How do I brief an agency?
Briefing an agency can be tricky, especially if it’s a task that’s new to you. Ultimately what creatives require is information – they want to get to know you, your business and your customer.
Here at Nalla, briefs from clients form creative briefs for designers. The better the brief, the better understanding we have of your business and therefore the better the creative outcome – equipping teams with the right information from the offset make for clear and focused explorations and will help us communicate what you do best to your customer.
To help kick-start your brief, we’ve detailed some of the key questions we ask new clients to answer. Each of these is designed to glean a deeper understanding of who you are as a business and what you intend to get from the project.
- Tell us about you
Give us some insight into your company: what is it you do? Where have you come from, and where do you see yourself in the future? Try to be as descriptive as possible but keep it concise. Essentially, we want your best elevator pitch. The film Alien was pitched as ‘like Jaws, but in Space’ – that’s what creatives are looking for in your brief!
We also want to hear and see your brand values – so give us some keywords such as ‘innovative’, ‘luxury’ or ‘feminine’ to describe your business. Your brand personality is also important, as it gives us a broader image as to how your company operates and what it’s general ethos is – use keywords like you are describing a person; ‘approachable’ or ‘fashionable’ for example. There’s no need to go wild with these, limit yourself to just two or three words each.
- Target market
Let us know who your key customer is. Narrow it down and try to be as specific as possible. Include details such as gender, age, where they work and how much they earn. Think about emotional triggers too: what do they like doing in their spare time? Where do they go on holiday? How would their friends describe them?
It’s good to envision why they’re choosing to use your product over others in the market. It might be because there’s no comparable alternative. Perhaps your product is offering a similar service for a cheaper price. Whatever the reason, let us know.
All this information helps us get into the mindset of your audience. We’ll be able to view creative from an objective point of view and get to thinking about what can really be of benefit to your customer.
- Product offering
What’s the full list of services you are offering, or planning to offer, to your customers? Offerings can be tangible products such as merchandise, or digital like a subscription service.
Listing future ambitions also really helps creatives – we want to make sure our solutions are future-proof for you and your business.
- Mission statement
A lot of companies know what it is they do. A lot fewer know why they do it, and if you don’t know why you do what you do, why should your customers care? All employees at Nasa believe they are there for the same reason – to help send people into space. Apple believes in literally developing “the best personal computers in the world”. It should be obvious and clear, outlining exactly what the business has set out to do, whilst maintaining simplicity – your whole mission statement should be roughly a few sentences long.
Think about your what, how and why, starting with the latter.
- Why do you do what you do?
- How do you do it?
- What do you do, and how are you different from your competitors?
- Full scope of project
What would you like your agency to do for you? List everything you think you want, as this will give a really good overview on the scope of project. It’ll also make it much easier for agencies to accurately cost how much the project will be.
- Give us some homework
Who are your main competitors? Is there anything you think they’re particularly good at? Or equally, is there anything you dislike about them (don’t feel obliged to be nice!). How are they similar or dissimilar to your company? It’s also useful to look at competitors who inspire you, excite you or capture your personality. One of our recent clients, Kaleido, who launched a slick-looking, revolutionary diabetes pump, said they wanted to be the Apple of the pharmaceuticals industry – so aim high! Imagery and examples are always welcomed by creatives – anything that helps to get right to the heart of what you want to achieve.
When it comes to budget, ensure you have a rough idea of what you are looking to spend from the offset, this will enable your agency to be as clear as possible straight away and stay within expected costs. Most agencies will have a few project options, each with a different cost depending on what work is expected to be done and when. Here at Nalla for example, we offer three initial options to clients, and then build from there. And always remember to think of your budget as an investment as opposed to an outgoing. The reward will come, just be patient!
- What does success look like?
Firstly, have a think about what the main objectives of the project are. Why are you doing it? And what would you consider to be successful project?
What success looks like will differ from person to person, so have a think about what it means specifically to you and your company. Increased sales might be your primary goal or perhaps employee productivity is of real importance. Or maybe you want to receive positive responses from peers.
Letting your agency know what targets and achievements you want hitting will allow them to focus where it matters most to you and allow them to tailor solutions based on the ultimate goals – having these goals in mind from the start will in turn inform creative output.
So, how do you brief an agency? Set out goals, be clear with yourself and your agency and ensure the path to what you want is as easy to navigate as possible. Be focused and concise, draw inspiration and ideas from competition and use this to frame who, what and where you want your company to be at the end of the process. Go in and have a chat with the agency face-to-face, get to know the people who will be helping you to realise your vision – the more aligned with the agency you are, the better the results will be and the quicker they will be seen. Just like in any relationship, whether it be personal or business, communication is key.