helps accelerate development by removing many doubts or questions that could surface later when doing the work. It rein- forces that strategic issues are foremost in creative develop- ment. And it provides a structure for getting approval later. Put simply, the more com- pletely any problem or opportu- nity is defined, the easier, better, and more acceptable its resolu- tion will be. (A related process, well worth promoting to larger clients, is a communications audit. It doesn’t replace the need for creative briefs on separate assignments, but it does help to raise the over- all level of client materials. See the sidebar on page 3 for more.) INCORPORATING THEM INTO YOUR PROCEDURES Whatever form it may take, a cre- ative brief should be a part of every new assignment. The only difference between the process for a small versus a large one is the extent. The same holds true despite the size of the client, and whether you run a large firm or freelance.
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