The lost art of giving a good briefing
I’ve been told several times that I can be quite black or white.
In my opinion, this is a good quality to have in my daily occupation as a strategist. I strongly believe that strategy is as much about what not to do, than what you should do as a brand.
It’s a lesser quality when it comes to people as I tend to be really distrustful of people with whom I’ve had a bad experience. It’s really difficult to change my mind again once I’ve drawn my conclusions.
For example, if someone doesn’t like maths and avoid talking about figures or if someone’s too fluffy and not concrete enough for my taste, I’m sometimes too quick to categorize these persons in the “You’re going to give me a headache”-pile. On the other hand, if someone’s able to summarize in three bulletpoints (or five, but always an uneven number) what they want to tell me, then they’re automatically in my “BFF”-pile.
Lately, I’ve seen an increasing alarming number of “Headache”-briefings and a significant decrease in number of “BFF”-briefings. “Headache”-briefings are briefings that doesn’t contain any numbers at all. No marketshare, no SMART objectives, no info whatsoever. Instead, there’s a really fluffy description of what the campaign should achieve, something in the lines of “Increase brand desirability amongst millennials” or “Be a love brand for Gen Z”.
Sometimes it’s even worse, e.g. the briefing mentions “Maintain premium position” and when you ask what this exact position is that you should maintain, you get “Oh but we don’t have any figures” as an answer.
Everytime a marketeer says “I don’t have this info” and doesn’t seem to be bothered, a puppy dies.
I’ve been enrolled in Mark Ritson’s Mini MBA in Marketing since September. I’m currently halfway through the course and I’ve seen a half naked Mark Ritson, which is certainly more than I bargained for.
But most of all, I’m really really glad to see that Mark has dedicated a part of one of his modules to writing good briefings.
Because it really is an art to write a comprehensive, clear and rationalized briefing. One that leaves out fluffy marketing terms but tells exactly what a media campaign should achieve. With a clear description of the target group and a clear and specific business objective.
How else can you evaluate the result of the campaign or tell your manager that you’re doing a great job? How else can you be sure that what you’re doing is actually contributing to the growth of the brand or company that you work for? How else can you judge whether the mediaplan your agency proposes is in line with your business objective?
Just thinking about this gives me a headache.