By Meral Kazmi, Creative Strategist at Smart IS International
A major challenge for most strategists or creative resources is to get the most material out of a marketing brief. Unfortunately, it is one of the most crucial parts of a marketing or creative campaign; so here are some helpful ways to effectively construe a creative brief!
This cannot be emphasized enough: Ask a lot of questions! There are many video essays and seminars online on the etiquette of interviews that show how to ask questions in a professional environment. While there is nothing shameful about asking questions, we also need to be tactful and try to get the most out of each answer. Be respectful and not overpowering—after a certain point your client could get annoyed by too many questions, so be creative with the questions!
Always be prepared with material to note down each and every piece of information shared. Whether your meeting takes place telephonically, in person, or online; make sure you have your notepad with you to write everything down. Additionally, asking the client if the brief can be recorded will ensure that no piece of information is left out—remember to take permission first! Ensure that while it's readable, you do not miss out on any information. Write in a language or form that is easily understandable to you when you later read through your notes to start your work.
There may be times when a client may leave a lot of room for the strategist to work or may not be able to put their exact vision into words. Depending on the client and the nature of the project, even if you have room to ask questions and get clarity during or after the brief, a questionnaire for yourself will be helpful in effectively collecting the information you will need. Divide it into however many categories you deem necessary. Some ideas are logo inspiration, color inspiration, stylistic inspiration, brand vision/ideology, tone of voice, typography inspiration, art movement, target audience, and any additional information.
An additional step that greatly helps when it’s time to work on the design, is to highlight keywords to summarize your notes. Keywords will help memorize important aspects of the brief which will help with design ideas as work progresses.
With so many talented experts across various design platforms, it is best to utilize those platforms by taking inspiration. See what other designers are working on, what fonts are popular, and what color palettes are trending. There is a lot of inspiration that can be taken to help drive your own creativity- bearing in mind that there is a fine line between taking inspiration and copying. Something that I do personally that really helps give me a direction, is also ask the client if they have any creative reference in mind, whether it’s a website, a logo, or a post. It gives direct insight into what is going on in the clients’ minds.
Each client is different, as is each brief; as long as, you are prepared with the right mindset and the right tools, not only will you enjoy the process, but you will have fewer hurdles along the way!