Urgent: Stop Using Creative Briefs

Agencies everywhere spend hours, days, weeks developing Creative Briefs that have real insights about the target audience, a real appreciation of how the client’s offering fits into the competitive environment, real guidance for the team developing the creative.

The problem is: the world has changed dramatically and less and less of what agencies do is what has historically been thought of and done by “creative departments.” Is social media done by the creative team? PR? SEO? Even PPC SEM? Shopper marketing? Not that I see.  Creative Briefs seem to be for the development of creative used in advertising. And for many, what we often think of as advertising is less of the game today.

Yet smart people toil over Creative Briefs. A document too few will read or use.

That’s why Motion has stopped writing Creative Briefs. And started writing Messaging Briefs. Because isn’t that what they should be in the first place — a tool to guide the message, no matter where the message is?

I’m not trying to be coy about this. Look, it’s the same information — competitive set, target demographics, insights into the target’s behavior, attitudinal barriers, emotional benefit the reason to believe. But simply relabeling them Messaging Brief helps everyone on the team – importantly, everyone involved in the creation of messages regardless of when and where — appreciate the importance of staying on message. And gives everyone a tool to understand what that message should be.

So, we’ve done away with Creative Briefs. We only develop Messaging Briefs because, in our world of integrated communications, we want everyone to be singing the same tune for our clients. Because, here, everyone is in the “creative department.”

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