One brief. Two approaches.

I recently attended a talk given by James Hutchin on the subject of funding new innovations and start-ups. He was assisted by a guest panel of Venture Investment and Private Equity specialists.
While it was a great talk, the subject of this article is in reference to a slide Jim put up during the lecture (see below).
It’s a simple chart illustrating the different approach of how academics usually digest information, compared to how investors absorb it .

So what’s this got to do with advertising? Well, I think it also clearly illustrates how different disciplines and departments within an ad agency approach a brief.

A creative briefing is an interesting thing to observe in an ad agency.
The account management people and/or planners will sit down with the creative team. They’ll have the intention of following a particular order: perhaps a little background of the business, the business challenge or opportunity, then the proposition (main point), followed by some support points, deliverables, mandatories, timings and budget. (This closely resembles the left side of Jim’s chart)
However, watch the creative team if they’re handed the brief to read (sometimes the account person or planner will withhold it until the end because they know how it usually plays out).
The creative team will go straight to the proposition, then the proof points, then the other stuff (i.e. the right side of Jim’s chart)

Why do they do this? Well, that’s because the creative team is digesting it in the same way a customer would (the customer can be thought of as an ‘investor’ because we’re going to be asking them to invest money or time, or both).
When a customer sees an ad,  they quickly assess:
What are you telling me ? (main point / proposition)
Why should I care? (details / support points)

It seems obvious, but when writing a brief or planning any sort of brand communications, sometimes we need to be reminded of this.
If our ads resemble the left-hand side of the chart, we end up talking to ourselves rather than our customers, or we have to spend so much time getting to the point, we’ve lost them before we get there.

One response to “One brief. Two approaches.

  1. Pingback: The 4 most common mistakes in creative briefs |

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