Data and Audience
5 Franchise Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2023
Key insights on how to get the right input, move creative projects to the next level, and achieve customer outcomes.
Whether you’re tackling a total update to your marketing campaigns or attempting to tweak your brand designs to appeal to new demographics, compiling a creative brief is a make-or-break step. When customers and creative teams are misaligned, the result is phoned-in creative deliverables with off-brand messaging and mediocre execution across copy, UX, UI, web design, visual design, social media, video production, contentiContent is a broad term used in marketing that covers everything from videos, blogs, articles, web copy, marketing copy or advertisements used to convey relevant and effective information about a brand or company that consumers have an interest in consuming. Content marketing has become a popular way to generate brand awareness by using a blog or article to introduce someo... Read More creation, and more. The worst-case scenario is that creative teams have to start playing the blame game, putting suboptimal KPIs and poor campaign performance into context while airing grievances to frustrated team members and customers alike. Nobody wants all that — and many would prefer to skip the creative brief altogether.
The root cause of all the headaches and inefficiencies when putting together a project is that creative briefs — the documents used to outline the strategy of a creative project — aren’t any good. Usually, they aren’t given the weight that’s needed to be the single source of truth to guide a customer’s campaign goals. Yes, many factors — and excuses — go into whether certain projects are successful or not. But achieving desired outcomes for customers starts with pulling off a killer creative brief.
52 percent of agency leaders say creative briefs lack focus, with around 27 percent saying incomplete or inconsistent information regularly goes into them to render the overall campaign dead on arrival — and this was back in 2013! Not a lot has changed. Copywriters, art directors, and designers still won’t get going without customer sign-offs on a full brief, or they essentially fill in the blanks where they think they’re on the right track; and customers still tend to fill out the information in the vaguest, most basic way possible.
Look at it like this: if creative project work was food, and the desired outcome was a satisfying meal, the creative brief would be the recipe. The customer and team chefs have to be able to cook the meal to perfection, but you can’t serve a delicious dinner that’ll get your restaurant a Michelin star without a precise recipe. Customers and creative teams need to put their heads together and roll up their sleeves for that common purpose.
If you’re still lagging behind, or aren’t convinced that it’s possible, here are some best practices on how to make creative briefs the powerful and necessary launching point they need to be to make campaigns successful.
The fact is, creative briefs are the perfect opportunity for fresh perspectives and framing ideas — and they’re only lousy when customers and teams allow them to be. We know that it’s tough at the outset of a new project to use this time and space wisely. But it’s crucial to communicate a fundamental mindset change to an internal team and a customer’s conception of the nature of the brief.
You can undercut any excuses either side might have by reframing the goal of the brief itself: the customer wants to overcome a barrier to get an audience to take some sort of action — for example, purchase products or services — and the team, with the help of a detailed brief, will help them get there.
It’s a classic forest-for-the-trees conundrum that gets lost when either side is too busy worrying about unnecessary minutiae. But by reestablishing the goal of the brief to be about solving consumer problems, teams will ensure the brief primarily addresses the reason why audiences are not willing to take the desired action, and let that drive the creative deliverables.
If the brief is only communicating stagnant points of difference, then you’ve got a problem.
According to customers, they have industry-best products that the market has never seen before. The brand has been around for half a century so they have legacy status in the marketplace, they have storefront locations, and their products are made-in-USA. A creative team can certainly illustrate those points, but they won’t be able to get to the creative next level with them.
When compiling a brief, access to information is key — but it must work both ways to generate next-level ideas. All too often, creative teams are left to ideate messaging and strategy based on basic information. For a truly successful project, The creative team needs to rethink how to get a seat at the strategy table to collaborate with customers and solve for their challenges.
Without necessary information, it becomes highly difficult to pinpoint true consumer-focused differentiators. Each must come together to collect important details such as the message to convey, the audience to communicate with, the dates when a particular creative deliverable should be in the market, or the channel used to communicate the message. Only then will the creative team determine successful concept, copy, and visuals.
How does a customer relay the right information to make sure that input is worthwhile, and how do teams compel them to do so? There are no right answers without the right questions.
Questions that are too broad will in turn generate information too general to be useful through the right channels. But a dynamic, specific set of questions will surface vital statistics about consumer-facing facts or points of view that help determine why a team’s work is the right thing to do for any customers’ business.
Make the brief incredibly simple to fill out but use questions that dig deeper to undercut vague or unclear responses, like:
All of the above includes the insights that teams and customers need to reignite a stagnant creative brief that’s holding them back. But we know a thing or two about how it’s also key to establish simple, streamlined ways to put together the creative brief itself to ensure that projects can be successful.
Keeping the three steps above in mind, below is a handy creative brief outline that will help teams and customers align with a creative project’s expectations and business needs.
Start the brief off with the sorts of client information that everyone needs to be aware of. Then, populate subsequent sections with the essential questions that aim to get intended audiences to do the things customers and creative teams want them to do. Finally, move into the broader context of the account and the product as a way to zero in on how to achieve the desired outcome. This conceptually far-reaching but focused portion of the brief is the final springboard that will let the full creative strategy flourish.
In all, if a customer and a creative team knows what the creative project needs to accomplish, know how it will be measured, who the deliverables need to talk to, what action they want the desired audience to take, and why they aren’t taking it — then a team has the ingredients they need to pull together a successful strategy. If you need even more help, we encourage you to download a free template of our creative brief. As we know, with a killer creative brief, customers and teams alike will ensure the marketing isn’t doomed to fail from the start.