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While great marketing starts with a great brief, conveying everything that’s in your brain to another person or team can be trickier than you’d think! It’s not just about telling them what you need, but providing some shape around how you see it coming to life.

With over 20 years’ experience on both client and agency teams, here are my top 5 tips for creating a brief that will set your business up for success…


1. Start with the end in mind.

Define your business objectives & what you need your marketing plan to deliver or achieve. Do you want to establish a new brand in market? Attract new customers? Encourage existing customers to buy more, spend more, or buy more often? Or create a pipeline of new clients? Different business objectives will lead to fundamentally different plans and it’s critical that your whole team know what you want to achieve!

2. Articulate the role of your agency or partner: what do you want them to do?

In some instances you may just want some one-off advice, strategic direction or support with a launch, event or activity, or you may need them to support you through every step of the process, from creating a business name & brand identity to advertising in market. Manage expectations up front by considering what’s in scope and out of scope, whether you are happy for them to be creative and think outside the square or would prefer them to implement your vision for the brand.

3. Be clear on your key message.

What does your brand stand for and how do you want to be known in the market? Before you even start talking about your creative vision, what is your unique selling proposition (USP), what will make people choose your brand or business over another… and what is the functional or emotional benefit you offer to consumers?Be realistic about what you offer, how it will add value for your customers and the reasons to support this (proven results, testimonials from happy customers, expert endorsement, product claims etc) to give them confidence that it will deliver.

4. Bring your brief to life!

Share your story, business strategy, brand guidelines or mood board. If you’re launching a product for children, hold the brief in a café next to a park, include products from parents about the problem your product will solve, explain your vision, your story or what’s driving the business, think about how you can create some engagement to really help them understand what you’re trying to achieve and put them in your ideal customer’s shoes. While it may feel contrived, you’ve been working on or thinking about your brand for a long time, and this is a great way to get other people up to speed quickly.

5. Once you’ve briefed it in, listen, and I mean really listen to any questions – if your agency aren’t clear then your customers won’t be either.

This is the right time to clarify your objectives and tighten your messaging before it goes to market. As Kevin Hart said “Give your team the opportunity to be your team” while you may need to revise and refine what comes back, you’ve engaged experts for a reason! Considering their feedback & advice and building plans together won’t just save you time, it will save you money!

While it may take a little more time upfront, crafting a strong brief will pay dividends for many years to come, building your brand and growing your business. By establishing a clear, professional approach, you’ll have more than just a good working relationship with industry experts, you’ll create true champions for your brand within and outside the industry!