Writing a creative brief

Part of running a successful business is knowing when to outsource. Graphic design, creative marketing ideation and copywriting/content development are all specialised skillsets that often require purpose-built software. If you have a project that requires one of these skills, it’s often worth outsourcing to a specialist to ensure the result is of professional quality.

The key to effective project outsourcing is good communication. In the digital marketing industry, briefs are the tools which are used to communicate the project’s objectives. These short guides are usually no more than a few pages but provide a clear structure and outline of the goals, messaging, challenges etc.

Here are the five elements you should include in a brief.

1. Your brand statement (1–2 sentences)

This is your brand’s elevator pitch it should cover what you do, who you do it for, and what makes your brand unique.

2. Project background (100 words max)

This is where you explain your brand’s mission as well as how the creative project came about and how it fits in with that mission.

3. Your challenge and your goal (100 words max)

This is where you answer the question ‘What is the problem and how will this project fix it?’. Outline a challenge you are facing in your business and what you are aiming to gain from the project. Splitting this section up into challenges and objectives can sometimes make the process easier.

4. Describe your target audience (150 words max)

Who does your brand exist for? How old are they? Where do they live? What motivates them? What compels them to visit your store or seek your services? You want to paint a picture of your ideal customer and how the project will draw the customer to your business.

5. Provide a competitor analysis (200 words max)

This not only helps to define where your business sits in the industry, it will also help you refine what you do and don’t want from the project. A competitor analysis usually audits three or more competitors based on their marketing, design, content or website. Analysing how a competitor has or hasn’t succeeded will help you better articulate the specifics of what your business does and does not need.

A few final tips

  • Include links to your website and social media.
  • If you have a pre-existing brand style guide, include it with your brief.
  • Many creative marketing industry professionals accept freelance work on a project-by-project basis. Freelancer platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr or Freelancer.com are good places to start if you are looking to hire a creative freelancer.

Disclaimer: Council is not affiliated with any of the providers listed here. It is your responsibility to do due diligence and research the options and select the ones that best meet your business needs.

Last updated 30 March 2021