Brand Strategy

10 steps to writing an effective creative brief

Jaco van der Watt | May 26 2017

If you aren’t a well seasoned chef though, the more pictures and how-to tips provided, the easier the process. Think of it as a beautifully illustrated recipe for your project that not only helps the creative team, but will also help you as you shape the overall marketing strategy and goals for the project.

In this blog post, we cover all the necessary elements to include in an effective creative brief.

Creating the creative brief

1. Business Insights

The first step to writing a creative brief is to collect information and capture insights on the business and their consumers. Consumer insight will help you understand the way the target audience think and feel.

2. Summarise the project

Describe what the project is, what it entails, and why you’re doing it.

3. Objectives

The creative brief objective should always be clear and specific. Never ambiguous or overloaded.

An example of a clear objective:

“The purpose of this campaign is to position [Business Name] as an industry leader, that solves [Problem Solution] for its clients.”


“The objective of this campaign is for the audience to understand that [Business Name] is an innovative company creating [XYZ] to solve [Client Problem].”

4. The target audience

Define the target audience the campaign is aimed towards. Share demographic information, their behavioural insights and details like device usage.

5. The competition

Include an overview of the competitors and any trends or market conditions impacting the industry. Details on competitor activity and examples can greatly help inform the direction the designer will go in.

6. Creative consideration

Provide the creative team with information on the following creative considerations:

  • Channels that will be used and why
  • Suggested tone and feel of the material to be created

7. Tone of voice

The style and tone should be consistent with your brand and will also hinge on what the project is and what you’re trying to achieve. To help inform the messaging and ensure it aligns with your objectives, be sure to include your strategic positioning and the key messages that need to be addressed.

8. Call to action

The call to action suggests the action you want the audience to take. This action needs to be realistic and do-able. This call to action can be filling out a form on a website, downloading a piece of content or buying a product. Importantly, this needs to be aligned with your campaign objectives.

9. Timeline

If you have a timeline in mind for your project, include it in the brief. This will streamline the overall creative process. During the kickoff meeting, discuss edits and how many rounds of them are possible.

10. Budget

Anything that takes time and labour has a related cost. Make sure to understand the scope of the project and the timelines involved. If the creative team’s estimate exceeds your budget, talk it over and agree upon realistic expectations, deliverables, and project costs before getting started.

By thinking through and planning these 10 steps for your business and project, you’ll be able to produce a creative brief that’s not only thorough but also effective.

Let’s get cooking!

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