The ability to develop clear, concise and informative briefs is an important skill for persons aspiring to careers in the marketing and advertising industry. As briefs for advertising material or activities are normally based on specifications provided by a person other than the person that must develop the brief,

advertising

it is often necessary to gather additional information that was not included in the specification but crucial to a good brief.

Advertising and production contexts

Two words that you will come across when speaking about briefs in the creative industry are advertising ‘content’ and ‘context’. So what do we mean when talking about content and how does it differ from context?

  • Content refers to meaning, theme or idea, whereas
  • Context refers to the frame of reference, ambience, circumstances, conditions, connection, background or situation.

Advertising and production contexts must complement each other as without consideration of how each impact on the other, a message may go unnoticed or may not be understood correctly. When developing advertising briefs you need to factor in advertising and production contexts to ensure that the message you are sending will result in the desired response. Simply stated, when developing advertising briefs you must consider both the intent of the brief as well as the vehicle used to deliver it.

Advertising and production must consider how to make consumers feel that the product or service being promoted is uniquely designed for their current needs.

Context must consider attributes such as situations, geographical location, age, income, interests, etc. to ensure that both advertising and production contexts are focused on getting the message through to the correct audience.

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Collect the given specifications

A specification provides criteria to achieve a desired outcome. In most cases, it is a document that outlines the purpose and process of a creative endeavour.

The information given in a specification is linked to a specific commodity or service and the amount of information given in a specification could range from simplistic to complex depending on the nature of the commodity or service.

Before accepting the responsibility of delivering a brief based on a specification be sure that you have been given sufficient information and that all your questions are answered.

There are 10 areas of information that you should be able to determine and your specification is your starting point:

  1. Background Summary
  2. Overview
  3. Drivers
  4. Audience
  5. Competitors
  6. Tone
  7. Message
  8. Visuals
  9. Details
  10. People

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What the advertising brief can do

Briefs can be developed for specific media such as television, audio-visual, graphics or, alternatively, magazines. In addition, briefs can also specify the creation of specific moods, tones as well as sound. Briefs may also include requirements for specific locations, venues and/or equipment.

To illustrate this concept if the campaign is to advertise a film, there can be several briefs providing specifications for the following:

  • Television interviews with the producer, director and main characters
  • Posters for the theatres prior to and during the screening period
  • Briefs to suitable radio, magazines and television programmes to discuss the film