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Friday, October 6

How much information is needed in a brief?

A creative brief is well meant to be brief:-) However, most samples brim with information. Background information. Information about the category, competitive information, product information, TG information, lifestyle information, cultural trends information and many other information sources!

There is a default school of belief that thinks that analysis applied to a mass of information will provide an AHA answer without much effort.

However, I believe the brief should not be treated like a bank vault. It should just have enough information. Same as the minimum amount needed for your PSU savings bank account! Background information should be supplied as required and requested, not FREE with every brief.

Too much information bogs down thinking and leads back to existing ideas. This is true for planners, creatives and creative strategists!

The best briefs deal with brand issues at the level of 'innocence'. They deal with concepts and macro issues. Once the creatives come up with some ideas, then further information might be useful if these ideas need to be fine-tuned.

You might discover that a brilliant creative idea might not be implementable because it violates some brand guideline or existing category norm or client diktat. However, it is much better to risk such wastage at a latter stage rather than pack your brief with information in the hope that it will lead to a better idea.

True to a briefs' original spirit - Less is More.

Other thoughts - We must also increasingly use visual language to build our concepts. Words have extreme limitations. They are bad at communicating shades of meaning. Briefs must not be seen as close-ended systems. They should be used as 'Thought Prototypes'. Tinkering templates for the creative-planner team to build upon rather than the problem-definition-cum-proposition white paper used as swipe card at the creative department window sill!

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