How to create a clear agency brief for advertising?

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It’s time: in order to reach your ambitious goals, you want to be backed by an advertising specialist. You already have an agency in mind, which seems capable of managing your campaigns in the best possible way.

The first step, before you even think about designing any kind of media, is to create your agency brief, which will allow your agency to understand your needs and expectations.

Discover how to do so in this article, and use it as a practical guide.

Why is briefing your agency so important?

When you start a collaboration with an advertising agency that will take care of your brand communication, creating a well-crafted brief is a must.

There are many benefits to taking a closer look at your agency brief. It allows you to...

  • Gain time and efficiency. Briefing your agency correctly implies giving the experts the keys to respond to your requests quickly, avoiding back and forth on strategic points that could have been clarified earlier.
  • Aim for better performance. If your agency is briefed in a very precise way on your goals, your target audience, as well as your brand key messages, there is a better chance that it will implement more effective campaigns.
  • Avoid misunderstandings about timing or budget. Indicating your budget and deadlines in your agency brief allows it to adjust its proposals and planning to your requirements.
“To be successful, a digital advertising campaign launched with an agency must start with an alignment phase with your company. That's why your brief should include, not only all the elements that concern your campaign, but also everything that can help your interlocutors get an idea of your desired brand image, your branding, or your strategic goals. This is a solid foundation for launching a true collaboration, which will allow you to achieve your goals with the best return on investment you can get." Prachya Butsiri, Consulting Director Gamned!

8 elements to include in your advertising agency brief

The more contextual elements you include in your agency brief, the more likely it is to be effective. Here are the 8 elements that must be included in your brief in order to carry out your advertising actions successfully.

The context of your ad campaign

The first things to include in your brief are all those that can help your agency get a sense of the context in which your campaign is being launched.

Take the time to answer the following questions:

  • What is your company? 
  • What is its market? 
  • What product or service do you offer your customers?
  • What is your unique value proposition, your brand values? 
  • How does this campaign fit into your global communication strategy? 
  • Is it part of a specific pre-existing campaign (for instance, in a digital strategy for a product launch or to promote a specific event)?

The goals of your campaign

Your advertising campaign should ideally focus on a single key objective. For example, does your campaign aim to increase brand awareness? To convert your target audience? To drive traffic to your website? To your physical stores? To retain existing customers?

If you set several marketing goals for this campaign, make sure you prioritize them, indicating which one is the most important to you.

The KPIs to follow

As a consequence of the previous element, in your agency brief, each goal must be linked to one or more key metrics that you want to track.

For example, for a campaign focused on conversion on a website, you’ll need to follow the click-through rate, the conversion rate on the landing page and the number of sales generated on the site. On the other hand, for a campaign focused on drive-to-store, you’ll track the visits and incremental sales in store.

The target or targets to address

As you know, any good marketing and communication strategy must take into account the targets that it intends to address. Help your agency to get an idea of these audiences by describing them precisely in your brief.

What are their characteristics (socio-demographic, geolocation...)? Their interests? Their traditional buying behavior? Their needs in regard to your offers? 

If you have persona portraits or Ideal Customer Profiles, provide them to your agency: they are valuable communication tools so that it can set up relevant and impactful campaigns.

The key messages you want to convey

Any well-crafted advertising campaign contains a key message, which clearly translates your goals. This message must be thought out before you conceive your agency brief, and be clear and punchy

Your agency will be able to help you refine it in your slogans and taglines - but it must be able to understand which elements are essential to integrate as soon as this briefing phase.

The desired advertising formats and channels

Indicate in your brief the formats through which you want to communicate with your targets. For example, do you want to use banners? Videos?

The same goes if you have advertising channels that you particularly want to test: maybe you want to position your brand on social media? Via Paid Search? Via DOOH

Note that if you want to use visual formats, it is relevant to include the graphic charter or any other element of your corporate identity in your agency brief. Including your editorial charter, your tone of voice if you have one, or even existing communication materials, can also be relevant.

The budget you can allow to your campaign

Specify the maximum budget you can deploy in your campaign. If you have an idea, you can also include maximum advertising budgets by period (week, month, quarter).

Your campaign timeline

Many advertisers forget to specify the timing of their campaign in their agency brief - and yet it is a crucial element! Include the desired start and end date of your campaign.

Also include, if necessary, specific dates when you want to have a mid-campaign review or report.

4 additional tips for a polished brief

It's time to fine-tune your agency brief with these 4 key tips to apply.

Involve all stakeholders in your campaign brief

If they have a role to play upstream or downstream of your campaign, it may be relevant to solicit the opinion of divisions other than marketing or communication. Should you involve your logistics department (which, for a conversion campaign, can have an impact on sales, and therefore on their order preparation)? Or sales (for a lead generation campaign)? Or the after-sales service (for a customer loyalty campaign)?

Keep it short

Your brief should directly pinpoint your needs and the necessary information to include in your campaign: in this sense, too much information can be confusing.

Being concise also gives your agency some flexibility, especially in terms of creativity or innovative proposals. You are and remain a specialist in your market and product, while your agency is a specialist in advertising, and can help you innovate!

Set aside time to design your brief

Keep in mind that a well-constructed project takes time: set aside some time in your agenda to create your agency brief. It is essential to think things through and not to go too fast.

Also, the time your agency takes to respond to your brief will depend on the scope of your project. You should expect to have to align with the agency before you can launch the actual campaign.

Discuss your project in person after receiving the brief

A verbal communication following your brief allows you to avoid innuendos and to clarify this first agency brief. Once the project has started, it is therefore more practical to exchange directly with your dedicated project manager.

Your agency will also be able to include operational positions (such as creatives) in your brief meetings to avoid the information being distorted.

Need a good basis to design your own agency brief ? Download our brief template, designed by digital advertising experts, and customize it to your needs.


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