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Key Elements of an Advertising Brief

Friday, February 9, 2018

Article By Pamela Gwanzura

Impactful advertising campaigns are born out of a good and comprehensive brief from the client to the advertising agency. Once a client is very clear about key sellable attributes about their product or services, they make the job of the creative advertising agency simpler. In order for the creative process to be done well, it’s imperative that the client should submit a full brief with information, which will give the advertising agency direction on the desired outcome. We look closely at some key elements of an advertising brief that goes from a client to an advertising agency.

1.      What problem is being resolved through the campaign or advert (what need is being addressed)?


It is important for the client to clearly outline the need or problem that will be addressed through the campaign or advertisement. Is it the announcement of a new product, is it a promotion announcement, is it an awareness build up about the product or is it a solution drive after discovering that there is a group of consumers who have specific needs.


2.      Who is the target market we are problem solving for?

It is important for the client to clearly define who the targeted consumer is. Demographics such as gender, age, living standards measures level and other such elements should be incorporated. These help the advertising agency to crystallise in their minds who the targeted consumer is, and this in turn allows them to have more precision in the execution of the advertising campaign. For example products such as make up, are very female oriented and depending on the shade of make-up you are selling, one would appeal to the African(black) community, while the lighter shades, would have a high appeal towards the females of a fairer complexion including those referred to as ‘whites’, ‘coloureds’ and the Asians.


3.      What is the consumer insight?

This refers to any additional information that the client may have about the targeted consumer. It could be information retrieved from research or random feedback. Insights give indicators that help the advertising agency’s creative team to be deliberate about ensuring that the advertising talks to those targeted.


4.      What facts and emotional reasons will make targeted people buy?

This refers to the key drivers that would make people buy the product. These are crucial in that they shape the way the messaging is crafted. It also gives direction to the type of communication or visuals to be used, whether print, whether audio or audio visuals. It also gives direction to the wording to be used in the adverts. In buying specific products, consumers will often be fulfilling specific emotional needs they may be having. For example, there are many ladies that buy chocolates to lighten up their moods. There are some males that consume alcohol to feel masculine and in control.


5.       What are the key points that need to be communicated to the consumer? What will make buyers believe the communication?

Once a client is clear on the emotional needs they will be addressing, they will be clearer on how to position their product and also what attributes of it to zoom in on so that the product is sellable. Those attributes become the unique differentiators to be communicated to the targeted consumers. Based on the supplied information from the client, there should be facts that the advertising agency will creatively use to make the messaging believable to the targeted consumers.


6.      What channels and tactics will we use to communicate the message?

A client can give indicators of the channels that they think would work for the communication or campaign and state the reasons why. The advertising agency based on their expertise still have the leeway to conclude on the most appropriate channels and tactics to be used but it is more progressive when it is a team effort. Channels include platforms such as newspapers, radio, TV, outdoor media or social media, to mention a few.


7.      What should be the tone of the messaging? What words describe the brand?

The tone of the messaging determines the hook factor in terms of people being drawn to the adverts or away from them. The tone also demonstrates an understanding of the people one is talking to or reaching out to. A fun, animated and playful tone will appeal to the younger consumers such as kids. A serious steady and business like tone will have a greater appeal to the business people and it grabs their attention from the first few words spoken or written. Choice of words resonate with certain brands and specific consumers. For example, ‘Its bhoo neChibuku’ (from the Chibuku brand), does not need to be explained to the targeted consumers. It resonates with the people for whom it’s intended.


8.      What action do we want people to take after viewing the marketing?

Ultimately we are aware of the profit motive as a result of advertising. Often the packaged advert evokes a certain desired action or response that will lead one to actually purchase the product and consume it. For example, a smoking cold drink evokes thirst or good food evokes hunger etc.


9.      What are the goals of the campaign? How will we measure success?

Most corporates need to become specific on the goals of their advertising campaigns. They need to be specific on the number of units to be sold and the profit aimed at. Such specific goals assist the advertising agency in coming up with a campaign that is tailored towards those specific goals. It is this specificity that will also provide a benchmark against which the final results of the campaign can be measured. It is undoubted that at the end of the campaign there is a need to look at the Return on investment (ROI) that is all the money spent on the product and the advertising versus what the advertising achieved. The trend among most clients nowadays, is they would like every dollar spent on advertising to be stretched as much as possible.


10. What brand guidelines should we be aware of? What mandatory information must be included in the marketing?

Most corporates especially global brands work with a brand manual that gives indicators of the brand framework such as brand colours, brand logo and how it should it be applied on different items. These brand dos and don’ts are crucial for the advertising agency to be aware of as this allows them to be creative without messing up the brand’s DNA. There are instances however, where certain organisations are new on the market and they actually do not have this brand history or manual. In such instances, the advertising agency needs to be proactive in advising the client on the importance of such a manual and in the same vein they must create one for the client as this will become the reference point for all their creative work in future.


11. Who is the competition?

Knowing   who your competition is, is a non-negotiable when you are embarking on an advertising campaign. This not only guides the form and style of communication, it also dictates the most appropriate channels to be used as well the style of messaging. The underlying aim being to ensure that you lure the consumers towards your product or service and deflect their attention from competitors. Clients must ensure that they share all competitor information with the agency. This equips the agency with sufficient ammunition to ensure that their creative execution annihilates the competition.


12.  Target launch date

The launch date must be communicated by client to the agency as this allows the agency to correctly prioritise the client’s campaign among other jobs. Advertising agencies work strictly with deadlines, it is not a live job within the system unless it has a deadline attached to it.


13. Approvals

No artwork must be used publicly without sign off by client. Approvals are important  for the client and for the agency. Written approvals in the form of signatures act as the safeguard against the wrong information being sent out.


With more detailed advertising briefs, we should see better, more meaningful campaigns being churned out in our market.


Pamela Gwanzura is a communication specialist and a seasoned marketer. She is currently running her own consultancy called Tangible Communications. She can be reached on pgwanzura@gmail.com


This article was contributed on behalf the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, a leading body of marketing professionals promoting professionalism to the highest standards for the benefit of the industry and the economy at large. For any further information kindly contact mazmembership@mazim.co.zw or visit the website on www.maz.co.zw.

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