Creative briefs urgently need more oomph!

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A short update on our ongoing research into the role creative briefs play.

Our core premise is that an imaginative, stimulating brief leads to better marketing and communication. The creative brief is the crucial piece of any project because it communicates the client’s requirements to the creative team. The clearer and more imaginative this is the better the chances of success.

From the creatives’ perspective the feedback that we have received is: over 42% of the respondents expect to receive a brief that enthuses them just once every two to three months. 21% only expect this to happen once a year.

Does this then mean that most of the time we’re failing to inspire creative people to do their best work?

From the client perspective many marketing and communication people write a lot of briefs. Almost 40% of us write a brief at least every two to three weeks and an additional 37% about once a quarter.

Writing a brief is a difficult task. 74% of us find it challenging and almost 10% are often dissatisfied with the results. This perhaps explains why 63% of creative people only expect to see an inspiring brief once in a while. This is point is emphasised when you consider 100% of the creative respondents felt a well structured brief made a significant contribution to the resulting campaign.

Yet we’re depending on these briefs: Almost 30% see it as the primary source of inspiration and a little more than the other 70% view it as an important part of the mix.

Again this point is brought in to sharp focus when you consider more than half of the creative respondents felt the brief made a big difference to the amount of imagination they could bring to bear.

85% of brief writers believe in direct collaboration with creative and 73% of creatives believe direct collaboration always results in better ideas.

It seems to follow therefore that if all parties were to collaborate more during the brief development process we’d inspire more of the people more of the time and that this would directly impact the quality of the marketing and communication.

We’ve had some superb anecdotal comments to support this point: Many respondents described the brief as imperative. The need to show creative people what has and hasn’t worked in the past and what the client does and doesn’t like also being a help.

Another describes the process as not being at all easy but the best possible investment in time.

Interestingly one creative described the brief writing process as the best time to challenge the client – challenging the client being vital from their perspective.

Perhaps the most direct comment was, “if the relationship with the creative team hasn’t got a spark, then your brief will lack oomph! And so too will your campaign!”

Thank you to everyone who has taken part so far. We’ve had a superb response and we’re still analysing your responses – we’ll be using some of it in our forthcoming book: Forget the box. With such a large response and with so many great comments the surveys will remain open until Monday 14th July – so we will post an update. If you’d like to participate please visit:


Creative brief writers:

We will be posting updates on our LinkedIn company page so please join in the debate by clicking the follow button and we’ll keep you involved as we develop the research.



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