How a creative brief sets you up for success

How can you communicate with your creative team in a way that they understand?

How a creative brief sets you up for success
One of the hardest things we do, as humans, is try and communicate what is going on in our minds to each other. Matt Blewitt, Tools for a Culture of Writing

Q: Who is this meant for?

A: Founders of an up-and-coming brand, Creative Directors, Art Directors, or people who lead business and creative operations.

Q: Why is taking the time to do this process worth it?

A: By putting in all the hard work upfront, you will receive content that resonates with your audience in the end.

Communication is king

How can you communicate with your creative team so that they know exactly:

1. What you want

2. How you want it

3. When you need it

4. What you hope to walk away with

The information you share in a creative proposal is like a low-resolution photocopy of what you want.

It gives your creative team a rough idea of what you want, but it's often not enough information to fully plan the production and deliver what you actually need.

If you want your creative investment to bring the results you need, you'll need to bring that photocopy into sharper view. That way, everybody can be on the same page, understanding a shared vision.

Sharpening that vision will allow the creative team to point out any red flags and prioritize content before you even book a studio and models.

Where The Creative Brief Comes In

Building a creative brief is like turning a napkin sketch into a well-thought-out plan for the next stage.

Your creative team will need to articulate your vision, map it to their technical, time, and team needs, and reflect a framework that clearly communicates the results you are looking for.

You'd then have a chance to say, "Yes, this is our goal." or "Wait, this needs to change."

The idea is to catch any creative/logistical hiccups BEFORE shooting.

The Discovery Process

To map out your framework, your creative team should go through a discovery process. Participants might include the art director, creative director, strategist, merchandisers, stylists, prop stylists, set builders, producers, and even founders.

In this process, the creative team's job is to help you flesh out your vision and discuss limitations.

You'll cover topics like:

  • Business objectives
  • Creative direction
  • Brand guidelines
  • Number of products, shots, or looks
  • Styling requirements
  • Delivery requirements
  • How often you want to refresh your content

The team should then summarize the discussion, analyze the time, location, and technical requirements, and solidify the creative vision.

The summary of this discovery process becomes the Creative Brief, the road map or game plan for the creative work. The road map is the foundation for a successful shoot or production.

A Creative Brief lays the groundwork for getting what you want out of a creative project.

What Happens Without A Discovery Session Or Creative Brief?

Crap in = crap out.

Without quality inputs and a clear vision, the outputs will not be top quality.
You will lose out by shortchanging or bypassing the discovery process, and you risk one of the following results:

Scenario A: You don't get what you want because the team struggles to get through the day. Time is wasted, and shots are missed.

Scenario B: You get what you want, but the process takes more time and money and requires a lot of back and forth and stress before, during, and after the shoot.

Trust The Process

Any photographer or videographer you hire should sit down with your team for a discovery session. This is where you translate your ideas so the photographer or videographer can bring them to life and create content that elevates your brand in the eyes of your customers.

The discovery process is an excellent exercise to strengthen everyone's creative muscles and get on the same page. This process also provides the road map for a smooth production and hand-off, helping to prevent potential misunderstandings, saving you time, and inspiring great work.

The Creative Brief captures the ideas that arise during the discovery process. It can be as simple as bullet points or as comprehensive as a deck designed to inspire the creative team to achieve great things.

Both are valid, and the level of the Creative Brief depends on what you're doing and what you want to invest, meaning time and money.

Your results are only as good as your input and planning. When planning is collaborative, we can get even more creative with the content we deliver.