The Creative Brief Template: The Elements of an Effective Brief


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Every creative team faces the same challenge of doing excellent work under the most rigorous of deadlines, using whatever resources are at hand. But one effective tool that they use to make sense of all the incoming jobs is the creative brief. In fact, some creatives say that a complete brief is the single most important indicator of whether a project will be successful.

The creative brief is a document that is typically filled out by your creative director or traffic manager after a face-to-face discussion with the client. How should you structure it so that all involved get the info they need to begin work? We’ve laid out all the elements of truly effective creative brief template that you can customize to your needs.

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Why Do You Need a Creative Brief Template?

First, the goal of any creative brief is to clarify the work that you’re being asked to do. It should contain at the bare minimum, three things: project scope (which outlines both tone and execution), context (especially useful if the work is part of a greater campaign), and a timeline.

This creative brief template is meant to be a guide so your team can build its own later on, based on your needs and circumstances. We’re not saying you should use this template as-is — keep the useful elements and discard the rest.

The Elements of Your Creative Brief Template

1. Contact Details

As with any work intake form, specify who the client is, and list email addresses, phone numbers, etc. for the contact person(s) in that company. Do the same for your internal team.

2. Creative Brief Template Overview

This section gives you the chance to talk about the request from a high level. What is this job about? Paint a picture for your team that answers the who, what, and where of the project. Provide enough context so that your team comprehends where this job fits in the big picture.

Some questions to answer: What is the client’s need? Are there opportunities or problems in the market that will affect this job?

3. The Objectives

Here’s where you summarize the goals of this job. What does the client want to achieve? If it’s a customer-facing deliverable, what action do you want the end user to take? Or what do you want them to feel or think?

Watch the 1:42 video below for some tips on writing out the objectives in a creative brief.

4. The Audience Profile

This section tackles the target audience. If you build a complete picture of the audience that you must persuade, then your creative team can do a better job of tailoring their work to the audience’s needs and concerns.

Some questions to answer: Who are they and where do they live or work? How will they be reached? What issues concern them?

5. The Execution Specifics

Here’s where the main meat of the creative brief lies. This section should hold all the execution details about the deliverable and how you communicate your message, including:

  • Tone: What is the tone of your written copy and your message? What adjectives describe the feeling or approach? What do these adjectives mean to the customer?
  • Message: What are you saying with this job? Does messaging need to be developed? What will the audience remember at the end? What similar messages are competitors using?
  • Visuals: How will the visuals convey the message? Is there a certain visual style the client wants? Are there visuals in place already or must they be created?
  • Other details: list all deliverables and their formats/measurements.
  • Timeline, schedule, and budget: When do things need to be done? How much will it cost?

We put together a downloadable creative brief template (PDF) that you can use to get started.
Download it and print it out!

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What the Creative Brief Template Can (and Can’t) Do

One thing to keep in mind: no matter how you structure your creative brief, the end result will still be more of a checklist than an inspiring spark that spurs creative ideas. However, never underestimate the value of a comprehensive brief — it can guide the work in a specific direction, and inform the team about the audience, the client, and the overall problem that needs solving. While it won’t break through any creative (or writer’s) blocks by itself, having a creative brief still beats trying to navigate a campaign blind.

Build Your Creative Brief With Wrike Requests

While the template we suggest above is perfectly usable as a PDF or Word document, you can further streamline the way you accept incoming work requests and how you manage all ongoing creative jobs. Wrike is a campaign management tool used by many creatives and marketers to manage the rhythm and organization of all creative work — from intake to execution and delivery. And Wrike Requests allows you to specify all the details you need for your creative brief.

Start a trial today and see how much easier it is with Wrike.

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