the Creative Brief
When does the video production process actually begin? It’s not the kickoff meeting with whoever is producing the video. It’s not finally securing the budget for your video, even though that’s hard work. The process begins well before you even decide that a video will be right for your brand. But there’s a catch…
Deciding to do the work does not mean the work will be done easily, or well. Bright marketers with great products can still end up with lousy videos because of missteps in the earliest phases of making a video. A bad video isn’t just a missed opportunity, it can actually confuse your customers and harm your brand. So yeah, you want to avoid that.
Before you even engage with the creative people who will craft your video alongside you, you have a lot of decisions to make. Things to think through. And the result of that soft work is a tangible deliverable, the creative brief.
THE CREATIVE BRIEF DEFINED
This document doesn’t need to be fancy, however it does need to be solid. A well-crafted creative brief will provide the recipe for a video that’s focused on meeting your messaging needs. The creative brief represents all of the decisions you’ve made ahead of time, and it will answer your team’s questions before they even have a chance to ask.
The creative brief can even be used while you’re shopping for bids. Since it defines the scope of your video, it will also provide the information producers need to give you an accurate quote.
Most importantly, a good creative brief gets your project off to a good start, smooths out the earliest part of the process, and reduces the time you lose to back-and-forth with your producers.
THE ELEMENTS OF A CREATIVE BRIEF
A thorough and complete creative brief will feature the following:
- Your project’s purpose. What are you trying to accomplish with this video?
- Audience. Be specific! Who does your message serve?
- Method or Medium. Is your video going to be animated, live action, 3D, or something else?
- Platform. Where will your video live? A website or a social network? If it’s the latter, which one? Different platforms place different demands on your content.
- Budget. Along with timeline, this is your biggest constraint, and it will determine what opportunities and compromises you need to deal with.
- Timeline or Deadline. When do you need the finished video? Is this a hard deadline, or a soft deadline? Are you preparing it for a trade show or other event? Imminent drop-dead dates require producers to work faster, which comes at additional expense, and might require tradeoffs in video style or length.
- Style References. Get creative! Find videos or images you like. Assemble a Mood Board to inform the video’s visual complexity and tone. Find examples of work you like from your producer’s existing portfolio.
- Success Metrics. How will you know your video has succeeded? What number are you trying to change? What specific business goal are you pursuing?
CREATIVE BRIEF SUCCESS
A successful creative brief reduces (or eliminates) ambiguity therefore shows that you’ve clearly thought about your goals. It points your producers in the right direction and provides helpful guidance that everyone can return to throughout the process.
If this sounds daunting, don’t let that discourage you. Sometimes you honestly don’t have an answer to all of the questions ahead of time, or are only half-sure of what you want. If this is the case, communicate early on that you will be relying on your production team’s expertise, and outline your expectations as best you can.
If you haven’t started this process or been through it before, you will quickly realize that the people animating or shooting your video aren’t the only ones doing work. You, the client, are an integral part of the production team. Own your role early on and make your video’s success the most likely outcome. It all starts with one deliverable.