The brief you give your agency is the single most important thing you need to get right in order to get a fantastic campaign – However, it is common practice in companies to give that task to the young and eager …. which often ends up with something like this:
“Market – Thailand, Product – awesome cream that does great stuff to your face, inspirational photos – either something from Apple or something from Chanel and 2-3 fancy words”.

Some people actually thinks that this is enough, or maybe they believe creative minds are magical cauldrons that bursts out prodigious ideas combining a product shot with an Apple ad influence.

Let us be upfront: this is absolutely not the way it works.

You do not have to be an artist to write a brief, but it definitely takes some work and a huge amount of logic. So don’t panic! We’re here to help, and we have put a few tips together to guide you through it:

Know Your Budget – Speak It Out 

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It is a common practice for clients to hide their budget to their agencies, but why?
There are 2 possible reasons for this:

  1. They think that agencies will quote lower than budget if they don’t know how much is actually available – please believe us when we say this NEVER happens. When you hide your budget, agencies get excited and think the sky is the limit which ends up with unfeasible proposals and a lot of time lost for everybody.
  2. They think that with a restrictive budget, agencies will give crap ideas and they prefer to first let their imagination run free – which, as explained above, is utterly misleading as the ideas will not be feasible within budget and will result in creating a lot of frustration for everybody.

The truth is – being upfront with your budget is a great way to challenge your agency’s creativity. It forces us to find solutions that fit your budget AND achieve your objectives, and when you as a client, get the most out of your money.

We all want to go to the moon for 10 dollars, but sadly, it is not possible.

Give Information, a lot of it!

How many times have we heard, “we don’t want to give you too much input, because we don’t want to suppress your creativity” ? – WRONG! And we say this from the bottom of our hearts.

The more information you give, the more your agency will understand about where you want to go and the better the outcome will be. Do not be afraid of giving too much information, people in agencies are actually good at filtering information and getting to the heart of the problem.

As long as you are clear about your objectives, your agency can read, prioritize the information and choose what’s important. And, if you are worried about agencies leaking important information, there are always non-disclosure agreements to be signed.

Align Internally – seriously. 

Hell opens when the stakeholders of a project do not agree on the vision/ objective and the Unique Selling Point.

For example, we once received a brief where our client requested a crisp, Scandinavian design, BUT with motherly warmth, 3 Call-To-Actions and 2 guarantee stamps. How did this end? A mere 31 rounds of changes and us losing our minds trying to crack the brief. The reason of this mess? 3 stakeholders with 3 VERY different visions, unable to agree on what they wanted to do.

Aligning internally on what you want to do with the campaign, figuring out ONE vision, ONE objective and ONE unique selling point (and yes we do mean 1 – ONE – UNA – UNE) is THE ABSOLUTE key to the success of your campaign.

It is tricky, we know – and we can help, but there is no escaping it.

Be Transparent, be honest – we can take it.

Honesty goes a long way.

Your project doesn’t have management approval yet? – SAY SO
Keeping secrets can only lead to confusion. Tell your agency what the project is for, who it will be presented to, under what circumstances – we guarantee it will be helpful. Agencies are not just suppliers, they are partners who will support you and provide you with real content to push your proposals and win your management approval.

You tried it before with another agency and it sucked? – SHOW US
Inform the new agency of the problems you had with previous explorations. Chances are, if you are giving the exact same brief without mentioning the issues you faced the first time around, the agency will end up in the same tricky situation as the previous one.
Additionally, if you are paying for something new, don’t waste your time by taking the risk to see the same proposals as before come through. Show us what has been done before, explain why it did not work, and you will be sure not to see that again.

You are paying your agency to produce good work, let them do it in the best conditions possible and you will see great results. 

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