Creative Brief: The Key to Avoiding Uncertainty in Content and Marketing Projects

Business 10/10/2019 5 min read

Let’s talk about the first day of creating something from scratch.

Oh, the possibilities! The blue sky above us and the endless potential of our newly born idea.

But those blue skies can turn gray pretty fast if we don’t make sure that everyone is on the same page.

To make a project more tangible, we need to come back down to earth. Create an accurate representation of our idea that will resonate with others. Thus, this piece will not be about how to brainstorm effectively. This is all about proper planning and execution. That’s where the creative brief comes in: a robust, crystal-clear document that will get everyone on the same page.

What is a creative brief?

Simply put, a creative brief is a planning document for any creative project. It can range from the simplest social media video snippets to the largest global ad campaigns. It helps both clients and creatives understand the target audience, objectives, deliverables, and deadlines of any project.

Control Focus. It’s not just about you.


As any videographer (or product designer) can tell you – the focus is key.

When planning, the focus is our way to say what we’re not, after all those long discussions about what can be.

As clients, we see our business as the protagonist. Maintaining the focus on it seems natural, but it won’t achieve your business goals.

There’s a story to tell, a unified concept that will resonate with your audience. This in turn will create a valuable experience or impression.
To that end, you need to change focus from your own efforts to the narrative of your target audience. And that’s what creators do best.

Creatives and clients need to control focus at all costs, to avoid costly mistakes. There’s only one sure way to achieve it — a creative brief.

A Creative Brief Gives More Focus Control to Clients.

Plan in advance set your requirements and restrictions. This allows you to take your focus off the project to do other, more pressing tasks. The main bases for this project are covered and you can breathe easily.

A Creative Brief Gives More Focus Control to Creators.

Make sure all project requirements and ideas are collected and refined before work starts. You’re now empowered to get dirty with actually making the “thing”.

The Rules of a Creative Brief

  1. You write the creative brief.
  2. Review every part in detail with your partners in creation. Now break it. Try to find problems. Ask every small question.
  3. The client runs it by ALL decision-makers BEFORE it’s handed off to the Creator to execute.
  4. Creator executes according to the brief.
  5. When uncertainty arises – seek the solution in the brief’s strategic goals. The more you invested in step 2, the more you can trust yourself. Don’t give in to the lizard brain.

Remember – changing a plan before execution costs close to nothing. But during execution, any change can mean significant losses to both sides. This often means under-delivering or even worse, major delays to project schedules and rising costs.

Benefits of a Creative Brief For Clients


For clients, the benefits of a solid creative brief are obvious:

  • Your objectives are clear.
    To everybody. We sometimes find that this actually aligns your own team’s expectations and work schedules.
  • You will get a better price.
    Less corrections, less back and forth, means less $$$ spent.
  • You don’t compromise on quality.
    Last minute or on-the-go fixes tend to cause problems later on.
  • Let’s be honest – it makes you look good.
    Your colleagues will be thrilled to see your plan. Also, you gain the appreciation and full co-operation of the creator, seeing how much thought you’ve put into it.
  • It’s fast (to write).
    It takes time to define your idea, but putting it into words is the most cost-effective period of time in the entire creative process. 10-20 minutes that can make or break the entire project.

Benefits of a Creative Brief for Creators


For some creators, it would make more sense to have a short phone call or chat. This approach works great, but there’s not enough of a paper trail for future reference. Make sure you send a summary brief at the end of the session to verify you’re on the same page.
Here’s why:

  • It puts you in the driver’s seat.
    Once the brief is complete you know you have a green light from all relevant decision-makers on the client’s side. It’s your time to shine. Blow their mind or make it exactly as planned, as long as you fulfill the creative brief’s objectives, you can’t under deliver.
  • It gets you more jobs.
    What we see over and over again – delivers on budget and on time, and you will get another chance. The best way to do it and set realistic expectations in the brief.
  • It makes you more money.
    Every hour counts, especially when you’re a freelancer, and charge per project. Less emails. Less late phone calls. Less revisions.
  • More time to create! 
    As a freelance creator or a creative agency, you’re limited by the number of clients you can manage. The more clients/concurrent projects you have, the more time you will save by asking your clients to fill out a creative brief.

Conclusion (and a creative brief template)

You should make it your habit to have a creative brief for any outsourced or freelance creative. Whether it be an animation, a full-blown commercial, or a logo design. Your profession, your obligation to yourself and your company is to ship this project. On-time and on budget.

In our journey to build a global video production marketplace, we’ve collected the main questions every creative brief should have and would love your feedback on it: The ultimate creative brief – Shareable form (5-10 minutes to fill)

You can also download the team brief template in our ultimate creative brief presentation template (built for group discussion on big screens).

Try filling it out for your current project and let us know how it goes in the comments. We’d also love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for more questions that are must-have in the video production brief.

This article was written by Nuriel, head of product at is the only global video production markeplace that connects videographers with marketers and product teams in need of explainer videos, client testimonials, branding videos, and even remote consumer research videos