A Brief Moment in an Account Executive’s Time
Learning how to work well with clients is an essential part of a creative group, as is writing a spot-on creative brief. Picture it: You’ve just been introduced to a new potential client. You talked a little about what you do and established that you might be able to work together. By the end of the conversation, you’ve got a meeting set up for them to come tour your office and hear more about what your company can offer theirs. Prior to the meeting, you research their company, learn what they do, what products or service they sell, company values, what they believe in, what social media outlets they use, and check if they have a website.
The day of the meeting arrives, and you talk back and forth, scribbling down as many notes as you can, coming up with ideas on the spot. You and the new client are super excited to work together, and then the meeting ends. As an account executive, you’re left wondering if you’ve asked all of the right questions. Do you have exactly what you need in order to begin designing/generating quotes? Is what you think they want from you actually what they asked for?
Take it from me — these things can and WILL happen, and they happen to the best of us. You turn in a design project, something you were sure they’d love, only to find out that’s not at all they were looking for. This is where a detailed design brief can save your life, and sometimes save a potential new relationship with a client. If done properly, the creative brief should be able to answer all of the questions that you need to begin the project.
When creating a design brief, you should imagine anything and everything that you might possibly need to complete the entire project. There is never too much information that you can ask for in a creative brief.
You’ve already got the first steps done when you research their website — such as knowing the content of their social media accounts, news articles, blogs, etc. — so the questions you ask should shed more light into the actual project at hand. Here are 10 simple questions that will give you the information you need to start your creative brief:
Instead of letting them sell their company to you, have them talk to you about it. Why did they start? How did they get to where they are now? How long have they been in business? What is their specialty product or service? Have them talk to you as if they were talking to a friend about why they love their business, not as if they are trying to sell it to you. What are they most proud of about their company?
Why are they looking for your help? Do they need specific materials to complete their project? Knowing the extent of the campaign, the type of platforms, and how the logo will be used will greatly benefit you during the design process.
This is pretty straightforward. Get as much detail as possible. Do they know exactly who is purchasing their product or service? Can they visually see that person?
What do they offer that others don’t? What makes them unique to get consumers to use them over their competitors? Why do they want to do things differently than their competition?
Do they want to be more high-end, or relaxed? Are they into technology? Do they like clean lines? What colors call out to them? This is also a great time to ask what colors their competitors are using (if you don’t know already). Try to steer them away from that if at all possible. You do not want them to start to morph into their competitor — that can be detrimental to their brand. What kind of fonts calls out to them?
Are they needing a logo rebrand to change their image? Do they need to sell more products, gain more social media followers?
This is a critical part of any campaign, and unfortunately one of the ones that are frequently forgotten to ask about. The last thing you want to do is design something their budget can’t afford, so keep in mind what the budget is before the design process begins.
Who is the main contact person designated for approval processes? Do they want you to present concepts via email, Skype, or in person?
This is pretty straightforward, but try to get as much information about this in your creative brief as possible. Do they feel anything in particular is already working that they do not wish to get rid of? What do they feel is lacking?
This piece of information is very important. Be sure you have all of the information and materials you need from the client before you begin your work.
All of these questions are not always necessary for every single creative brief, but remember the more information you have, the more successful you’re going to be.
In case you’re a bit new to this, there are tons of templates that you can download online, or you can simply create your own. Get creative with your design brief. After all, that’s what you do best, or you wouldn’t even be reading this article!
Good luck out there.