How to be a Great Client—Part 5: Briefing Your Agency

I’ve written before on how to write a creative brief, and the important role that a brief plays in ensuring a successful campaign—but it bears elaborating in this context.

In my past posts about creative briefs, the assumption was that the agency was writing the brief, but in reality this should be a collaborative process, where the client plays a key role. Especially when the relationship is new, the client has the responsibility for providing sufficient context and relevant knowledge, so that the agency knows the right things before attempting to develop a campaign. In addition to the classic components of a creative brief, the briefing process—which may take the form of meetings, calls and/or emailed documents—should include such things as: 

–   An overview of the strategic or marketing plan that pertains to the brand in question

–   An overview of the organization as a whole—from org. charts to annual reports with financial statements

–   Key information on competitors—not just who they are but what they’re currently doing and what makes them competitive with your brand

–   Any market research you’ve conducted relative to the brand and/or category

–   Any segmentation or target audience work you’ve conducted

–   Product information—ingredients, manufacturing process, product life cycle, pricing strategies, etc.

–   Distribution—where your product is sold (retailers, geographies)

–   HR/culture—any information into your hiring and retention strategies, the cultural norms and values in your organization (because your culture has a big effect on your brand)

–   A tour of your key facilities and headquarters

–   Quality time with key personnel who are responsible for creating or delivering the product, not just the marketing team 

In other words, you want to make sure your agency really understands you, and that you’re as transparent as possible, even about your problems and issues. An agency that’s partially in the dark can’t really help you in the end, and can even make serious mistakes. A talented and trustworthy agency that’s been well briefed and is in the know—is a powerful ally to have.