The Creative Brief: An Advertising Agency Cheat Sheet

Written by 5ivecanons Staff

Are you trigger happy when it comes to the creative process at your advertising agency or marketing department? Do you head straight to the production stage before putting together a basic creative brief? Do you often find yourself having to go back to the drawing board time and time again? Then, this brief is for you. This is the secret to an advertising agency’s golden ideas: a vision.

1. Who are you talking to?

It’s important to have a target audience for effective marketing communication whether you work at an advertising agency, you’re developing a personal brand, or you’re a marketing director at a large corporation. Developing a target will help you get a better idea on what direction to take with production and executing. This may seem pretty obvious but for some, this step can be overlooked. When you kick something off; stop, take a moment, and think about who you’re trying to reach with your message – you can avoid a lot of careless mistakes.

Talking Jim Carrey GIF

2. What are you saying?

Once you’ve identified who you’re talking to, what are you going to say? I would compare this step to a scene from The Office when Kevin and Angela are both called out for speaking just to speak. Figure out what your message is before you execute. There’s a difference between sitting down brainstorming, sketching ideas, critiquing, executing versus jumping into production and putting random ideas together in Photoshop hoping for something great. Don’t waste your time (or your client’s / company’s).

the office a benihana christmas GIF


3. How are you saying it? 

Now that you know your audience and you know what you want to say – how are you going to say it? You can’t rely on Photoshop to compartmentalize your ideas into a cohesive product, that takes brain power and thoughtful reflection.

For example, you need to pump out a keyword rich blog for “Jacksonville Advertising Agency” and the process of executing a search initiative. You know that you will be speaking to those in your industry and perhaps someone searching for a marketing agency. After writing a couple of drafts, you know that you want to break down the steps into a brief and expand on the development of a concept. In the final step, you decide to take the route of the “listicle” to best portray and execute your writing.

black think about it GIF by Identity

When you go straight to executing following the genesis of a microcosm of an idea… you miss crucial steps in the planning phase and therefore leave a whole lot of room for errors that could affect your overall message. Slow your roll and ask yourself three questions before executing anything. To see the results of this process from our creative advertising agency, check out any examples from our incredible agency portfolio for further clarification. 


Jim Carrey: Image Source

The Office:Image Source

Thinking:  Image Source