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For teams involved in creative industries, such as those in marketing, PR, design or any number of digital fields, a creative brief is an essential reference point held in high reverence by everyone involved. A typical answer to many questions on what should or shouldn’t be done can be summed up as: “If it’s on the creative brief do it, if it’s not don’t”.

As such, the creative brief will have a massive impact on how the project progresses, so one would imagine that all creative brief templates are fine-tuned examples of planning excellence. Well, unfortunately that’s not always the case, either because the importance of the document isn’t understood, or the capability isn’t there to create a creative brief template that will easily produce replicable results and consistent standards throughout the organization.

For whatever reason you feel that your creative brief template could do with some improving, follow these tips to make sure you’re getting it right every time.

Background

This section should give an overview of who the client is and their industry, you can include previous work that may have been done with them or similar production by competitors to give an idea of the general feel of what’s required. You should also briefly add the current state of play for the client organization.

Objective of Project/Campaign

This can contain two parts, the problem and the solution. The “Problem” section will outline the business case for why the project needs to happen and why the issue matters to the client organization. The “Solution” will outline what the project hopes to achieve and its objectives. Of course, if the problem/solution terminology doesn’t fit for your particular project you can just describe the “Objectives” here.

Project deliverables

This part of the creative brief will require input of the specific tasks that you and your team will be expected to create. It should break down the objectives into relevant deliverables, this can also fit into your own work breakdown structure to make the project more transparent and easier for stakeholders to monitor.

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It is a two-way street however, as, with growing skills shortages and the likely exodus of hundreds of thousands of EU citizens employed by UK business and public service, the country is likely to face huge labor shortages in the near future which threaten to derail its current high economic performance.

Specific details

This part will outline the key notes from the client that should not be forgotten, such as specific colors to be used, phrases to be included or avoided or design styles to be incorporated. Every client is different, and it is important for them to stand out and differentiate themselves from their competitors so understanding and making use of these specific details are important for creating trust between you and the client and also for the success of the project itself.

Timeline

One of the most important areas to agree on and to make clearly visible is the timeline expected for the project. This will work as a reference point both for your team and the client and is one of the major necessary sign-offs when an agreement is being reached.

Responsible parties

Depending on how large the project is, this section should set out who the responsible members are both on your side and the client’s. For small projects this may just be you and their relevant manager but for larger projects each team lead involved may need to be mentioned.