What does a modern creative brief look like?

Take a look at this Master Client Planning Brief Template It comes from a top international agency – and drifted across our desk in the line of duty.

Call out the bullshit.  This is not good marketing agency business practice.

They asked the client to complete the brief for them.

I understand that ‘cover your ass’ corporates may encourage  these practices but how will this improve client retention? Or client service?

Who on earth is going to agree to that?

What a creative brief should look like

Working with CAS we pitch you an idea which should be aligned to your brand strategy and then we suggest ways we’d like to execute.  You edit / approve but we do most of the thinking and the doing for you.

You are busy – you hire an agency for their expertise and experience and probably to save yourself time.  Surely this could be managed more smoothly?

Call out bad practices – We got the courage to write this post because of these two influential folks below.  Take a stand for good work, honest appraisals and don’t allow bollocks into your working practices.

There, we’ve said it.  Weight off chest.

  • @DannyBrown says “When I realized this, and began writing openly about bad practices and calling out bullshit, it once again raised the level of engagement through the roof, as others were clearly thinking the same thing.”
  • Guy Kawasaki “Unfortunately, “social media experts” cause a lot of confusion and frustration with their Fascist recommendations. It starts with their recommendation that you absolutely must first create a strategy with goals, milestones, and expected results that you can follow, step-by-step, to success. “

What is a good creative brief?

But what should be on a brief if you are producing an integrated campaign that works across platforms?

Edward Boches says

I think the brief ought to start with the problem that we’re trying to solve.

The problem, by the way, may not be an advertising problem. It’s what kind of problem are we trying to solve that would make our brand of more value to this consumer?

I think the second thing it has to address is the use of media, technology, content, and community by the users, customers, or target audience or community members. Thinking about how somebody interacts with stuff beyond just the brand and the category is really important. I would actually go so far as to have every brief basically say, “You can’t solve this problem with an ad. You have to solve this problem with an idea that isn’t an ad.”

Then you get to invent this idea or creative that might be worth advertising, right? I think another way to look at it is to really figure out the problem behind the problem. The problem can’t be, “Oh, we want know about this product.” The problem might be, “Well, what problem do these people actually have that we could solve?” And maybe solving it and actually doing something of value in the world of social media, etc., might be the reason that gets them to pay attention to us and might turn them on to the product we want them to know about. That’s almost coming at it from an extreme perspective in order to fight the inclination to solve problems with a TV commercial.

Broadening the reach of marketing

How do you deal with people who aren’t interested in learning more beyond their narrow specialization?  When a TV advert is the ONLY soution; or social media or direct mail?  Agencies need to be able to work across media platforms, to be collaborative and not stand on their high horse of ‘expertise’ when client brands ask them to work with other agencies on the account.

Nobody, but nobody is a leading edge specialist in everything nowadays.

Boches again

Here’s the downside of that. If you’re not aware of the capabilities of technology and APIs and certain platforms, you may never think up the idea to begin with.

So how will advertising change?

Many of these things are in some ways like the antithesis to how advertising works, where we make our stuff so precious and we want it to be perfect and magnificently designed, and then we’ve got to produce it and then we put it out into the marketplace. That long, linear process might lead to something that’s gorgeous and finished, but it’s not always the best. In a world where things change daily and things are disposable more quickly, it’s not always the best way to do things. I think we’re going to see more convergence among and between marketing, advertising, and software and gaming-type companies over the next five years.

What next?

If you’re an agency – take a look at how you take briefs from clients.

If you’re a brand – don’t stand for any nonsense, if you want to brief the old way – carry on.  If you want a collaborative business partner who will work WITH you to help solve marketing problems, change your suppliers until you find one who CAN do what you need and work the way you prefer.

Read our recommended briefing template and download the word document for you to use.

Best Practice email signup form: PSFK

Nice information ask here from trend spotters, PSFK.

They call it ‘need to know’ – I hope they do.

It includes a request for twitter id – first time I’ve seen that on an email newsletter sign up form. Interesting that they choose to put it so high up – under your name – the second field to complete.

 

 

 

Pay-with-a-tweet: helpful content marketing tool

Are you a business that gives away your content free (as we do)?

Pay With a Tweet

Want to get some reciprocal publicity from your work?

Take a look at Pay with a Tweet from the creative folks at Innovative Thunder

We got a free download e book from Naked Marketing Manifesto

They got promoted using our twitter account

Symbiosis and ‘payback’ all in one!

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Infographics used for business development

Former client, Ctrl-Shift, is a strategy consultancy focusing on personal data and its use online.

They realised that the landscape of personal data availability online has changed hugely in a very short time and despite hysterical outcries about Facebook privacy settings, it is an important area that both brands and consumers should be knowledgable about.

Their concept of “personal data stores” is a really interesting concept that is being built out – imagine you, the consumer, setting the ‘terms and conditions’ for a brand to access your personal information?

It’s called Vendor Relationship Management read more here and here.

But see their great Personal Data infographic published in full with a brief snapshot below showing the 2012 situation…it describes the landscape for legislation, technology, entrepreneurs, corporates and consumers and looks forward in scenarios for each to 2017.

Ctrl-Shift the Personal Data Landscape future

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How to write an awesome creative brief

Getting fabulous creative work from your marketing agency depends on the brand team giving the best possible brief to set up the work.  Writing down what you want from your campaign and collaborating with the agency to agree the full terms of reference for the work you are commissioning is of the utmost importance.

You may be finding a new marketing agency to work with or briefing in new campaigns for your existing agency.

Both require communication of the utmost clarity.

And so whether you are a brand who uses agencies; a brand who has an internal marketing department or an agency wanting to use best practice with your brand clients, here are two slide decks and a blog post which will help you to write the best possible creative brief.

Thanks to Dare who created this slide deck as a training event for their internal staff.

Creative Brief Workshop

View more presentations from Nick Emmel

How to write the brief

Putting pen to paper and getting the desired outcomes by describing accurately what you want to happen from the campaign is where this second slide deck is useful.It starts with a template form which requires answers to these statements and questions
  • Brand Proposition – what is it?
  • What do we want to achieve?
  • What is the one key insight?
  • What do we want  people to do?
  • How should we tell them?
  • Why would they?

In the deck the authors show good, mediocre and poor ways

How To Write A Creative Brief, by True Digital

View more presentations from True

B2B marketing briefing rules are different

Why is Business to business marketing different from business to consumer?  Well the main reason is that although a business is staffed by people (who may be consumers) the language and method of selling by one business to another is not the same.
And so we have found you a B2B example of how to write a brief. Make sure you read the comments below the post as they are also informative.

Marketing using Business Christmas Cards

Corporate greeting cards can be used in many ways to promote your business and to show appreciation to supportive clients; some traditional and some a bit more creative. However, there are some rules and tips you should keep in mind to get the best return on your investment of sending out a Business Christmas card:

1. Procedure/mailing list

Make sure you keep your company contact information up-to-date on a regular basis and take your time to add new contacts you gain throughout the year.

A good way to control if your contact details are up to date is by including your return address so that the post office will return the card if the address is no longer valid. It will also serve a dual purpose by providing your contact information to your recipients.

2. Timing is everything

Don’t send your cards late, set yourself a deadline. December 15th is a convenient cut-off date for having your cards in the mail. If you’re sending business Christmas cards internationally, they’ll have to be in the mail much sooner. Here are some helpful links for recommended Christmas mailing deadlines: NZ Post, AUS Post, Royal Mail, USPS, Canada Post. If your Christmas card arrives after the holidays, you have just sent the wrong message to your customers. Read more

Top 10 must-read Business Development Blogs

If you are in business development, it’s important to stay connected to the buzz in the marketplace.  One of the hard things is to find a single place to gather all your news sources.  Biz dev can be written about in marketing magazines,  books, industry magazines, online in blogs and forums.  It’s a disparate subject and isn’t easy to collate for easy consumption.

I find two main sources helpful – Twitter and RSS feeds.  If you aren’t using a feed reader, it is really useful because it gathers all your RSS sources into one place.  Consider trying out Google Reader or Feedly.

Today I publish the ones I read most often

  1. Fuel Lines
  2. B2B Lead Generation
  3. Social Media B2B
  4. Creative Brief
  5. RSW
  6. Alchemis New Business
  7. Blowin’ in the Tradewind
  8. Digital Body Language
  9. BL Ochman’s Blog
  10. Web Liquid

I should add that the last couple are more about internet marketing but they often give me great ideas for campaigns and articles to write for CreativeAgencySecrets.

Any more biz dev blogs I should be reading?  Send over your suggestions.

The Top 6 most popular articles of all time

How to make inbound enquiries work for you

One of the nicest things about getting your biz dev working well is when inbound enquiries start to come to the business.

I am working with Websters , a niche chartered accountancy practice specialising in service charge accounting.  They have worked hard on a new website and blog as well as some collateral and internal management structures to support business development.

Websters aren't yet ready for the big formal launch event for the site and while it's broadly complete, we are continuing to use it and improve some of the features.  

And so I am surprised and delighted to find that people are signing up to receive their newsletter, the RSS feed and printed brochureware about the business.

Setting up the fields

When I set up the fields for the enquiry form  I originally thought that a simple Name, Email, Company name and country would suffice. 

But I was surprised by the number of folk who want to receive information about the Websters company.

This leaves them with a choice – send electronic information or print.  But for print we need a postal address.  This gave me an idea….

Rather than change the form to include postal address information, why not just research them online and phone them up. This is good becausse

  1. you can find out if they are a real person
  2. you can ask them if they prefer print or emailed information (customer chooses)
  3. you can do a bit of"digging research" into their organisation for your database
  4. you can ask them straight out if they want to have a credentials presentation or chemistry meeting
  5. you can make a fair assessment of whether they are a prospect and at what stage of the pipeline.

Hooray – i know what we'll do – a targeted phone calling session.

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