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Better Communications Briefs
6 Steps to Writing a Succinct & Inspiring Communications Brief

You’ve been through multiple rounds of creative development, and you just aren’t cracking the brief? Your agency and your team are frustrated. Tensions are running high.


As the client, you may be questioning your agency's ability to deliver what you had in mind. In some instances, this may well be the case but before you call it quits, take another look at your brief, because there is a good chance it is the cause.


A good, honest review will probably reveal one of three potential problems:

1.      the brief is not clear on the job to be done and the outcomes expected

2.      the brief is too long & detailed and therefore too open to (incorrect) interpretation by the agency.

3.      the language used or the depth of the insights in the brief aren't inspiring enough to spark the distinctive ideas you are seeking.

Our 6 Step process will have you crafting succinct & inspiring briefs that engage agencies & result in game-changing ideas


Step 1: Be crystal clear on why you are writing the brief and the results you need the work to achieve. We advertise to grow brands and achieve both commercial and brand health objectives. Your agency needs to know what your end game is. What is the business challenge this brief is addressing? How will you ultimately measure the success of their work? What is the scale and impact expected from the work? Which needle do you need to move and by how much? Some people will be reading this tip thinking it is a given ......but it is often forgotten or really unclear.

Step 2: Your description of your target audience should be rich with attitudinal and behavioural insight, not just a demographic profile. It should also clearly outline the degree of knowledge and interest they have of the brand/category and the mindset they will be in when they receive your communication .eg Where do they sit in the awareness to adoption journey? Will they be open & receptive to the messages or do they have significant barriers that need to be overcome?

Step 3: You have identified an unmet need or problem to be solved and have dug deep enough to articulate the REAL cause of the problem, in a way that inspires the creative team to develop ideas that get noticed. Consumers are more likely to listen to brands who 'get them' so communication is significantly more effective when you demonstrate a deeper level of understanding and empathy.


Step 4: Your solution to this problem and your key communication message is meaningful to consumers. It must also be credible and backed by strong reasons to believe. This is where you will need to make a choice to be single-minded and not include a laundry list of possible rational and emotional benefits. You must choose the message that will inspire consumers to take the action you desire.


Step 5: The outcome you want from the communications is clear. That is the specific behaviour or attitude change you want the campaign to deliver. This is critical as agencies will need to gauge how emotionally charged or functionally straight forward the communication needs to be. It will determine if the communication needs to leave you with a greater affinity towards the brand or if a specific call to action is required.


Step 6: The intended tone and personality are distinctive and authentic. To ensure the agency response is “on brand” you need to give a clear description of who your brand is and how it behaves. A brands personality and the tone of their communication is a key strategic tool helping build brand meaning and distinction, so don't just fill this line in with a few commonly used adjectives. Bring your brand to life and support it with imagery.

Workshop outputs

During the COMMS BRIEF WRITING workshop, we will step you through each key question using our signature tools and templates, inspire and entertain you with case studies of brands who are ‘doing it well’.


You will leave with:


  • A clear action plan on how to provide succinct, inspiring briefs for your creative, media, design or content agency

  • Your next Communication Brief is 80% written.  The strategic intent and key messaged will be mapped out.  You'll just need to word-smith, refine and get it approved

  • A tool kit that's yours to keep and use every time you need to write a Communications Brief.  Or any brief for that matter!

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why write briefs with

Anne Ricci?

in brand management & marketing leadership roles culminating as a Global Marketing Director


helping build Marketing Excellence & Capability across the globe


During the workshop I will be using strategy & planning processes & tools that I have developed and refined over decades of writing my own brand plans and helping my clients write theirs. The process is based on all the relevant theory but has been proven & tested in the real world many, many times.

Check me out on LinkedIn


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