When do you know you’ve written a good creative brief?

If you want to make money, invite your creative team to a poker game. You’ll win. Creatives have terrible poker faces. I know. I’m a former creative. When we have a good hand, it’s hard to hide it. That’s the way we are about most things in life. We wear our emotions on our faces, our shirt sleeves, on our shoes, everywhere.

It’s hard to hide what we’re thinking, especially what we’re feeling. We’re visceral folk. We’re asked to connect with our customers—existing, potential, sometimes both—and we learn how to do that from practice. We know how to push the right emotional buttons. Our ideas, our copy, our design all conspire to make that emotional connection.

It’s not lying. It’s not being deceptive. We’re accused of that. Often. But that’s not what we do. When we’re at our best, we creatives find the right emotion and create a bit of empathy—you and me, we know a truth about an experience, a place, a thing we like to use or wear. We get the why.

Think of the best advertising campaigns and you can feel it. How those Harley Davidson ads make you want to ditch everything and hit the road, even if, like me, you’re deathly afraid of motorcycles. Who cares if I break my neck? I want that feeling.

Pick your favorite ad campaign and remember how it connected with you. That’s what we do when we’re at our best. We feel what everyone feels and we, better than anyone else on the planet, can put it into words or pictures or sounds.

So if you want to test your creative brief, find out if you’ve written something that will inspire the best ideas from us, your creative team, show it to us and then step back. Look at our faces, our body language, our eyebrows, whether we’re squirming in our seats. Are we smiling? Nodding our heads?

If the answer is yes, you’ve probably won the jackpot. Your brief is pretty good. Doesn’t have to be a Royal Flush either. Full house, even three-of-a-kind will do.

You wrote the brief for us. So make us feel something. Make it impossible to hide what you wanted us to feel. That’s a great test.

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