Briefing an Agency

7th August 2018

Hiring an agency, whether for design, PR or marketing, or any other creative service, can provide your business with access to a wealth of expertise and professionalism to help boost your brand and achieve business goals.

However, selecting and hiring the agency is just the first step. One of the most important aspects of a client-agency relationship is getting the briefing process set up and working properly. After all, the agency work can only ever be as good as the original brief.

Sadly, many clients come to agencies for work before they have a clear idea of what they need and this is where the relationship can become problematic. Without clear communication, frustration arises and time is wasted on work that won’t wash.

A creative brief, no matter what type of work the agency is carrying out, is the foundation of what will ultimately be delivered, so it’s really important to spend time to get the briefing as detailed and accurate as possible. At Frost Creative, we always work with our clients to ensure the brief is as detailed as possible before starting work on a project.

Most agencies are able to provide a brief template outlining all of the information they require which will typically include details about the organisation, the aims and objectives, budget, deadlines and all the creative and technical requirements.

But to help you out here is a quick guide of elements which you should include in any brief to a creative agency, to ensure you get the best possible outcome from them:

1. An overview of the business

This needs to include what your company sells; details of all the products and services as well as who your competitors are. You will need to provide information about where the company is positioned in the market and who the target audience is.

2. Detailed research on the target audience

While an agency can help you carry out this research if you need them to, if you are appealing to an audience you already know inside out, then provide the agency with as much information as you can about them, including what motivates them, what influences them and their character traits. This detail will help the agency develop appropriate communication materials.

3. The business objectives

Presumably there are targets and goals that the creative work you are commissioning needs to achieve so it’s good to share these with your agency. Tell them what problems the campaign will solve for the audience and what makes it unique. Share the business aims and objectives and how these will be measured.

4. Provide any guidance and corporate assets

If you have corporate design assets and brand guidelines in place then make sure you send these over with the brief and make it clear how stringently the creative ideas have to fit within the corporate guidelines.

5. An outline of the budget

Make sure your brief includes a budget so that the agency has an idea of the scale of the work to be carried out. It means everyone starts from the same page from the beginning and there will be no nasty surprises on either side when the invoices start coming in.

6. Deadlines

If it’s a large project which is broken down into deadlines and milestones then put these clearly into the brief so both sides know exactly what needs to be delivered and by when. Be realistic with timescales allowing time for changes, amendments and for elements to be printed or built.

These six elements should always be included when preparing a brief for an agency but if in doubt, just give your agency a call and ask them what more information they might require. It’s always better to give more details at the beginning than to try to change and adapt work to a revised brief halfway through a project.

If you are looking to hire a professional brand agency, please do drop us a line at gary@frostcreative.co.uk or give us call on 01489 892 602 where one of the team will be delighted to help.