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5 Ways a Great Creative Brief Makes Everything Better (& Saves You Money)

Are you frustrated with the quality of marketing creative you’re getting from your team or freelancers? Have you tried different people, only to find things still aren’t on point? Well, my friend, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not them—it’s you.

If your way of assigning a project is to stop by someone’s desk for a two-minute conversation, or dash off an email with a few bullet points of instructions, you’re doing it wrong. You’re putting so little effort into the upfront strategy and direction of the project, yet expecting miraculous, on-target execution. Doesn’t work like that.

Here are 5 ways a great brief will save your skin and keep you (and your creative team) happy.

1. The more effort you put in upfront, the better the creative output.

A good creative brief will yield better creative, period. Creative people only know what you tell them. The less you tell them, the more they have to guess at what they’re doing. This is especially crucial when you’re working with freelancers or contractors.

Spend the time to craft a detailed, thoughtful creative brief that clearly outlines the project needs, objective, audience, background and any other important supporting information. It’s your job to do this; it’s not their job to figure it out. Better info now means less confusion and fewer revisions down the road.

2. Everyone starts off on the same page.

Maybe you talk to different members of the creative team at random times. Maybe you only talked to one person and they have to relay your information to the rest of the team. Maybe the creative team is dealing with multiple people involved on the project giving contradictory instructions and feedback.

The lack of a creative brief creates chaos and frustration for everyone involved. Kicking off every project with a single brief (created with contribution from all stakeholders), ensures everyone involved understands the project scope and has all of the same information.

3. It streamlines the process.

Having everyone submitting projects willy-nilly is silly. By creating a defined creative brief—or a few different ones for frequent project types that have special instructions—you establish a consistent process that makes it faster for people to create briefs and easier for your creative team to get started. And it saves you money. Less churn due to missing information means your people resources can get more done.

4. Important questions get raised early.

When you’re throwing out projects on the fly, you’re not putting a lot of thought into the full scope and needs of the project. By sitting down and writing a brief, it forces you to think out the project from beginning to end, which may reveal some important questions or kinks that need to be worked out before you actually turn in the brief.

On the flip side, once you’ve given the brief to your team, THEY may have some additional questions or see some potential issues that could arise. Catching these things as early as possible will save you a big headache down the road.

5. Your creative team is happy.

Never underscore the importance of keeping your creative team happy. It’s sort of the running joke that creative are emotional, temperamental people. That’s not always true. But if you were constantly on the receiving end of poor instruction and the bad feedback that will inevitably come as a result, you’d be a bit grumpy, too.

Creative people don’t like working in a place that doesn’t value their time. Eventually, you’ll see a lot of turnover in your team that will send you scrambling to spend money on freelancers while you hunt for a new designer or copywriter. Happy creatives stay where they are. And creatives are happy when they get good briefs.

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