Why do a Creative Brief? Get Your Free Download

October 30, 2019

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  And, we’ve got to agree. The most important part of pre-production isn’t securing expensive lighting or state of the art gear or the most talented camera crew.  It’s your creative brief. {Scroll to the bottom to get your FREE downloadable template!}

Preparation is the key to a smooth project.  And, while many of those things are integral, the foundation of a great video begins with preparation.  A creative brief is one of those ‘in-plain-sight’ secrets to exceptional production and a high-quality final product.

Though the answer is obvious, many people ignore it or dismiss it as unnecessary.  Having a cool concept or an amazing editor is fantastic, but if you don’t take the time to craft a creative brief, something is bound to fall through the cracks.

So, what is a creative brief?

Aptly named, a creative brief defines itself, a short document, typically 1-3 pages, that outlines your creative idea.  Though this concept is hardly limited to video projects, it will certainly help you with video projects.      

A good creative brief outlines the direction and goals of a project, typically used in marketing or advertising.  It’s a foundational document. And, it serves as both a vision piece and a reference document for you and your creative team.

What’s the point? Why should I make a creative brief?

Sometimes the original intention of a project shifts.  Though it’s invigorating to see an idea evolve as a project grows, it’s enormously beneficial to have a creative brief document as reference.  

How many times do you have to re-explain a concept only to end up with the telephone game effect?  Misinformation can easily warp a well thought out idea. With a creative brief, you have a reminder of original goals and needs as a creative idea develops.  

A creative brief allows you to jump into the deep end of your brainstorming process and identify what’s most valuable to you (and what is definitely not.)  The nature of a creative brief template also prompts you to think deeply and work through an idea that might not otherwise be fully fleshed out. And, this allows you and your creative team to not only anticipate challenges, but also strategically plan how you will implement the content that you create.  

It’s simple: it makes your life easier.

Though a creative brief is generally an internal document for your creative team (that’s us!), it is also an underutilized tool for you.  It allows for a more seamless collaborative process – between the creatives and the clients, so that everyone is on the same page. That way, everyone is prepared.   

A creative brief serves as your map, to guide the creative team and the client, through idea development, media strategy, and project budgets.  It addresses all the key points of a project and serves to advance your ideas while prioritizing your end goals and strategy.  

It encourages collaboration between the client (that’s you) and the creative team (that’s us) in a way that is more seamless than extended email chains.


What makes a good creative brief?

A good creative brief is thorough.  When working through it, you’ve got to be thoughtful.  That means asking questions and making clarifications if you’re misunderstood or confused.  Read each prompt carefully and endeavour to actually fill out a thoughtful answer. The more work you put in at the front end of a project will alleviate confusion and miscommunication as production progresses and the editing process begins.

The best creative brief is one that is complete. You would think this goes without saying, but we digress.  You have to actually fill out the creative brief. Completing this document in its entirety will serve as a guide to frame initial intentions when plans change or the message gets derailed.  It’s like studying for a test. If you don’t take notes the whole semester, you’re going to have to pull an all nighter and risk lousy execution. 

It also allows you to get your idea vetted.  Collaboration is a beautiful thing, in moderation.  Two heads are better than one, teamwork is key, and all that jazz.  But, sometimes you’re trying to streamline a process. Maybe your teammates don’t have the time or creative wherewithal to devote to a thoughtful idea.  

But, do not assume that your group or your higher ups will just agree with your idea.  Failing to inform that certain someone in a corner office with a few can cause serious problems.  We’ve seen it before where updates failed to occur, and suddenly a higher up thwarts creative direction, delays production time, and even kills a project altogether.  Make sure to include the key decision makers. Better safe than sorry. 

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