How to write a “MINI” creative brief?

slide15Arguably things today are moving faster than ever.  With the advent of new media options such as social, digital and search media, the list of tactics is longer than ever.  Opportunities come to brand leaders needed quick decisions and even faster execution. Brand Managers are running like crazy to get everything done.  Quick phone calls with the agencies and emails to keep everything moving along.   So many times I’m seeing teams spinning around in circles of execution and I ask to see the brief and the answer is quickly becoming “Oh we didn’t have time to do a creative brief”.  You always need to take the time to write it down.  

Elements of Communication Strategy

First off, I would hope that every brand has the discipline to do an advertising strategy that should answer the following six key questions.

  1. Who Do We want to sell to?  (target)
  2. What are we selling?  (benefit)
  3. Why should they believe us?  (RTB)
  4. What Do We want the Advertising to do?  (Strategy)
  5. What do Want people to do?  (Response)
  6. What do we want people to feel?   (Brand Equity)

Once you have these six questions answered you should be able to populate and come to a main creative brief.  To read more about writing a full creative brief follow this link:  How to Write an Effective Creative Brief


Back when we only did TV and a secondary medium it was easier.  We’d spend months on a brief and months ago making the TV ads.  The brief was approved everywhere, right up to the VP or President level.   But now the problem is when you’re running around like  a chicken with its head chopped off, you decide to wing it over the phone with no brief.   It’s only a Facebook page, a digital display ad going down the side of the weather network or some twitter campaign  Who needs a brief.

If I could recommend anything to do with communication:  ALWAYS HAVE A BRIEF.

The Mini Creative Brief

Focusing on the most important elements of the brief, you must have:

  • Objective: What do we hope to accomplish, what part of the brand strategy will this program.   Focus on only one objective.  
  • Target:  Who is the intended target audience we want to move to take action against the objective?  Keep it a very tight definition.  
  • Insight:  What is the one thing we know about the consumer that will impact this program.   For this mini brief, only put the most relevant insight to help frame the consumer.  
  • Desired Response: What do we want consumers to think, feel or do?   Only pick one of these.  
  • Stimulus:  What’s the most powerful thing you can say to get the response you want.


Going too fast sometimes takes too Long

If you choose to do it over the phone, you’re relying on the Account Manager to explain it to the creative team. Days later when they come back with the options, how would you remember what you wanted.  If you have a well-written communications plan, this Mini Brief should take you anywhere from 30-60 minutes to write this.   The Mini Brief will keep your own management team aligned to your intentions, as well as give a very focused ASK to the creative team.   When you need to gain approval for the creative, you’ll be able to better sell it in with Mini Brief providing the context.  

Pressed for Time, Try Out the Mini Brief


To read more on Creative Briefs, follow this presentation

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to create a mini brief or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader. 

70 thoughts on “How to write a “MINI” creative brief?

  1. Pingback: How to write an Effective Creative Brief « Beloved Brands

  2. Great post Graham! The best way to evaluate if you have a good brief (when you create one) is to keep it brief (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) while incorporating all the “need to haves”.

  3. Got two questions for you: Do you still find you have to write the creative briefs, or mini briefs, to win the account? Or, are you getting the account or the commitment prior to the brief?

    Back when we did all that creative time as you mention, the months of work, etc., we were actually on the clock. Sometimes we had to do huge spec jobs just to get the client to say okay (MadMen, but most of the time we pitched the client on our “laurels” unless it was a huge account. Now, it seems more people are shopping for the quick answer, hence the quickie idea before committing.

    It’s this conundrum about briefs and plans now that is hard to get past since so many potential clients just put out RFBs (requests for bids) from everywhere: down the street or over to New Delhi. How do you handle this?

    The second part of the question is, what if the client wants part of the plan, the tactics so to speak, the “how” – (Facebook or radio, tv or tweeter) in addition to the brief in order to commit?

    I find I’m being put in the position of giving them the positioning statements, the creative process, in the brief … spending that ton of time again rather than saying, “you can see the quality of the past work. That’s what you’ll get. Are you interested in my going on the clock to produce this?”

    You offer some great advise here. And I’m “relearning” lots, refreshing my process with your posts. Thanks for sharing. It’s also refreshing. (One of my bugaboos is how unwilling so many “creatives” are to share from past experience).

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  14. I couldn’t agree more. With 7+ years of consulting…Unfortunately I still see this in small and large brands. Crazy! Another great post Graham!

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  35. Love your Post Graham!

    While weeks and weeks of research might go into a creative brief there’s something magical that happens when it’s forced to fit onto a single page. All the details and complicated data suddenly clarify into a single, single-minded vision of what the creative team is meant to achieve.

    More on the importance of a creative brief i did on this article.

    Keep rocking!

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