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How to write the best brief for your digital advertising agency

The best campaigns start with a great brief.

Agencies working to clearly defined objectives with a detailed understanding of the target audience will have a higher success rate on delivering against core KPIs and sticking to your budget. A loose brief can be open to interpretation which causes inevitable problems with performance and potentially a roll over budget.

The importance of a good, clear and concise brief provides:

Better Success: By providing clarity on the goals and objectives of a campaign, the agency will be able to focus all of their efforts in the right direction.

Efficiency: A strong brief will help an agency come up with ideas, approaches and potential ways to execute your campaign much quicker. If the brief wasn’t clear in the first place and objectives keep changing, this will lengthen the process and ultimately waste both time and money. 

Clarity: The agency will be aware of exactly what is required and expected of them from the outset. They will know just how their success will be measured.

Briefing essentials

The right brief will be unique every single time, but you can follow these essential steps to make sure everything is clear and defined right from the beginning. Try splitting your brief into four key areas: 

These four principles should be applied in all briefs for agency or supplier projects whether it’s stand designers or content briefs.

Take a closer look at what elements the four principles should consist of:

1.Overview of your business

Tell them who you are and what you do as a business. Providing a business overviews gives clarity to agencies on your core target, vision and mission. This ensures agencies have an understanding of your company in key facts such as core services or products, number of employees and annual turnover so they understand how your business should be portrayed.

Dive deep into your brand 

Who are you as a brand? What has your journey been so far? What are your ultimate business objectives in the short and long-term? This is all extremely valuable information for the agency. 

Here you’ll provide your agency with additional detail on the reason why your brand exists. Focus on the following areas:

Define your target audience and bring them to life 

Describe exactly the customer group or groups that you are targeting. It’s important to provide as much information as possible at this stage. 

While your agency will appreciate the numbers in terms of customer segments, age, and social grade, you should try and bring it to life as much as possible. 

Create customer personas with likes, dislikes, interests and aspirations. Provide stories about your target audience and let your agency gain a deeper appreciation of what will be required to engage with them. 

Help them understand your competition 

Providing a detailed list of your competitors at briefing stage is vital. A thorough competitor analysis should always be a key step for the agency in planning your campaigns. 

It’s important for them to fully asses your competitors, looking at their strengths and weaknesses. They should then be able to view how they can leverage your strengths against your competitors’ weaknesses. 

It’s therefore crucial to detail exactly your USP and point of differentiation to your competitors in the brief. 

2.Define the project

Tell them who the main point of contact is, what the campaign is, how long it’s running, the budget, whether you is required with creatives, what URLs should the ads should lead to, when and how frequently you would like reporting.

Providing all the necessary information to your agency in an organised and timely fashion means they have everything they need for success. Delays on images, targeting options often lead to delayed campaigns.

Provide clarity on the objectives

The purpose of the brief may be able to be summed up in a couple of sentences, but you need to go a little more granular when it comes to setting core objectives. It’s important to focus on:

The individual needs of your business and campaign will dictate this, so be as clear as possible right from the start. 

3.Set the success criteria

These are the essentials that your digital advertising agency will need to really start to get their teeth stuck into the brief. This information will help them to begin to evaluate the best ways to achieve your objectives. 

Start with the purpose 

Begin by telling the agency what the ultimate goal is for your business. Why are you engaging with them in the first place? What do you want them to do for you? 

This should always be the focus of everything they do. When they’re evaluating their ideas and approach, this must always be their reference point. 

By stating it explicitly at the very beginning you’ll enable them to properly focus their efforts on the results you want. 

Detail what you want your customers to do

What is the end goal for your customers? Do you want them to purchase your products, sign up for something onsite, or get in touch with you to experience your services?

By detailing exactly what this is you’ll help the agency to come up with the most appropriate call to action for your campaign.

4.Measuring success

The agency will need to know the parameters they’re working within and how the success of the campaign will be measured.

That means providing a detailed list of the KPIs that are most relevant to your business, whether sales, revenue, cost per lead, cost per action etc. Being clear at this stage will illustrate to the agency exactly where to focus their efforts.

Also, don’t forget to include key timings, milestones and a list of stakeholders that are required for sign off.

Other factors to consider

When it comes to the budget, be as clear as possible. It’s too easy to be vague on this point, but a clearly defined budget will help the agency to understand the potential limitations they’re faced with. A vague budget may result in unrealistic ideas, which is nothing but a waste of time for everyone involved.

Writing the brief is one thing, you’ll also need to consider how you are going to brief your agency. If multiple stakeholders are involved and you have other agencies working on offline campaigns for example, it’s important to get everyone in the same room before you brief. This will help you to illustrate where crossover may occur and if there’s any need for cross-agency collaboration.

Other more established agencies may also be able to provide valuable insight into the current brand messaging and customer base.

The face to face communication shouldn’t begin and end here either. Once the agency has received the full brief and has had time to digest it, provide them with an opportunity to meet in person or online to answer any questions and offer additional clarity. Getting a good brief together seems like a lot of work, however, ensuring this is in place will allow you to quickly obtain quotes from various suppliers to shortlist, expedite the project work, keep to budget and have clear measurements for success.

Sound like too much work? Once you have created one great brief you will be able to use this as a template, simply switching out the project and success criteria to ensure you always have the best brief for your digital advertising agency.

Do you have a digital advertising campaign you need to execute fast? Complete our form and a Fluid Ads team member will be in touch to make sure we’ve captured your requirements and get your campaigns up and running in no time.

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