How to write a brief

On this page, we’ll explain how to write a brief. To save time, use one of the templates we provide. You can download them from the links below.

We have briefing templates for TV commercials, Video production and a briefing template and Animated Explainer Videos. If you’ve got a project you would like to discuss, simply email the completed briefing document to slice@toasttv.co.uk

Why is a brief needed?

Writing a brief is the best way to convey your thoughts to a creative team.

It doesn’t need to be an in-depth exploration of everything about your company, the more focused on the current project, the better. The brief can include more extensive information, but it should always be related to the current project.

Getting everyone to focus

The process of writing a brief focuses minds. Sometimes it can be a painful process to boil down lots of ideas into a single document. It’s vital to focus on what needs to be in a video and what doesn’t.

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A single point of contact

Knowing who to talk to is one of the most critical elements of effective communication. Pick a primary point of contact and add them to the brief. Being sent feedback from a group can lead to unnecessary delays and duplication of work making account management more difficult.

Include the deadline

Add the deadline or any significant milestones to the brief. If it’s a rushed job with a short timeframe, it’s best for the production company to know about it early.

Innocent smoothie carton in park
eco marathon oxford team
security-video-explainer

What’s the intended outcome after watching?

The outcome is the most crucial part of the brief. What do you want the viewer to do or feel after watching the video? It can be as simple as clicking a button or visiting a website. Or it could involve thinking differently about a company or subject.

A concise outcome will drive the creative and distribution strategy so needs to be thoroughly thought through.

Who is it aimed at – the audience

Picking a target audience and defining a voice. Some messages need to appeal to a broader audience. If yours doesn’t, you have the freedom to target a tighter demographic.

The tone of Voice – Your brand’s personality

Your brand is more significant than just your product. Think carefully about how your brand should come across to the public. Describe the tone of voice to be used in your messaging as precisely as possible.

Single-minded message

Condense your message into a concise nugget of thought. The single-minded message will help focus the creatives to make sure this message comes across.

Is there a call to action?

How will the viewer interact with your video? If it’s a DRTV commercial are you including a toll-free number or URL? If you’re using interactive video, the CTA can be more involved and may lead to further user interactions.

Are there mandatories

Do you have to use a branded endframe or a specific typeface? They might feel like constraints, but a great creative team will find ways to get the best from your assets.

Please add a budget, even a ballpark

Knowing a ballpark budget when creating ideas is very useful. It’s tempting to ask creatives to “ignore the budget and give me your best ideas”. They will, and every script will start with “open on a palm-fringed beach”.

Trying to shoehorn those ideas into a realistic budget will lead to compromise and disappointment. Starting with a ballpark budget or budget ranges will mean you’ll receive the best ideas which will get the most from your budget.

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Who are your competitors

When writing the brief include information on your competitors. It might not always be apparent to those outside your industry who they are. It’s a useful exercise to see what your competitors are doing in their marketing campaigns.

Is there any research to include

If you have market research, stats from your website or information from your marketing teams, please add it. Having firm stats to construct a creative campaign around give you the certainty that the ideas are heading in the right direction.

What deliverables are required

Including all the possible delivery formats you’ll need helps steer the agency to deliver useful content. It also makes sure that creative has been originated to work across multiple platforms. Sometimes having delivery constraints can throw up unusual or surprising ideas which elevate the concept.

Campaign Measurements

If you know how the success of the campaign will be measured it’s good to let the agency know from the outset. In the TV advertising world, the days of buying media packages and hoping for the best are over.
Software that correlates TV adverts running with website visits means media spending success can be measured and optimised. Tracking of social media campaigns happens in real-time.

How many companies to brief?

The number of companies to work with is a tricky question and probably depends on the size of the project. If you’re creating the next round of Olympic pitch films, you’ll want to see ideas from all the talent in the country.

If you’re creating an advert for a new product and you’re busy do you want to spend days meeting ten creative teams?

The chances are you’ll start to see similar themes crop up anyway. A good rule of thumb is: massive project – go wild ask everyone. Not so large project – aim for about three or four creative agencies.

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