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When the brief is too brief – 4 additions for your template

Not all campaigns will be successful, but not having a brief, or having one that is “too brief”  definitely increases the likelihood of failure.

The Brief is one of the most important stages of the marketing process, and yet many clients fail to see it’s importance, and either ignore it all together or pass this responsibility to the agency.  Agency created briefs or “reverse briefs”  can work well where the client / agency understand each other well, but there should still be some kind of approval step so that clarity of scope is understood.

briefMost agencies have a standard brief format which may vary slightly by media channel and should include at a minimum these sections

What are we delivering?

This describes what it is that is being built – i.e. Website, design document, TV commercial, Research etc

Who is the Primary Audience(s)

Clients of large brands usually have an abundance of material, which can often lead to the wrong execution.

Being specific is important.   “30-45 year old men“, doesn’t provide the same brief as “30-45 year old single dads who are tech savy”

Tone and Image:

Describing how formal, informal, whether humour is acceptable and to what levels is a lot cheaper to fix here than after design concepts have been delivered.

Message to be communicated

That is, the Benefits, Features, Product / Service Value.

Budget and Schedule:

What is the investment, and timing

Process for delivering the work

How the work will happen

Social Media can often amplify the effectiveness of good campaigns, and potentially even result in a Social Media crisis.

Many agencies haven’t embraced social media, and therefore struggle to provide solid recommendations on how to leverage this conversational media.

So I thought I’d share four sections that I think should be incorporated into standard brief templates.

Clear calls to action

Whether it’s a print ad, sms message or a banner ad, planning what you want the audience to do with your message is often underdone.

Not everyone will respond to the message in the same way.

Who are the Influencers?

Right underneath the section describing the audience, should include some commentary on the key influencer’s both offline and online.

I’m not suggesting that you need to find these influencers, but knowledge of their behaviour,  their needs and what motivates them is vital to being able to engage and then amplify the marketing message

How many positive conversations will this campaign deliver?

Answering this question will often change the actual execution of the campaign, because it’s not only about the buzz or volume of conversations, it’s the generation of positive comments across a range of online and offline channels.  Making it easy for people to share your message is a key component.  Sometimes it’s possible to integrate the sharing of the message with a value proposition.

How will we measure this campaign?

Finally, one of the most overlooked sections of a brief is to articulate the way the campaign will be measured.

Whilst digital agencies tend to focus on web traffic, or new email subscribers, there are an increasing array of ways to value the impact of marketing spend.  Monitoring the volume and sentiment of conversations can help provide insight into what works best for the segment you are targetting.  Wheteher to use unique identifiers to track the spread of information material is best considered at the brief stage.

Whilst briefs are meant to be brief, incorporating these sections into your brief template will improve the return on your marketing investment as well as an ability to capture learnings.

Here’s a comical look at how a brief can go horribly wrong

Social Media – Finding your voice

Often one of the hardest challenge of engaging with Social Media is to find your voice.

It often involves trial and error as well as feedback from trusted friends.

This week I gave a presentation to the Future Leaders meeting in Sydney and as well as providing insight into what Social Media is, I talked through the process for getting engaged and identifying your niche.

Seven Eleven’s cool iphone app with coupons

7-Eleven in Sweden has released an iPhone app, that no only includes a 7/11 store locator, but also includes coupons for free coffee and biscuits.  Users key in their phone number and then the unique coupons (that are only valide once) are delivered to the iPhone.  April’s free coffee coupons will be followed by free ice cream in May.


Stockholm-based digital agency Lonely Duck developed the application and it had 2500 downloads in it’s first week.

This is a great example of where a branded application provides value both in terms of the mapping function, but also via the mobile coupons.

via Springwise

Facebook in Australia now 5.5 million

I still recall presenting the Facebook Australian population at 4.3 million around the middle of 2008.aust-facebook-stats-may2009

It’s now surpassed 5 million which means that more than 1 in 3 of Australia’s online population is on Facebook.

This is quite compelling, and its not wonder that brands and organisations are starting to allocate marketing spend to reaching this audience.

The challenge of course is that social networks don’t respond well to interruption marketing.

Social Media Marketing is growing as a niche form of marketing and whilst it’s still quite a new service,  it’s pleasing to see increasing demand as well as a willingness to embrace the changing communication protocols that social media requires.

Facebook stats from Checkfacebook

Here’s the Facebook population of the top 10 countries

1. United States 60,271,820
2. United Kingdom 17,983,160
3. Canada 11,352,400
4. Turkey 9,493,840
5. Italy 9,386,960
6. France 9,360,720
7. Australia 5,489,240
8. Colombia 4,605,260
9. Chile 4,558,560
10. Spain 4,478,380