Thursday, October 15, 2009

How Sacred Is The Brief?

Here is a thought or two on a topic that I have thought about a lot since becoming a planner. Just how important is the creative brief?

Now this is more a debate than an argument, so I would love to hear people's thoughts on the subject.

The creative brief seems in some circles to be seen as this all powerful master document for the creative work that should follow. An unquestionable piece of Moses esque tabletry that defies all who doubt it. But this makes no sense, we know the point of a brief is to inspire the creatives and lead then down the right direction. Yet as is often quoted, there is rarely a right answer... simply more/less right ones.

If we do our job right then being on brief is good of course. But what if slightly off brief gives a better creative territory? What if there is an idea so good that only works with a tweaked brief. What if we discover something new part way through the process?

I had this argument in the pub with a creative who was discussing a brief where the favoured work was actually slightly off brief. My viewpoint there was (and still is) that we should always be confidence our brief work is spot on, but if creatives are to believe that we have creativity at the heart of what we do, we have to be man enough to admit when an idea (whether from creative or planning) is good enough to skip brief anality. Otherwise why should they believe us when we say the next idea is better because it's on brief.

A 8-10am analogy for this was this:

A hard punch that's 90% on target is better than a weak punch that's 100% on target.



simon billing said...

I've found the ability to reverse engineer strategy is a crucial planning skill.

If the creative idea doesn't deliver against the business objective then its bollocks but if it improves the message re-write the brief.

Charles Frith said...

I totally agree.