The Creative Brief
How many times have our work days been littered with thoughts like: “This client is a nightmare!”; “This creative is not doing what we want them to do!”?
Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t nightmare clients. I am also not saying that there aren’t nightmare creatives.
In the name of a digestible word count, let’s call them “bad c’s”. The “bad c’s” disappear, underdeliver, overpromise, behave inappropriately, treat you demeaningly, contact you at ridiculous hours of the night. Or worse, over weekends.
I could literally whale away on the type and kind of make up of a “bad c”. And I just might later on. For now though, let’s focus on the solution. Because fact bomb: focussing on problems will get nobody, nowhere, no time soon!
Outside of the realm of a “bad c”, which is just a disaster waiting to unfold, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what could contribute to causing miscommunications in creative projects. Is the client not informed or aware of the process well enough? Is the creative difficult to deal with, stubborn and/or not open to feedback?
I don’t have an answer. But, what I do have, is the idea that maybe we could be communicating better with each other at the start of a project. Maybe I could create a kind of flexible template I can send to clients in order to gather as much relevant information I might need for the project. And maybe, should I ever be in the position of “the client”, I could fill this out and send it to creatives as a brief in order to get accurate costings, scopes, and timelines for my project.
This is not a silver bullet. But it just might help elevate some of the stresses that we all experience when it comes to the start of the project. I also need to point out that this approach isn’t only targeted at animation, illustration and product briefs.
It can be adapted and applied to any creative brief, so go wild.
The most important thing worth mentioning here though, is to remember that we are all professionals, all of us are experts in our own specialised field.
The client is an expert regarding the topic, outcome, goals and elements of the project’s needs. They know which types and kinds of media would serve the project the best. The creative is an expert in their craft and ability to execute the project with the utmost care, consideration and skill. The point here is. Let’s not work for each other, rather with each other.
And if you see a shit storm approaching on the horizon, whichever side of the brief you are on, you communicate it loud, clear, concise and most importantly, immediately! If your “c” is a professional, reasonable, logical and generally nice human being, the response to any flag should be appreciated and focus must be turned at either preventing and/or treating the problem before, or as it happens.
“The point here is. Let’s not work for each other, rather with each other.”
And if you are sitting with a “bad c”… well, we all kind of know how that is going to go down. If you suspect you have approached or been approached by a “bad c”, something feels off, your food suddenly tastes bland, you experience sweaty palms or you’d rather be on come dine with me than send that email, you’re probably right. Get out!
And get out early.