Creative briefs are pretty standard throughout the creative industry…but there are still times when clients or product managers try to avoid them. Here’s why you can’t let that happen, and what you can do to keep a creative brief in play. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Evan R., who asks, “A project just got kicked off at work, but the product manager didn’t fill out a brief. Is that common?”
Let’s quickly take a step back and go over what a creative brief is and when you use it. A creative brief is a template document that lets you collect all relevant information about an upcoming project.
It’s usually completed by the person kicking off a project, though sometimes, if you have a client that isn’t familiar with them, you might fill it out together.
The key pieces of information in a creative brief boil down to what the project is, the objective of the project, the benefit for the consumer, information about the consumer, and what action you want the consumer to take.
The problem is that some clients and project/product managers don’t like to use them and try to have kick-offs without them.
Why? Generally, it’s for one of two reasons. Sometimes people don’t like to use them just because they don’t know how. They’re uncomfortable doing something new, so they just avoid it.
The other reason Is that they don’t understand the creative brief’s purpose, so they view it as an unnecessary, time-consuming step.
So let’s get into why they’re so important, what you can convey to the people who don’t want to write them, and why you have to push for them if you don’t.
Simply put, a creative brief keeps everyone on the same page. (Pardon the pun.) It makes objectives, strategy, and deliverables clear to all parties and, because it’s all written out, it ensures that everyone agrees and knows what to expect.
Also, incidentally, it covers everyone’s butts. If you deliver on the brief, but the product manager changes his mind later, you still delivered on what was asked for. And, by that same token, if the product manager asked for something in the brief that you didn’t deliver on, he has proof that he did his job.
A creative brief is key to producing work that meets the project objectives. It also helps prevent endless rounds of revisions. It may not always be comfortable to insist on a creative brief—and sometimes, with small business clients, you may just have to fill them out on your own and get their agreement—but they’re crucial to doing good work.
Your turn! Have you ever had to (gently!) push back to get someone to fill out a creative brief? What happened? Let us know in the comments below!