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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

7 steps to (briefing) heaven

Don't let your campaign get off to a false start. These seven steps will help you write a creative brief with clarity.

Writing a good creative brief is vital because one person's elderly woman with a walking aid is another's old girl with a stick… and yet another's limping Granny Smith. The human mind is a brilliant curiosity, but clarity is required when communicating with creatives who will be tasked with interpreting your brand's essence to develop a robust strategy, whether by advertising, digital, or another media. A robust planning process will help you achieve this and ultimately produce the share of mind you desire. 

1. SET THE SCENE

An agency may have great experience in your therapy area but make sure you provide enough information about the product and its market. This includes market research undertaken in the past 12 months, current or previous brand materials (best to stick with those used within the past six months), plus existing assets, such as brand guidelines. 

2. EXPLAIN YOU AIMS

Great creative work can add hugely to the success of your overall marketing strategy, but won't work optimally without clear goals. You may wish to increase market share, establish long-term growth, boost sales, create an inspiring environment, sell a new idea, change thinking, or elicit audience information. Whatever it is, tell the agency. 

3. DEPICT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE(S)

Agencies can often use information on primary, secondary and tertiary audiences to develop your brand. Provide any summaries of audience profiling and again be clear about your objective. Is it to consolidate an existing client base or to appeal to new markets? Demographics (age, sex, income, occupation, location) are also key deciding factors. Your agency, like you, will need to know the target audience like a close friend.

4. PICTURE THE VIEW

Provide the agency with your thoughts on effective or relevant design examples so they build up an idea of what you think works well. Professional designers will not copy these ideas, but may get inspired. Include samples of your current marketing materials, even if only to explain what you don't want!

5. TONE, STYLE AND LANGUAGE 

Using clear, concise and engaging language to emphasise exactly what you are trying to achieve will, in turn, help the creative agency develop an appropriate tone and style. Your agency will find the right means of conveying the messages, but before they can do so, you need to be clear about the approach you  are looking for them to take. And what, for example, distinguishes your brand from those of your competitors.

6. BALLPARK BUDGETS AND DEFINITIVE DEADLINES

While a ballpark budget can be an acceptable starting point at this stage, consider deadlines more carefully. Is there a specific date to be hit, such as a conference?

7. CONSULT WITH COLLEAGUES

Run your brief by as many people as possible and you may be surprised at the differences of opinion. Holding these discussions now can flag up how differently each of us perceives things, which will help to prevent problems with targeting and messages later, saving you time and money further down the line.

QUICK CHECKLIST 

Types of questions your creative agency will seek to answer

Do you have crystal clear answers to these questions?

Defined

Clarify

What are we trying to do, and why?



Who, specifically, are we talking to?



What is the audience currently thinking: a) rationally and b) emotionally?



What challenges are we trying to overcome?



What is the SNI (Single Net Impression)?



Why should our audience believe?



What should be the tone and style of the communication?



What brand essence should the communication reflect?




Article by
Zuleika Burnett and Stephen Page

creative director and managing director at EuroRSCG Life Medicom. They can be contacted at zburnett@medicomgroup.com or spage@medicomgroup.com, or on +44 (0)20 8481 8100

25th November 2011

From: Marketing

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