From briefing to brilliant briefing
According to a study by the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies), 80 percent of marketers believe they excel at writing briefings. However, only 10 percent of agencies agree on this. Writing a good briefing is no easy task as it involves various factors. It requires time and input from different stakeholders, each with their own perspective.
At Bravoure, we also often encounter inadequate briefings or ones that focus solely on technical aspects or the brand. Throughout the process, things can change, but a successful collaboration always starts with a good briefing. Kim (managing partner) and Lisanne (project manager) shed light on the power of a good briefing and how it benefits the entire client relationship.
What makes a good briefing?
A clear briefing sets an agency in the right direction. It ensures that you understand the organisation's needs or pain points precisely. While it's the agency's responsibility to provide the solution, the question (and thus the briefing) must be clear and unambiguous. Starting off on an unclear briefing poses the risk of building a project on incorrect assumptions. A concise briefing is preferred - simplicity is key.
Five elements of a good briefing
1. Identify the problem and challenges (without providing a solution)
Avoid thinking about solutions at this stage. That's where we come in – to approach the problem with a fresh perspective and think beyond the initial phase. As strategic partner, we define growth ambitions together with our clients. And as partners in crime, we work together to solve the problem. However, to achieve that, we need to thoroughly understand the brand, product, target audience (personas), competition, and the digital ecosystem surrounding it. It's essential to gain insight into aspects such as new positioning, business models, and product expansions. If the client's needs have changed, it demands an entirely different mindset from the outset.
Therefore, share what's happening within your organisation and the market. Has your marketing department recently undergone restructuring for instance? Such information can guide our collaboration and shape the final product. While there may be multiple problems and challenges, clearly indicate the client's primary focus from their perspective. What core message should remain if you remove everything else?
2. Set objectives and KPIs
Clients expect agencies to deliver solutions with a clear return on investment (ROI). Communicate the objectives clearly in the briefing. Objectives could include increasing ticket sales, growing the number of subscriptions or members, or extending visitor engagement on the website. Alternatively, it could involve enhancing SEO to improve online visibility and attract more visitors to the site. The more precisely objectives are formulated, the clearer the client's expectations for the collaboration become. Naturally, objectives are further refined and defined in a joint version. We accomplish this through an OGSM model (objectives, goals, strategies, and measurements). This brings us to the next point:
3. Define success
The briefing, as the starting point of a long-lasting and intensive collaboration, is crucial for building trust. Transparency plays a vital role here. The first contact moment is often the briefing, where the client wants to understand the evaluation criteria. To make the project a success, it's important to know what the client expects from a successful project. This helps us ensure that we're on the same page and share the same values for a long-term partnership. Celebrating successes becomes possible afterward!
4. Communicate a budget
Mentioning the budget is important for several reasons. To compare agencies (e.g., during a pitch), it's better and fairer to work with the same parameters, including the budget. Furthermore, the budget should align with the client's ambitions and goals. For instance, if the aim is to create a new digital platform with hundreds of thousands of active users, the budget should reflect that ambition. Lastly, budget communication is about trust and transparency. A good agency helps the client make smart choices by understanding what goals and ambitions can be achieved within the given budget. We can present various scenarios and consider the available budget post-launch. Our intention is never to exhaust the budget quickly. A reliable agency actively involves the client in the process, provides budget insights, and explores possibilities. We always want to create and build the best possible outcome.
5. Target Audience
We always make personas, as a broad description of the target group such as “young urban, aged 25-35”, doesn’t say much. Something that can be useful, is if there’s a switch in the target group. For example, reaching out to more young people for a festival (Best Kept Secret) or targeting more business sustainability leaders (Change Inc.) It could also involve preventing the loss of existing members due to a shift in communication towards a younger demographic. So, when the target audience is part of the challenge, we would like to learn more about them!