Let's keep this 'on brief'...

As an agency, our work is often only as good as our clients, or indeed as good as our clients’ briefs.

Yes, it’s our job to extract that information and ensure we’re crystal clear on our clients’ overall goals, objectives and clear KPIs however a clear and concise brief makes the whole process more structured, quicker, and gives clarity across the board.

This is especially important when it comes to new business, where context and knowledge of working processes haven’t as yet been established, and with tenders when more often than not, the most important details aren’t included within the tender document e.g. budget.

So let’s keep things simple….here’s our five points to consider when creating an agency brief:

  1. No own goals please: Outline your goals: What is this campaign trying to achieve, why are we doing this, where is the business going and how can PR / Comms play a role in achieving this. Ideally be specific with stats and research
  2. For the right brief, write it down: Create a simple document that an agency can ask questions on, refer to and cross check its response against. This brief will help to create the parameters for a campaign so it doesn’t need to be complex, but it does need to be well thought-through.
  3. Everyone loves an audience: But who is your target market? Too often when clients are asked this question, it’s ‘everyone’. But it’s not really. Clearly drill down and define your target market, the consumers who are the low hanging fruit, and whom your product or service is aimed at. Outline primary (and secondary) target audiences in the briefing document.
  4. Money talks: Please, please, please outline your campaign budget. The sky is the limit and it’s a waste of everyone’s time for the agency to generate an awesome, knock-out campaign for a five or six-figure budget when it’s not even in the ball park. We need to ensure both briefs and responses are relative. Be honest when setting a budget.
  5. Time is money: Please be realistic and respectful when it comes to deadlines. Good agencies are busy and creative hubs. New business is the life blood of any company but it takes time, and time is money. Respectful deadlines that allocate sufficient time to digest the brief, ask questions and create a response are always welcome @RNNComms. From start to finish, 3-4 weeks is ideal.

And meet the team. In the procurement model, more often than not, this isn’t possible and it’s one of our biggest frustrations. With PR & Comms, there’s many variables; one agency’s proposal will never be exactly like-for-like comparable with another’s. We’re not selling widgets, we’re in the ideas business. Sure, benchmark and score the proposals, but meet the team, hear about the ideas, see the passion.