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  • Lance Boldt

The Heart of Any Project: The Creative Brief Create Belief with a Creative Brief

For 20 years before AutoNetTV, I worked as an estate planner, helping very wealthy folks protect their assets and preserve them for future generations. These clients had very complex financial situations: trusts, business entities, partnerships, and so on. Working with their financial and legal advisors, we spent a great deal of time reviewing and understanding their financial situation. But before we started gathering this data, we had one or more two-hour sessions gathering “soft” information. We explored their feelings and attitudes regarding wealth, what values govern their own situation, and what values they hoped their children and grandchildren would learn and cherish. We spoke about concerns and aspirations for their children and grandchildren individually. What causes or charitable endeavors they wanted to support. After the estate plan was devised and set in motion, our clients would say that the exploration portion was the most satisfying part of the process. It gave them confidence and satisfaction that they were doing the right thing for their family. This is what the Creative Brief is to your video project. It gathers and crystalizes your hopes and aspirations for the project. It connects you to your audiences - both internal and external. A well-thought-out creative brief illuminates the path to your destination. It also informs you when you are straying from the path as well as when you might need to rethink an aspect of the project. This is nothing new to seasoned marketers. But it may be to some of the other stakeholders in the organization. Sometimes enthusiasm for the project - or a tight deadline - may have members of your team wanting to bypass the time and effort it takes to work through the Creative Brief and jump right into “make me a cool video like that one I saw on YouTube”. As often as not, you will be working with managers and executives that are more senior than you. Getting everyone on board with this very preliminary part of the journey can be intimidating. Here are some important points to consider when motivating team members to engage in the process:

  1. Become passionate about the Creative Brief yourself.

  2. Take some time to think about why this process is important to your project. Convince yourself, if you need to, and convey your enthusiasm for this preliminary work with team members.

  3. Think about who you may have to convert to the process.

  4. What might motivate them to get on board: better videos, cost savings, buy-in from management, the satisfaction of contributing, etc.

  5. Have a plan for articulating the value of the Creative Brief process.

  6. Have an agenda, prepared questions, and a timeframe for the discussion.

  7. Prepare a thumbnail sketch of the project’s objectives, how the video fits those objectives, and how they can help you with specific aspects of the plan.

  8. The fact of the matter is that a good Creative Brief gives you a better video and avoids unnecessary costs. These are compelling reasons to motivate team members to engage in the process.

  9. Ask them at what level they would like you to keep them informed of the progress of the project.

  10. This may seem like you are inviting unnecessary input/interference. But that is almost always better than having a major stakeholder disappointed with the final video.

  11. Appropriate internal communication helps manage expectations, make timely course corrections, meet deadlines, and stay on budget.

Here are a couple of thoughts on the budget. First of all, you should always feel free to ask your agency “What will that cost?”. It’s your money - or at least you are responsible for spending it - and you have a right to know. But, be prepared that sometimes the right answer is, “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” Things need to be researched. Numbers need to be crunched. It’s a process. If you have a budget in mind, the agency would love to hear it. It helps them get you the most bang for the buck. They won’t explore or suggest things that would be clearly out of range. But we also understand that you may not be comfortable leading out with a budget - or it may be against policy. In that case, we will have to have some more discussion about the kinds of things you would like to see included in your video, what techniques do you want to utilize, how much video will you be creating, etc. That gives us enough information to develop options and come back with a budget. The other side of that coin is pressuring the agency to give you a price right out of the chute: “How much for a two-minute video?” There is such a range for what that could be (3D animation, live-action, exploding skyscrapers) that it’s like asking “How big is yellow?”. Agencies have been on the losing side of that enough times that you will likely get a ridiculously high number if you insist on an immediate answer - and that doesn’t really help you at all. Wrapping up - the Creative Brief is a powerful tool for making sure that your video delivers what you want. It is also the key for getting the most value for your investment. And - it just might make your life a lot easier. In case you missed the Creative Brief webinar, here is a link to the recording: Creative Brief Webinar Please do not hesitate to reach out the Shawn Bird with any questions you may have or if you want to start planning your next video project. Email him SBird@AutoNetTV.com or call 801.683.6805.


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