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The 10 best strategic business slides of all time: #10 — The Creative Brief


In the tenth and final post in this series, Nigel Malone shares the contents of another of his favourite business keynote slides, drawn from a cross-section of sources that includes some of the great business, brand and military planners of all time.

Also in this series:

Favourite Slide #10: The Creative Brief

The Creative Brief

In Jon Steel’s best–selling book, Truth, Lies and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning, he refers to the role of the advertising strategic planner — someone that has the ability to translate and interpret for three different alien species: the client, the consumer and the creatives.

Many a client has told me the creative process is foreign to them, and they don’t really understand how ‘creative people’ do what they do. By the same token, many creatives, to their detriment, fail to understand the consumer and prefer to operate in an artistic vacuum. And if some clients pitched their wares directly to the consumer, well they’d lose interest pretty quickly.

So it follows that the job of the advertising strategist, my job, is to get all three aliens speaking the same language. But you don’t actually need me to do that. That’s why the creative brief was developed. There are lots of templates you can work with, but (care of Jon Steel) here’s the simplest and easiest to complete. Regardless of whether you are a client, creative or consumer, it’s guaranteed to get you on the same page.

Why are we doing this?

A question for the client to explain the current state of their business, their offering and all relevant context. I’d recommend you use my hedgehog concept slide, values slide and any number of SWOT tools to help you complete this question.

What is the message?

Once an agency or creative team has the context, the agency and client can together determine what the key messages will be. Ideally, the messaging will be based on a legitimate consumer need and differentiate from the competition. I recommend you consider my message development and positioning slides in answering this question.

Who are we talking to?

This is a question primarily for, but not limited to, the client. Often an agency or strategist can reinterpret the client offering and open up an entirely new audience. Mostly, however, this is about the client defining who they intend to target. Don’t forget to consider my buying roles slide.

What do we know about them?

Again the client will likely have insight on this question, but the agency should conduct independent research on the audience(s) in order to form a detailed profile on them — and completely understand their nuances and needs. Think about where, if at all, your target audiences sit in the sales funnel.

How is the best way to send the message?

This is the fun part… the late nights and head-scratching an agency goes through in formulating their strategic and creative solution… the anticipation a client has before the creative presentation… the satisfaction of both agency and client when the sales start flowing. For insight into what goes on behind the scenes, I suggest you read my creative development, competition and integrated communication slides.

Nigel Malone is a freelance brand strategist and writer, with particular expertise in the fields of tourism, finance, technology, sustainability and social change. Connect with him on Linkedin http://au.linkedin.com/in/nigelmalone