How to write a practice brief without actually writing a practice brief.

All professionals practice. Why? Because they know they need to stay sharp. Often, their profession requires it, but even if it doesn’t, pros practice anyway. That practice comes in many forms: refresher courses, conferences, online and in-person training. If you write creative briefs for a living, even if it’s not your main task, you need […]

What not to expect from a creative brief.

My video podcast co-host, Henry Gomez, often says on our show, The Brief Bros., that an inspiring creative brief doesn’t guarantee inspiring creative. But it vastly improves the odds. His comment inspired me to ruminate on what great creative briefs should not be expected to do. I file this under “intellectual honesty,” which everyone, regardless […]

Why are creative briefs hard to write? Because briefs are about good writing.

Some observations about outstanding, inspiring creative briefs. First, they are short. They fit on one page, maybe a page and a half. Second, the best ones avoid using bullet points. If they do use bullet points, said bullets are written in complete sentences. At worst, the bullets are memorable phrases. Third, these great briefs, when […]

Why the “one-sentence creative brief” is a false idol.

Who writes a one-sentence creative brief? More to the point, who wants a one-sentence creative brief? I don’t. I doubt creatives want one. Not truly. Oh, I’ve read a few comments on LinkedIn promoting a one-sentence creative brief, pleading for such a creature. But has anyone ever actually read one, worked from one or possessed […]

How to prevent the 11th hour veto.

The creative brief writer’s bane. You’re just about to send the creative team off to begin the project, or you’re about to send your brief to the ad agency, when you get a call or an email. Stop. The brief needs work. Signed, your boss. What happened? Here are some pointers to smooth the way, […]

The creative brief is about subtraction not addition.

As we are about to add another year to the calendar, it’s time to remind brief writers about the importance of subtraction. The creative brief, by design, by definition, is about strategic reduction. It is about stripping away excesses to arrive at the ideal essence of your brand. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, […]

Creatives must contribute to the creative brief before the creative briefing.

Well duh. But you’d be surprised how often this seemingly obvious piece of advice is never followed. I remember a workshop I delivered to an ANA member a few years ago. It was for a national paint brand. When I asked about their existing process, I was told that marketers, who typically wrote briefs for […]

Six ideas on how to write better single-minded propositions.

No one wants to write a bad single-minded proposition. I get it. There’s a ton of pressure on you to not just write the damn thing, but to write a brilliant one. When everyone expects, well, Just Do It, anyone would shrivel up into a dried-out raisin. So here’s my advice. Number One: Save the […]

What no one says about the creative brief.

The creative brief is old school. The creative brief is dead. The creative brief inhibits creativity. The creative brief does not guarantee good creative. (This one is true.) All of these statements have popped up in the trades, on social media, in conversations, at conferences and award shows. They have been heard before. But what […]

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