It started with a brief…

Advertising | Marketing

Tuesday 15th November, 2016

At Big Cat we recognise that all great work begins with an equally great brief. Here to discuss the components of a fantastic brief and how to deliver it is Oliver Richards, our resident Marketing Senior Account Manager and office ‘botanist’ (i.e. he actually waters the plants)…

For those of you who may not have come across the online service WARC, let me introduce you to your new fountain of marketing knowledge: It offers advertising best practice, evidence and insights from the world’s leading brands and recently released an article musing on the issues and developments of modern briefs.

However, its rather long, so I’ve been super nice and picked out the top 8 particularly awesome points and how they relate to the Big Cat pride’s approach to briefs. Plus, some of my own ramblings – lucky you!

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  1. “…we are in the differentiation business, yet we fail to differentiate.”– Agency to agency, client to client, the brief structure is the same. How can we use briefs differently? The below might come in handy…


  1. “BBH’s Sir John Hegarty espoused: ‘The brief is the first ad in the campaign. It’s my job to make it better.’ Due to that, the back of the brief would include various ‘potential ways in’ to be explored by the creative teams.”– At Big Cat, we use a ‘Creative Thought Starters’ section on our brief. This can seem superfluous but this comment identifies its necessity; presenting an unlimited opportunity to explore all potential ideas


  1. “…briefs are rarely designed. We believe that every document an agency produces should be beautiful.”– Damn straight. Can’t exactly call yourself a design agency, then have a brief dull as dishwater! The design of our briefs is treated with the same attention to detail as any Big Cat output.


  1. “Jung von Matt’s brief had a section in the middle called ‘The Bri’ that was printed on a beer mat because they believed the briefing should lead straight to the pub for discussion.” – However, they don’t include this, which sounds like it would definitely be beneficial to the creative process!


  1. “…writing a brief shouldn’t be like doing your taxes – it’s a creative act.”– There’s enough paperwork to get done, so we make sure the task of writing a brief embraces the creative side of our industry. That means stepping away from our desks and delving in!


  1. “…is a brief a question to be answered or a solution to be articulated? The answer is that it is both, but it’s a good idea to work out which kind your agency, creatives or clients are using.”– At Big Cat, we lean towards the latter i.e. ‘a solution to be articulated’. The creative proposition is our solution, the creative output is our articulation of this.


  1. “Ultimately, the briefing is often more important than the brief, as the job is to inspire – so get out of the office.” – See above point about the pub. All briefings should ideally centre around a drinking establishment. That’s science. If you need to get the ideas flowing though, its tough to beat a good, ol’ fashioned brainstorm! At Big Cat, we like to get people from ‘client’ to ‘creative’ mode by asking them to think of a terrible idea first (cue hilarious / wildly inappropriate suggestions), before exchanging and building on other, slightly less ridiculous, concepts.


  1. “The document itself is just the totem from Inception – as the creative exploration gets into weird, interesting territory, it’s the thing we look back at to make sure we’re still in the right world” – Great analogy. Creative teams should be encouraged to explore the realms of possibility, with the brief acting as a reference point for relevancy. Granted, those ideas may eventually need to be scaled back to meet a client’s budget, but who knows what spark they’ll ignite…


Anyways, that’s my 2p. Let’s hear your thoughts!

Written by Keshia Chauhan Marketing Account Manager

Tuesday 15th November, 2016

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