Breakdown and Benefits of the Briefing Process

December 20, 2022
2 minute read

The briefing process is a crucial stage for any creative agency looking to strike client success.

Sadly for clients though, this make-it-or-break-it stage is often:

  • Skipped out entirely 
  • Designated to the wrong person
  • Done incompletely 

Some clients develop remarkable briefs, but others leave it entirely to the agency. 

Agencies are then left with a dilemma, to accommodate the client or stick to the process. A workaround is to develop one but ask the client to review it and officially approve it. 

So, what exactly is this process and why’s it so important?

There are 3 stages to the briefing process:

  1. Communications Brief → Carried out by an Account manager.
  2. Strategic Planning       → Carried out by a Strategic Planner.
  3. Creative Brief              → Carried out by a Strategic Planner.

Feeling dizzy? Let’s break that down.


Communications Brief

The accounting manager works as the bridge between the client and the company, making them best suited to this part of the process.

A client turning to an agency has a business objective. The accounting manager’s job is to discover what this objective is in detail-perhaps it’s to sell a product, perhaps it’s to raise brand awareness, or perhaps it’s something else. The communications brief also includes the client’s business background, target audience, and previous activity that would complement the current project. 



Strategic Planning Research

Next, the strategic planner studies the communications brief and where appropriate, arranges a meeting with the client. At this stage, a clear understanding of the strategic business objective, background, and target audience is required by the Strategic Planner. Research is conducted and the Strategic Planner goes on to develop the magic we love about advertising.

Creative Brief aka Communications Strategy

Now, the strategic planner is ready to develop the creative brief-the most critical document within this process.

The creative brief includes but is not limited to:

  • Single-Minded proposition (or Unique Selling Proposition USP) or Value Propositions are identified by the Strategic Planner. This is what good Strategic Planners are good at! The ability to identify what features of the client’s business to focus on. 
  • Reasons to believe (RTB) are what support the claim to that selling proposition. 
  • The client’s Tone of Voice and specific messages.
  • The demographics of the target audience and segmentation.
  • The desired response of the communications activity.
  • Communications Deliverables: The comms and media mix. Such as a TVC on a certain TV station. The reasons for choosing those should be mentioned and justified. The comms and media mixes are what Creative Directors and their teams work on or otherwise known as Creative Deliverables.



Now here’s where many agencies are going wrong:

Creative directors are producing the creative brief themselves.


This is a baaaad idea.


Creative directors are brimming with their own objectives and beliefs and are PASSIONATE about their favorite deliverables. Problem is, these objectives, beliefs, and passions may or may not suit the client. The end deliverable must be made with the client and the client only in mind. This is why the strategic planner is the man or woman for the job-they are purely objective and know how to plan a strategy to meet client needs.


Can’t afford to hire a full-time strategic planner?


In this case, hiring a freelancer is strongly recommended. Or perhaps Or perhaps give a young Account Exec a shot at it! And invest in future talent for the Agency.

 Remember, happy clients, make for a happy agency bank balance. Important things like designating the right person for the right job are well worth the investment.

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