Writing Digital Briefs
The briefing process for any creative agency is probably the most vital aspect to a successful outcome of client and agency expectations. The funny thing is that we’re been marketers for decades yet not every brand manager has the ability to brief their agency is a concise and effective manner. Brief your agency well and we will deliver on all of your expectations, brief us badly and you will be disappointed. It’s like asking someone to get you a fizzy drink and then saying you wanted Coke not Sprite – big difference.
If you thought ATL briefs needed to be concise, digital briefs need to be even more concise as the nature of the medium is slightly more complex with multiple platform and asset types.
Before you start writing or discussing a digital brief with your agency, you must decide what your goals for digital are as a brand and as an organization, these will vary from category to category and brand to brand – it’s important to come up with your own personal goals as opposed to trying to match someone else’s i.e. “Page X has this many likes so we want the same number”. Make sure that you realize the difference in goals between the performance of each campaign and the performance of your digital space as an overall. Make sure your goals are realistic for your allocated budget, market and category.
If you’re going into digital for the first time try not to set extremely specific goals such as bounce rate or the number of monthly visits unless you really understand what those figures mean, instead focus on an overall expectation of interaction for the website i.e. “We want comments on our blogs”, “We want repeat visits” or “We want people to visit the page for product X”. Once you’ve created platforms and have begun to understand how the platforms live and breathe you can start defining actual numbers based on history. For those of you well versed in digital communication, set specific numerical goals for you agencies according to each type of asset or platform – if your brand has a history of being online your agency should be able to give you projected figures within a reasonable ballpark of accuracy.
Here are some questions to lead the writing of your digital briefs:
Why do you want to use digital?
Tell your agency why you want to use the digital medium. Do you want to reach out to existing consumers for CRM, use digital to drive sales or simply communicate? If you simply want to experiment because you’re not sure what the medium can do for you just yet, let your agency know – that’s ok!
What is the current or proposed brand “Big Idea”?
Make sure you let your agency know what the brand’s big idea is so that they are sure to incorporate it into the communication pillar of your digital assets.
What are the main communication objectives?
What do you want to say to your consumers? Remember digital is about more than just one-way communication; what conversations do you want to have?
What are the main business objectives?
Pure marketing isn’t the only reason for using digital; are there any specific business objectives that you want to achieve i.e. do you want to sell online? Do you want consumers to provide distribution issue information?
What digital assets do you currently have?
Be sure to let your agency know if you have any existing digital assets such as websites or social media pages, and also let them know what the status of those assets is.
What digital assets would you like to create?
Although your agency will be able to determine the best platforms for your brand, do let them know if there’s anything in particular you would like to or need to use. A lot of agencies don’t necessarily suggest industry specific social media networks; if there is one for your industry you should be using it.
What is the background?
You must always give your agency background information regarding the industry and category you operate in along with the background of your brand and all of its products. Let them know what barriers you’ve faced in previous campaigns and whats worked in the past and what hasn’t.
Who is your target audience?
Without knowing who your target audience is your agency will not be able to create ideas that connect with the relevant audience. What are the demographics and psychographics of the people you want to reach, what is their online behavior? This is one of the most important pieces of information you need to provide.
What is the consumer insight?
What are people saying about your brand, product and category? Who is doing the talking? Are they consumers, competitors or experts? What do they think? What makes them tick? What problems or aspirations do they have? This may or may not be related to your product or service.
What is your total digital budget?
This one is always controversial! A lot of brand managers believe that disclosing a budget to the agency will limit their creative ideas to that budget. When you disclose your budget your agency is able to come up with doable ideas that link into each other more effectively. Tell your agency what your budget is so they can come back with things you can actually execute – digital is a medium that’s all about execution!
Key Performance Indicators
Once you have decided what your goals are you need to set expectations for your agency, that way you will know if your campaigns and presence have been successful. The KPI’s that you select will depend on the platforms you use and the nature of your brand. The best way to set these is to sit with your agency and outline what is important to you.
Good luck and “Hello World!”