It might seem as a small bit of the creative process, but getting a good brief from your client can sometimes mean that you have half of your work done. From my experience, there are a few tips I would recommend when taking a brief, in order to be most efficient.

The three most important things here are:

  1. Prepare questions
  2. Listen & write down
  3. Follow up

Prepare questions

Prepare questions that will be helpful for your thought process and will give you a better idea of the a. client’s company, b. the product/service you’re about to promote, c. the client’s requirements. A few questions that can help you get to know your client’s company better are:

  • what is your company’s story?
  • what separates your company from the competition? what is unique about you?
  • what is your company most known for?
  • what do you hope to achieve?
  • is there anything negative related to your company?
  • who are your main competitors? what is special about them?

Once you get an initial idea about the client’s company, go on to learning more about the product/service your required to promote. Ask questions like:

  • what is the product?
  • what is it’s main purpose?
  • what is special about it?
  • what is the planned price?
  • is there anything we might discover the product lacks?
  • who should use this product? why?
  • how can this product make the users life better?
  • are there any competitors to the product? if yes, who are they?

Based on these questions, you should get an initial idea of the product, and then move on to the clients requirements. This is often the trickiest part when taking the brief, and one that should be handled with great attention. Ask questions such as:

  • what do you expect to achieve with this campaign?
  • how will you measure the success of the campaign?
  • how often would you like to receive info on campaign progress?
  • who will be in charge of approving proposals? how can we reach her?
  • what would you consider excellent results for the campaign?
  • is there anything that is particularly important for you to happen during the campaign?

There is not one common questionnaire that can fit us all, so try to think in advance, what might help you get started, what do you believe you need to know about the product, the company, the target audience…Go into the meeting/call prepared and make sure you get all the answers you need. Also, don’t be afraid to change the questionnaire every once in a while, see what questions suit you, where you have the most issues, and continue to the next step.

Listening & writing

Listening and writing down are equally important as the preparation. If you try to push your opinions on the client, you’re just wasting your and her time. “Open” your ears, and write down every single detail, even if it seems not so important at the start, it might be the thing that helps you when you’re stuck with the idea. Truly listening means paying attention to the words the client is using, the way she is describing her company and product, the approach she has to it’s presentation. It can help you get a better idea of how the creators of the products approach it and give you a certain direction in your work.

Follow up

The last step of the great brief is the follow up. Taking meeting notes and then sharing them will all the meeting attendees has proven to be one of the most effective ways to stop tons of emails and iterations of concepts. A few tips about the notes:

  • be concise and clear – nobody wants to read endless emails about a meeting they’ve just attended. Use short and precise bullet points only describing the 1. agreed actions 2. person responsible 3.deadline.
  • send it while it’s fresh – send the follow up e-mail as soon as you can after the actual meeting. This way everyone’s memory of the meeting is fresh and if anything is omitted or needs to be changed, it can be done quickly without further postponing the process.
  • ask for confirmation – ask the client to send an approval email for the meeting output. This will mean she agrees with everything that is written and has nothing to add. That way you will make sure there is no miscommunication and save a loooot of valuable time for your team.

And that’s about it 🙂 Do you have any tips on getting a good brief?