Brands Need To Adopt A Two-Way Creative Brief

Jillian FloresSeptember 12, 20184393 min

Two-way conversations start with two-way briefs. Unless you want to talk to yourself.

The creative brief was invented in the 1950s as a tool that acted as a contract between creative agencies and clients. But, it was also meant to be a source of direction and inspiration for communication surrounding a new project.

The purpose of the brief was to articulate information clearly and collectively across roles and departments. Most marketers place their briefs into templates that typically ask questions such as:

  • What is the main goal?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the one key message the team should portray?

It was developed in a time where one-way messaging was the most prevalent form of communication. Through the years, as deadlines became shorter, the brief seemed to become longer and less thoughtful.

Marketers began to take context and creative freedom out of the brief. People forgot the creative brief is a tool and instead condemned it to being a form.

A tool has a time and place, it’s used with intent.

A tool leaves room for evolution, fluidity and adaptation depending on context.

The communication opportunities of today have far surpassed the one-way messaging marketers used to rely on. Simply consider that in 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world.

It shattered the barrier between brand and consumer.

Consumers can now talk to brands; brands can (and should) talk with consumers. In our first book, The Participation Game, we explain that participation or two-way communication is the X factor to how and why consumers adopt brands.

The evolution means we need to create new tools that:

  • Organize information
  • Utilize user-generated content
  • Take into account time spent co-creating content

Brands have to be ready to understand these conversations and find their brand’s relevance within them. To help marketers think about personal conversations and how it can lead to campaigns built on participation we’re introducing a two-way brief.

The two-way brief is a system that ensures future campaigns start with a two-way mindset by building towards two-way conversation. It starts with reframing how marketers think about writing a brief and breaking these five key mistakes below, which we expand on in our book, Join The Brand.

Five Mistakes of Brief Writing:

  1. Forgetting context
  2. Focusing on ideal scenarios
  3. Dictating tactics
  4. Prescribing media
  5. Delegating messaging to influencers alone

These are easy traps to fall into, especially if the form you are filling out guides you to answer questions that beg for these types of answers. Instead, we’ve adapted the brief to be a fluid exercise.

The two-way brief is made up of four quadrants; culture, consumer, category and company. Your challenge is to understand the conversations in these spaces. The truths, the obstacles and finally, the overlap with your brand. Use the information to build to how your brand can join or start a conversation with something relevant to say.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Norty Cohen, Jillian Flores and Meggie Petersen of Moosylvania and authors of Join The Brand.

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