There's been a lot of focus on changing the creative brief. We got rid of it and opened a whole new door to creativity.

As we know it, the creative brief hasn't evolved since the heyday of the Mad Men era of the '60s. Social media was 35 years away, Mark Zukerberg wasn't even born, and phones had rotary dials. Today, everything has changed, but the brief. Many agencies have tried to make them shorter, which usually leads to the same amount of information only under fewer headers. Others have changed the design without changing the content. 

The problem isn't the brief, but rather how we use it. During a briefing, the brief is, more often than not, read to the creative teams (who know how to read). There's little room for discussion at the end of story-time by a planner or an account lead, and the creative teams are left uninspired. The creative brief is a confined document, yet creativity for problem-solving knows no boundaries. As Dave Trott says, "the brief was always supposed to be a springboard for great work, not a straitjacket." The creative brief is a reliance on a written document versus a focus on the creative process.

Additionally, the typical approach to a creative brief is wasteful and redundant to our clients' hard work put into writing their agency brief. Planners and account teams rewrite client briefs with a focus on making them shorter, eliminating much-needed context. It's a process that not only squanders time and money, but it doesn't bring clarity or added value beyond the original client brief. 

The brief doesn't need reinvention. It needs to be thrown out. And a better, more efficient, and inspiring process can take its place. At Full Punch, our view is that a brief doesn't belong in the briefing. We've eliminated the word "brief" from our agency vocabulary. Instead, we are continually living and experiencing our client's brands. Everyone at the agency knows what they stand for, has a thorough understanding of the competition, and what new products and services are in the pipeline. With that knowledge as a baseline, the briefing has become a collaborative working session where we generate ideas, challenge the status quo, and begin the creative process, rather than a meeting to discuss what's in the brief. This fresh approach kicks off the creative process faster and leads to higher quality and increased quantity of ideas that align with our goals and objectives.

Published by Jack Dayan
As Partner and Head of Strategy at Full Punch, Jack brings intelligence, expertise, and ingenuity to help companies define their brand values and make them shine. His strategic and creative work has been recognized and awarded around the world, and clients find his collaborative and agile approach to brand planning a welcome break from the traditional.

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