The Value of Good Briefs – Digital and Social Advertising

Ah the elusive good brief.

If (Heaven forbid) you were coming down with a flu. Which one of the following best describes you?

1.You schedule an appointment with your doctor to meet him/her and vent all possible pains and symptoms you are experiencing

2.You schedule an appointment with your doctor, You take note on all your symptoms and provide all historical medical records of you

Imagine walking into the doctor’s office with symptoms of flu and not being able to articulate clearly what your symptoms are to the doctor. Not only is this guessing game a waste of time for both you and the doctor but ultimately is disastrous to you and your health if you were misdiagnosed.

Fortunately doctors today are well equipped with NLP(neuro linguistic programming) and understand that patients not often take note of their symptoms but rather just want to feel better by any means necessary. So they may ask you a series of YES/NO questions to rule out any doubts and arrive at a possible diagnosis and a prognosis for you.

What has any of this got to do with a good brief Vidhu you ask? If you get the connection read on. If you didn’t get the connection go back and read again.

When working in the digital and social environment or in the advertising space in general it is very important to “know thyself” in a brand context.

What is going on with your brand/product/service?

What is the problem you are facing?

What are your strengths/weaknesses?

Why are your sales declining or in consolidation?

Why are your loyal customers switching to your competition?

What is the markets sentiment to your product or service?

What is your budget i.e cost per acquisition?

It is not very often these days I come across a good well thought out brief. Throughout the history of the advertising industry the most effective campaigns started out with a good comprehensive brief.

Here’s why having a good brief is so important and why you should spend more time in developing comprehensive briefs

1.A good brief provides both a macro and microscopic overview of your product/service

2.A good brief has a clear target audience

3.A good brief has a consumer story

4.A good brief has a clear objective

5.A good brief is honest

6.A good brief exposes the good, bad and the ugly of your product/service or brand

Time and time again I see companies trying to migrate offline marketing into the digital space and they are always disappointed with the results. As the results did not meet their expectations and they were not paying attention to the data. Sadly the clients end up with a skeptical view of digital and social marketing due to failed attempts in the digital space. Don’t let this be you or your company.

Historically in Sri Lanka when Ad agencies pitch for an advertising account there is little to no data shared about what the problem the account is facing.

While there is seemingly good reason for that. Most companies do not wish to share insightful stats, facts and figures about their company due to possible disclosure and competitor advantage

The unfortunate consequence is that agencies desperate for the account develop out of the box over the top ideas to win the account over and have no real basis or data backing to what the account (client) really needs to overcome the marcomm barrier and meet their business objectives. As a result you are left with flashy creatives and a very marketing 2.0 approach to solve the problem.

I don’t wish to condone this effort. It does have its merits in making a few sales here and there but if you want to propel your company into the future, Boost sales and empower your customer (brand ambassador) you have to start thinking bigger by connecting the small dots. As the old saying goes “The devil is in the detail”

A good analogy would be if a doctor prescribed you antibiotics when you maybe suffering from an acute inflammation.

In Summary a good brief should include the following

The USP of the product or service

The target audience (demographics, geographic)

Phsychographics (the consumer story)

Consumer insights

The problem/issue/challenge

The budget/Cost per acquisition


The more experienced you are in seeing the causation and correlation factors the easier it is for you to connect the dots on what is needed and the creativity required to leverage the ideas that meet your objective.

results on digital and social media

Work diligently to provide Ad agencies with the right amount of insight needed to inspire creativity that meets the objective.

To creatives. Your brief is the holy grail to your imagination so always check your briefs.

Spread the word. Share this post!

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *