How to Write a Communications Brief

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Once a marketing plan has been written and an advertising agency (and/or other specialist agency) appointed there will soon come a time when the agency needs to be briefed on a specific project.

When briefing specialist marketing agencies, it is both unacceptable unprofessional to rely solely on a verbal exchange of information. It is essential that the client’s needs are clearly communicated and retained by the agency as a matter of record. It is equally important that the client and the agency have a clear and common understanding of what is being briefed and the nature of the response required.

Here is a template for writing a communications brief that is borne out of many years of experience of imparting and receiving communications briefs:

Introduction

A brief introduction to what the brief contains and the nature of the project. Also an expectation of what the client expects the agency to deliver as a result of the brief and when it is expected to be delivered

Nature of Product or Service

A brief description of the product or service.

Role of Product or Service

What the product or service does or delivers for the end user.

Target Audiences

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Shareholders

Marketing/ Promotional History and Results

A digest of recent market and marketing data with more detail, in the form of research reports, appended if possible

Competitors

A table showing the main competitors and the product or service that they each deliver and its relative performance ranking in the marketplace.

Nature and Role of the Communications Task

The type of communication (advertising, direct marketing etc.) that is envisaged and the role that it is expected to perform.

Prime Communication Statement

What is the single, most important fact that it is desirable for the target audiences to recall having been exposed to the communication?

Secondary Communication Statements

What are the statements that support the prime communication statement – no more than five or six.

Brand Image

Represenation of any visual imagery associated with the product or service should be included for reference purposes. It should also be made clear if there is any scope for adapting this imagery or if it is fixed

Corporate Image

A statement about how the business wants to be perceived by its various target audiences. This is a desire on the part of the business and is not controllable.

Corporate Identity

Not to be confused with corporate image. Corporate identity is the visual identity of the business. It is controllable by the business (unlike the image). Sometimes simply referred to as the logo.

Budget

To include both the creation and execution of the communications activity.

Timing

When the activity is expected to begin and to end.

This template will work for all your communications briefs and will ensure that you and your chosen communications supplier have a common and clear undertsanding of what is expected.

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