Communication briefs have been around since the very early days of Marketing. There are many variations on the theme depending who uses them and for what purpose.
For example, the inputs for designing a logo are different from those needed to write a whitepaper. You will also see the term itself used interchangeably as a “creative brief,” “marketing brief,” or simply, a “brief.” I prefer the word “communication” in it because that’s what it ends up being all about.
Call it what you will, the purpose is the same. A communication brief is a document that’s coupled with a formal process. The intent is to provide whoever creates some form of content, with the context and specific information needed to convey a message to the right target audience – in the most impactful way possible. It also provides the client or internal stakeholders a view of what will take place.
Communication briefs are used between clients and agencies, or other service providers. They are often used within larger marketing departments in some form or other. Personally, I believe they should always be done because it forces you to think carefully about the project. That leads to a higher quality product and better results.
We have provided a template of our communication brief here if you want to modify and use it for your purposes. This version is used with existing clients where we already know the background – the company, products, customer insights, competitors, and so on. You will certainly want to add this additional information on a first project.
Advantages of Using Communication Briefs
Yes, they take time, and who likes documentation right? However, when you invest the time up front, the job will be far easier, the client will be happier, and you will create a superior deliverable. I’ve cited some of the high-level benefits already, but some of the other advantages that communication briefs offer are as follows:
- goals and objectives have been discussed and clearly understood by all involved
- the timing and process for completing the content have been established and agreed to by everyone – this makes sure reasonable expectations have been set on both sides
- everybody working on the project knows exactly what their respective roles will be during the process
- makes sure you have the transfer of knowledge needed to do the work – you can’t create anything useful without this!
- there is an explicit approval process – this always ends up being shorter and easier with a communication brief
- You build a repository that can be drawn upon for similar work – this saves a good deal of time later
- regardless of the medium, the most important reason to use a communication brief is to create the strongest messaging for the target audience you can
- going through the process in a collaborative way brings more perspective and ideas to the table
- allows for more consistent messaging since you have previous briefs from similar projects to reference – you may end up making adjustments though based on previous results
Unacceptable, Lame and Over-Used Excuses!
Assuming the CRM “house” is in order, no salesperson worth the title should have a reason to make any of the following claims. If they are, I suspect it’s part of a larger issue. As you will see, I’m being a bit playful with this. But I know sales managers continue to get these excuses because I occasionally still hear them in my travels.
I hope some of this has been helpful. If you are so inclined, please share any thoughts or experiences you have on this topic. Contact us if we can help in any way, or offer some quick advice. Subscribe? If you want to receive notification of future Think2Grow blogs, fill in the subscribe section on the sidebar above. To follow us on your favorite social feed, select it below.