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Best practices

With 9 questions to the perfect briefing

With 9 questions to the perfect briefing
14
.Β 
May 2024

Find out in this article:

  • How to create professional briefings βœ…
  • Why a good briefing saves time and money βœ…
  • How to make your work easier with briefing templates βœ…

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When a marketing department or a client company works with a creative agency, the briefing is the starting signal for every project. This is where the client defines exactly what is needed and what the goals are. A good brief gives the agency the clarity it needs to develop creative solutions that hit the mark.

Preparing the briefing carefully as a client helps to ensure a target-orientated and efficient production process with the agency in the long term.

We guide you through the briefing process with 9 questions to make the agency briefing perfect, a small excerpt is already available here: Firstly, you should clearly communicate your vision and expectations. What is the end goal? Who is the target audience? What message do you want to convey? Also set the timeframe and budget. The more precise you are here, the better. But stay flexible - the professionals at the agency will also come up with their own ideas, which often fit the target group very well thanks to their experience.

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What is a briefing?

The brief is an important step in the collaboration between the client and a creative or digital agency. It is basically a detailed guide or information pack that the client company provides to the agency so that they understand exactly what is required. It clearly communicates goals, expectations, timeline and budget. By briefing definition, this often includes target audience data, brand guidelines and the desired communication style.

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[.b-important-block]A good brief gives the agency everything it needs to get creative and successfully realise the objective.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ In short[$tag]

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Why is a good brief important?

Imagine you're planning a trip with friends, but nobody knows where to go. Pretty chaotic, isn't it? 🀯

It's the same with the briefing in a creative agency. The briefing is like your itinerary: it sets the direction, clarifies the goals and ensures that everyone in the team knows what needs to be done.

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A good briefing:

  • prevents misunderstandings βœ…
  • saves time and nerves βœ…
  • ensures that the results are really strong in the end βœ…

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It is the foundation for successful collaboration and creative solutions that hit the mark. So, always take the time for a clear briefing so that everyone is happy in the end!

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Briefing templates for faster coordination

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Of course, the briefing for each project is slightly different and should be worked out individually. However, it is helpful to have a few briefing templates to hand so that you never forget the most important points.

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Projects that are well suited to briefing templates:

  • Content productions (blog articles, tutorials, videos)
  • Marketing campaigns (social, OoH, digital)
  • All types of retainer projects

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Advantages of briefing templates

πŸ’œ Nothing is forgotten!
Thanks to the points to be filled in, the deadline, budget, USP etc. are always given directly and there are no loops of queries.

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πŸ’œ Internal questions are clarified directly.
If customers work with a briefing template, all the questions that need to be answered can already be clarified there. This helps the in-house team to become more confident in their briefing culture and often creates a clear, more targeted briefing.

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πŸ’œ Away with emails and briefings on the phone.
Everyone knows them, everyone hates them. Agency briefings belong in their own format. Why? So that all information is bundled in one place, everyone involved can refer to this document and no information gets lost in virtual nirvana.

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[.b-important-block]The briefing template can be provided by the agency or by the briefing team. When working together, only agree on a joint document, which will help to simplify your future coordination.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ Tip[$tag]

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Step by step to the perfect briefing

A professional briefing is created faster than you think. To help you think of everything, we have put together the classic questions that are required in every creative briefing. Answer the briefing questions together with the stakeholders and be well prepared when it comes to handing it over to the agency.

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9 questions for the perfect briefing

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1. What is it about?

Start with a short, descriptive title that sticks in the mind - this will immediately set your team on course. Then give a clear, to the point description of the task. This way, everyone in the team knows what the task is and why their superpowers are needed. And don't forget to share the purpose of the whole thing - this provides motivation and pulls everyone together. This turns an β€˜undefined’ project into a fully defined success!

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2. What is the goal?

What exactly does your business need? What is the jackpot that the project is aiming for? Determine what success looks like and how it can be measured. That way you can check later whether you've hit the mark. With clear goals in the briefing, the creative team not only knows where it's going, but can also celebrate when the milestones have been reached. So, set your goals, define them and get started!

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3. Who is your target group?

If you know your target group properly, you can focus your marketing projects on them. Imagine who exactly you want your campaign to appeal to - is it the trend-conscious student, the tech-savvy man in his mid-forties or the new family? Get information such as age, job or what people do in their free time. And think about it: do you want to inspire your regular customers or attract new faces? The more you know about the people you want to reach, the better you can get your message across. So, dig deep and get a clear picture of your target group - it pays off!

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4. What should be communicated?

Now it's time to get down to business: What do you want to say to your target group? Think about what you want them to feel, think or do based on your project. Always focus on the USPs that set you apart from the competition. Communicate all points in descending order of importance so that the creative team knows what they can focus on.

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5. What does your project sound like?

If you already have a brand with style and voice, include this in your brief. This ensures that everything is consistent and that your brand always sounds the same. And if you don't have any guidelines yet, grab your team and decide how you want to position yourselves. Imagine that your message is like a character - with its own personality and way of speaking. That way everything stays consistent. Oh yes, and remember that everything remains undefined until you have defined it!

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6. What is the type of result?

Clearly define what you expect from your agency. This can vary from briefing to briefing, but should be recorded as far as possible. It is also fine to only have 2 concept ideas as the result type, as this will only lead to further results. However, if there are clear results to aim for, these should be mentioned here.Β 

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7. What is your budget?

One of the most important parts of any brief. The creative agency can come up with great ideas, but if the realization ends up exceeding your budget, everyone will be frustrated. So play your cards straight - how much budget is available for this project? Calculate all the costs directly, i.e. for the agency services, the media budget and any production costs. This way, your agency can work directly with real figures and you can achieve a great result faster.Β 

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8. In what time frame should the project be realized?

The deadline question is similar to the budget question. Is there a specific day on which everything has to be ready? Trade fairs, product launches or other events are particularly popular here. Communicate this right at the start of the briefing process. In this way, the necessary capacities can be blocked in good time and a clear (milestone)-plan can be drawn up.

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9. Is there anything else missing?

There should be space for further information at the end of each briefing. This is where you can place any benchmarks or initial ideas of your own. The same applies here - everything that has already been discussed or even just brainstormed somewhere before the project should be recorded in the briefing template.Β 

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With these steps, the briefing will be a complete success and you can look forward to great results! πŸš€

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Communication and feedback in the briefing process

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In the briefing process, it is important that you communicate openly and clearly. Make sure that you share all your ideas and expectations and also follow up if something is unclear. Feedback is the key to success. Be honest, but always constructive.

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Remember: it's about creating something great together. When you give feedback, be specific and factual so that the team knows exactly what you need. And don't forget to give praise when the creative minds have done something really good! This will keep motivation high and the results top.

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[.b-important-block]When planning your project, always allow enough time for feedback loops. Hardly any first draft becomes a result straight away. It is therefore better to have a time buffer in your plan than to have to do everything at the last minute.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ Tip[$tag]

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Example of a successful briefing

Looking for inspiration for your own briefing? Then take a look at some examples to refine your template and find creative inspiration.

At awork, we use a customized briefing template for article-briefings, that we simply copy for each briefing and fill in with the details. This creates clearly defined tasks for our copywriters and the content team, and we can quickly get started with the implementation. Try it out - a good briefing is the main part of successful projects!

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Example briefing template for blog articles
Save your briefing template to create a smooth briefing flow with your clients.

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Use briefing templates in awork

There are various ways in which you can benefit from briefing templates in awork.

Firstly, there is the classic project template.

If you are starting a large new project, it makes sense to create this in a separate project. The timeline can exactly reflect the project process, the team members involved can be assigned and everyone is assigned their own tasks. It also makes sense to define the briefing within the project. Once you have set up a project briefing template, you can save it in your templates and have the system open it for each new project. The briefing can then be found in the project description, simply fill it in and get started.

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[.b-important-block] You can also store your own tasks in project templates, so the first tasks could be to complete the briefing or invite all team members to the project.[.b-important-block]

[$tag]πŸ‘‰ Good to know[$tag]

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For retainer projects, it is usually not necessary to create a new project for each topic.

We recommend using task templates here. A task contains all the information that needs to be filled in for the briefing. You can work with the task description, the subtasks or the checklist. With smart automations, a corresponding team member can be added directly for review when the status changes (e.g. to β€˜Briefing in review’).

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For agencies: developing a brief together with the client

An effective brief is crucial for a successful collaboration between client and creative agency. We know this and we also know that it's sometimes difficult to convince clients to provide a detailed brief. From our experience, we've put together some tips on how to get your clients to use briefing templates:Β 

  1. Save time and money.
    Data and analytics almost always work. Use your experience to show how much time and money customers save when the briefing is very detailed and workable from the outset.Β 
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  2. Fewer feedback loops.
    Of course, this goes hand in hand with point 1, but it is helpful to make this very clear again. Clients hire you because you are the experts. They should therefore have to spend as little time as possible on coordination and feedback loops. The more detailed the briefing, the more suitable the first drafts will be.
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  3. Maintain control yourself.
    Thanks to the briefing document, it is clear in black and white what the customer side requires. This safeguards both sides and can be invoked in the event of disagreements.
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  4. Show professionalism.
    With a smart briefing culture, both in-house teams and agencies demonstrate a structured approach to management and within the market. This puts both sides on a professional level and helps to set them apart from β€˜do-it-just-in-between’ creatives and in-house teams.

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In addition to these tips, it is of course still crucial to be in personal contact with customers and not to offer automated mass production. Listen carefully and ask specific questions. This helps your customer to feel heard and understood - even beyond the briefing. You can also offer to work through the briefing together the first few times so that you get all the information and the customer can get used to the process.Β 

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You're a fan of templates?Β Take a look into our other project templates, that are perfect for your typical agency work.

πŸ‘‰ Campaign planning template

πŸ‘‰ Annual planning template

πŸ‘‰ Teammeeting template

About the author
Dorte
Talent Acquisition Lead
The bear-strong Panda update is here, bringing one of the most frequently requested features to life: a new task level, or more precisely, real subtasks.
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