There seems to be a never ending friction between business owners and agencies when it comes to executing projects. In dealing with this, it is important for businesses to find the balance between being crystal clear about their objectives while also leaving the brief open ended enough to allow the agency to really bring their creativity and expertise to bear on the project.
When you have a request that you have determined to articulate in a brief, it is important that you follow some best practices so as to be able to maximize the opportunity that is presenting itself. Here are a few of the benefits of a properly laid out briefing process:
- reduced overall costs and a better ROI
- effective use of time spent in communicating requirements to the agency
- the flexibility to examine other solutions that might not have been thought of from the beginning
Let’s quickly take a look at the 5 best practices in creating a brief that will make the proposed project fly whilst making all parties involved happy:
Don’t rush a brief
There is a tendency to urgently create a brief due to multiple reasons such as the project is being time sensitive, fear of an opportunity being lost or even pressure from a target being met. Rather than rushing and ending up with poor results, it is essential that you are patient with the process of creating a brief.
In addition to this, you would want to involve key stakeholders early on in the brief creation process. Endeavour to get contributions from members of your team early. In the end, you would have secured the buy-in of your team and avoid the possibility of halting the project or slowing the pace down because key stakeholders on your team were caught unawares.
Be crystal clear about your goals and objectives
Before putting pen to paper on your brief, have you consulted with your team and deliberated on the following points?
- What are the major drivers for the project?
- Is the aim of the project to solve a problem or service an opportunity?
- What is the strategic value of the project to the business?
- What is the appropriate investment suitable for the project?
- How much time is necessary and affordable?
There is much value to be obtained when all hands are on deck in providing a solution to a common problem(s).
Avoid assuming the solution
Make sure that the brief is focused on the problem to be solved or the goal or overall objective of the campaign, which could be the consumer benefit. Assumptions are not necessary because this is the point that your agency comes in. You should develop a robust but flexible brief so that your agency display their magic and provide the exceptional solution you are looking for which might not have even being obvious to you. Leverage on your agency’s skills and experience. Put them to the test. See what they can do.
Ensure the scope is broad
Now that you have decided that the project is worth penning down in a brief, then you need to scope it out properly. If the scope of work is poorly developed, do not be surprised at the project delay and expenses pressure that ensue. Put in the required time in developing a detailed scope for the project.
Ensure you and your agency are on the same page
On our own part, as an agency, we work in close partnership with our clients in order to make sure that we all are clear on the set of challenges and the solution to be deployed. What we do is to consult with the client using the very best channels available. We ensure that no project is undertaken unless both parties have the same understanding of the job that is to be done and how it is to be done.
You are free to request that your agency consider alternative ways of dealing with the project to guarantee a greater result for less or equal investment. If this causes friction between yourself and the agency, that’s ok. Simply walk them through your thought processes in greater detail.
You should also note the following:
- Set a series of milestones and request for feedback on the proposed budget and timeline from your agency.
- Make sure your team thoroughly understands the part your digital agency has to play in providing the best solutions possible, of course, on the back of a solid briefing process.
- If all your agency is doing to fix their charges next to your ideas without providing any insight or added value to your ideas, you should probably change your agency.
Never forget, the stronger your brief, the higher the chances of project success in terms of delivery, timeliness and budget consciousness.
What do you include in your brief?
- The background of the business and the reason for the project.
- Your target audience/user/buyer persona i.e. a thorough explanation and profiling of those most likely to buy from you or use your service.
- Previous learnings: Has your company engaged in a similar project in the past? Share as much detail as possible.
- User experience: Why would the target user benefit from the asset? What do they stand to gain?
- Action: What primary action would you want the target user to take?
- Timeline: Time available would always impact the quality and the budget of the project. Give as much time as you can to ensure that you get the best solutions possible.
- KPIs: How do you intend to measure success? Define them.