Build a Roadmap to Success – Write a Creative Brief and Stay On-Course

Tips to Write a Creative Brief

Before we look at the components involved when you write a creative brief, let’s take stock of where we are, marketing-wise. Thanks to amazing technology and intelligent software, it’s easy to track the results of our marketing campaigns. So when we set goals for our campaigns, we can check the data to see if we reached those goals. That’s great, isn’t it? (And that determines how we create our next campaign.)

Is it Necessary to Write a Creative Brief?

But one of the biggest issues we face today is creating and maintaining a focused marketing campaign – one that reaches the target audience with a highly specific message.

The solution? Yes, you know it – a great creative brief.

6 Elements to Include When You Write a Creative Brief

Here are the important elements that you need in a creative brief that provides your writers, art directors, web designers, illustrators, photographers, and anyone else on the team with the information they need to achieve your desired results. (As long as they’re realistic!)


Gotta be smart here. Don’t set out to “Increase revenue by 300%.” If it helps you, follow the SMART Goal-Setting method to ensure that your goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, and Time-Based. (There are many versions of the SMART acronym, but I like this one best.)

Sample goals might focus on awareness, education, foot/web traffic, “Likes,” Retweets and Shares, or overall branding.

Features & Benefits

Make a list of the features and benefits of the product/service you want to market. Remember that whatever information you give your creative team needs to be accurate and thorough. Think about your customer’s WIFM (what’s in it for me?) and how/why they might need your product/service – from both rational and emotional perspectives.

Target Audience

Define your target audience(s) very clearly. Think about who you really need to reach, because that’s your “universe” of potential customers – basically, anyone and everyone who might purchase your product/service.

And do some research on these people! You may think you already know them inside-and-out, since you’ve been in your business for awhile now. But people are funny. They change and grow and adopt new technologies – so if your audience is 65 years old and up, it might help you to know that almost half of them now have smartphones!

That information has all kinds of ramifications, such as your website requiring responsive design and an easy-to-read, appropriately-sized font. It also creates new marketing opportunities, such as adding a text/SMS element to the campaign, relevant near-field communication at your location, and a loyalty/membership rewards app.

Single Message & “Proof Points”

Ah, the heart of the matter. I’ll put this in bold and italics AND give it its own line break with asterisks to bring it home:

*** You cannot have multiple messages in your communication. ***

Why not? Because it will dilute all of the messages, and even confuse the audience.

You need a single-focused message like “Our Temperature-Controlled SuperSox™ (patent pending!) keep your feet warm in the cold and cool in the heat.”

That’s it! ¡No más!

Of course, you do need to provide your team with the ability to prove it. So list your proof points that back up your claim – your patented technology, your 100% customer satisfaction rating, etc.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

This is where the magic happens. Give your audience a clear, succinct call-to-action, whether it’s a shiny red “ORDER NOW” button on your website or a “Call 1-888-SUPR-SOX today for your FREE pair!”

Because that’s how you make money AND track your results. So it’s pretty important!


Before you start thinking about a global marketing campaign with new websites and TV spots and airport billboards and direct marketing with promotional items… think about your budget.

There are tons of great – and effective – ways to “go to market” without spending millions of dollars. Of course, if you go too cheap, you risk not reaching your audience.

Ask yourself:

  • Which media channels do your prospects use regularly?
  • Can you leverage these channels cost-effectively?
  • How will your campaign “translate” to all of these channels?

When You Write a Creative Brief with the Steps Above…

I believe you’ll have a well-thought-out creative brief that enables your creative team to develop some clutter-busting marketing ideas. And once you reach your audience with your powerfully persuasive and single-focus message, they’ll heed your call-to-action and make a purchase. So do your thinking and analysis, make your lists, and build that creative brief!

Use your creative brief like a trusted roadmap and do follow it, because when your team is all on the same page, everyone benefits – business and consumer alike.

Have you written a creative brief before? Did it help to achieve the desired results? Share your experiences in the comments.

Harley David Rubin

Harley David Rubin is a freelance copywriter, content creator and marketing strategist who has worked for both advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments for more than 20 years. He loves his family, pop culture, fantasy baseball and creativity in all its forms.

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